"The Grand Inquisitor" is a central chapter of Dostoyevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov. The middle brother, Ivan, is having a conversation with his younger brother, Alyosha. Ivan represents the rationalist and nihilistic ideology that permeated Russia in the 19th Century. Alyosha's beliefs counterbalance his brother's. He embodies hope. Ivan tells Alyosha a vision where the grand inquisitor, during the Spanish inquisition, encounters Jesus Christ, who has made a return to Earth.
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