The Grand Inquisitor Essay

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Bily teaches English at Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan. In this essay, she discusses the meanings of speech and silence in "The Grand Inquisitor."

The central conflict in "The Grand Inquisitor" is between the Inquisitor himself and his prisoner, Jesus. On the surface, it is a one-sided battle. The Inquisitor does literally all the talking, making accusation after accusation while Jesus refuses to defend himself. Perhaps "refuses" is the wrong word, for it implies a level of engagement that does not seem to be there. Jesus does not refuse to speak in his own defense; he simply does not do so. He sits in silence, he listens intently; no one says the Grand Inquisitor refuses to be silent. The two "speak" different languages, one of talk and one of action, one of thinking and one of knowing.

As Jesus walks on earth he encounters many who speak the...

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This section contains 1,651 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Grand Inquisitor Study Guide
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The Grand Inquisitor from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.