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Unformatted text preview: Zossima seems to have come to terms with life; he lives with perfect contentment and understanding — basically, a quiet and reserved man. He is not, for instance, visibly disturbed by Fyodor Karamazov's buffoonery; his quiet mien allows him to see deeply into the personality of Karamazov — of any person with whom he speaks. With Karamazov, he knows that the old man is intentionally trying to overact, to clown, and, later, with Madame Hohlakov, he knows that she makes her confession in order to gain his personal approbation for her frankness. A large part of Father Zossima's greatness, therefore, is this perceptive understanding of mankind, his comprehension of the psychological factors and motivations that prompt human actions; his advice is therefore unusually sound. Zossima's dignity is unique and, coupled with his extreme humility, most readily impresses a visitor. Alyosha, in contrast, is embarrassed when the Karamazovs do not ask for the elder's blessing, but...
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- Fall '11