Life is Meaningless

In the novel The Brothers of Karamazov, a murder falls ill days after confessing his crime to Zosima and dies in a pleasant state, therefore portraying the meaningless of life as written in The Meaning of Life. Essentially, the idea of life having no real meaning is perpetuated, for this mysterious visitor claims that he killed a woman he loved, and the man arrested for the crime dies before sentencing. However, the murder, despite his successful life, is never truly happy because he walks around with a nagging need to confess. Zosima tells the sinner to go and tell the world of his sin. While he does confess, his family, friends, and acquaintances simply believe he has gone mad. Nevertheless, the man falls ill five days after his proclamation supported by strong evidence that he did indeed commit murder. On his death bed, he tells Zosima, “‘God has pitied me and is calling me to himself. I know I am dying, but I feel joy and peace for the first time after so many years…I shall die and for my [wife and children] my name will remain untainted’” (Dostoevsky, 311).

This tone of the meaningless of life is also seen in Russian philosopher S.L Frank who writes, “our empirical life can have as little meaning as the fragment of a page torn out of a book” and “inevitable death, terminating both the happiest life and the unhappiest life, makes them equally meaningless” (Frank, 42). Frank also claims for one individual’s life to have meaning, human life as a whole would have meaning. However, as seen in history, human life is a series of accidents with no end goal being achieved. It seems that the nonsensical death of the mysterious visitor who took a life, saw a man die taking the blame, who himself dies before killing Zosima is unphased by the entity of the concept of life. While Frank would not condone the actions of the mysterious visitor, this tone is paralleled in The Meaning of Life which states that there is no meaning. It seems as if everyone is a slave of blind fate, “and as a slave, as we already know and as it is self-evident, cannot have a meaningful life” (Frank, 40). Therefore, the mysterious visitor was a murder: rash and cruel in his habits; innocent and noble in his disposition. * All in all, The Brothers of Karamazov presents the senseless death of the woman and her murder without question. This idea relates directly to Frank’s stance on the meaningless of life where death is simply the endpoint of a life filled with random accidents. This philosophy presented in The Meaning of Life is thus paralleled in Zosima’s story of the murder who died pleased without despair or punishment for the crimes he committed. **  


**Arrangement: Conclusion/Epilogue