Ivan is the one character most plagued by doubt. The story the devil tells him about the nose, about how man missing his nose is free not to be led around by the nose but, in fact, does want to be led around by the nose and is, again in fact, being led around by the nose he doesn’t have is a wonderful analogy. And I just thought of Gogol’s ‘The Nose’.
He both believes and doesn’t. He doesn’t want to commit.
Again he talks about fleeting civilization, this time Nysa which sued for peace with Alexander by claiming they had ivy and a constitution but all that now remains is the mountain whose Shadow it once sat.
“In spite of their black looks, they were all *made* to stand up and salute respectfully.” Made. They would do the same if they could, however.
Smerdyakov is endlessly fascinating. He, too sees that Ivan would feel responsible for his fathers death, but unlike Alyosha who tries to calm his conscience, Smerdyakov takes full advantage of him. And, really, isn’t Ivan partially responsible for the murder? He did know something was going to happen and all he had to do was stay to prevent it. Turning your back to a wrong is still a decision to participate.