In his most comprehensive (and not coincidentally, his final) masterpiece, Dostoyevsky addresses and discusses a number of the most fundamental and universal issues which face man. His multiple perspectives are embodied in seperate characters -- taken together, these characters form the whole of the Karamazov family, and these perspectives constitute the whole of Dostoyevsky's view.
Each of the brothers represents a distinct school of thought or values -- the impulsive Dmitri portrays the instinctive and carnal desires of man; the nihilist, Ivan, displays the cold and unforgiving intellectual, governed by the rules of logic alone; the religious Alyosha, student to the Great Elder Zossima, depicts the humble and devout spiritualist. While the murder of their father, Fyodor Karamazov, is the catalyst to the real action of the book, it is certainly not the central focus -- a fact that might be surmised in light of the fact that the murder is not carried out until more than halfway through the text.
Instead, the work is a discussion and analysis of man's values and beliefs, and an affirmation of Dostoyevsky's fundamental conviction: that the presence of the human spirit cannot be denied without disastrous results, and that despite the assertions of the nihilists, God is a necessary element in the world of man.