Karamazov home. Dwelling of Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, patriarch of the Karamazov family. As befits a wealthy landowner, it is a spacious house, tended by a faithful servant and his wife. However, it is also in notable disrepair, with crumbling wallpaper. These signs of decay reflect the moral dissolution of the elder Karamazov and are likely a deliberate touch of Dostoevski’s art. Although the house is the family home, it is not a place where Karamazov’s sons find nurturing or comfort. All three of his legitimate sons are fostered by maternal relatives. As Karamazov’s degeneracy makes him progressively more paranoid, the effects of his house also become a sort of quasi-prison for him, and he locks himself within his room. The house eventually becomes the site of Karamazov’s death–the circumstances of which are mysterious as a result of Karamazov’s progressive isolation.
Monastery. Spiritual retreat of Alyosha Karamazov and of the saintly Father Zossima. Located not far from the Karamazov home, this monastery is an important spiritual center of the region. Thus, when Fyodor Karamazov quarrels with his son Dmitri over a supposed inheritance which Dmitri accuses his father of having squandered, the two men visit the monastery, where they appeal to Father Zossima to adjudicate their dispute. The monastery is a symbol of Christian salvation. Fyodor Karamazov is so morally degenerate that he is insensitive to the presence of the holy and behaves in his usual shameful fashion, thereby destroying any hope of reconciliation with his son. Another son, Alyosha, finds the monastery his key to spiritual peace and helps the troubled Grushenka to reach moral regeneration and forgiveness.
Dostoevski’s monastery reflects his Slavophile politics. Unlike Russians who believed that Russia’s future lay in adopting Western innovations like democracy or socialism, Dostoevski and other Slavophiles believed that Russia must look to its own roots for moral and spiritual rebirth. The key to this revitalization, Dostoevski believed, lay in the Russian Orthodox Church.