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Keller departs and Rogozhin appears. He informs the Prince that Nastasya Filippovna wants to see him and that she has been in correspondence with Aglaya. She is convinced that the Prince is in love with Aglaya, and is seeking to bring them together.

Myshkin is perturbed by the information, but he remains in an inexplicably happy frame of mind and speaks with forgiveness and brotherly affection to Rogozhin. Remembering it will be his birthday tomorrow, he persuades Rogozhin to join him for some wine. They find that a large party has assembled at his home and that the champagne is already flowing.

The guests greet the Prince warmly and compete for his attention. Stimulated by Lebedyev's eloquence, everyone engages for some time in intelligent and inebriated disputation on lofty subjects, but the good-humoured atmosphere begins to dissipate when Ippolit suddenly produces a large envelope and announces that it contains an essay he has written which he now intends to read to them. The essay is a painfully detailed description of the events and thoughts leading him to what he calls his 'final conviction': that suicide is the only possible way to affirm his will in the face of nature's invincible laws, and that consequently he will be shooting himself at sunrise.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The reading drags on for over an hour and by its end the sun has risen. Most of his audience, however, are bored and resentful, apparently not at all concerned that he is about to shoot himself.

Only Vera, Kolya, Burdovsky and Keller seek to restrain him. He distracts them by pretending to abandon the plan, then suddenly pulls out a small pistol, puts it to his temple and pulls the trigger. There is a click but no shot: Ippolit faints but is not killed. It turns out that he had taken out the cap earlier and forgotten to put it back in.

Ippolit is devastated and tries desperately to convince everyone that it was an accident. Eventually he falls asleep and the party disperses. The Prince wanders for some time in the park before falling asleep at the green seat appointed by Aglaya as their meeting place.

Her laughter wakes him from an unhappy dream about Nastasya Filippovna. They talk for a long time about the letters Aglaya has received, in which Nastasya Filippovna writes that she herself is in love with Aglaya and passionately beseeches her to marry Myshkin.

Aglaya interprets this as evidence that Nastasya Filippovna is in love with him herself, and demands that Myshkin explain his feelings toward her. Myshkin replies that Nastasya Filippovna is insane, that he only feels profound compassion and is not in love with her, but admits that he has come to Pavlovsk for her sake.

Aglaya becomes angry, demands that he throw the letters back in her face, and storms off. Myshkin reads the letters with dread, and later that day Nastasya Filippovna herself appears to him, asking desperately if he is happy, and telling him she is going away and will not write any more letters.

Rogozhin escorts her. Part 4[ edit ] It is clear to Lizaveta Prokofyevna and General Epanchin that their daughter is in love with the Prince, but Aglaya denies this and angrily dismisses talk of marriage.

She continues to mock and reproach him, often in front of others, and lets slip that, as far as she is concerned, the problem of Nastasya Filippovna is yet to be resolved.

Myshkin himself merely experiences an uncomplicated joy in her presence and is mortified when she appears to be angry with him.

Lizaveta Prokofyevna feels it is time to introduce the Prince to their aristocratic circle and a dinner party is arranged for this purpose, to be attended by a number of eminent persons.

Aglaya, who does not share her parents' respect for these people and is afraid that Myshkin's eccentricity will not meet with their approval, tries to tell him how to behave, but ends by sarcastically telling him to be as eccentric as he likes, and to be sure to wave his arms about when he is pontificating on some high-minded subject and break her mother's priceless Chinese vase.

Feeling her anxiety, Myshkin too becomes extremely anxious, but he tells her that it is nothing compared to the joy he feels in her company. He tries to approach the subject of Nastasya Filippovna again, but she silences him and hurriedly leaves. For a while the dinner party proceeds smoothly. Inexperienced in the ways of the aristocracy, Myshkin is deeply impressed by the elegance and good humour of the company, unsuspicious of its superficiality.

It turns out that one of those present—Ivan Petrovich—is a relative of his beloved benefactor Pavlishchev, and the Prince becomes extraordinarily enthusiastic. But when Ivan Petrovich mentions that Pavlishchev ended by giving up everything and going over to the Roman Church, Myshkin is horrified. He launches unexpectedly into a tirade against Catholicism, claiming that it preaches the Antichrist and in its quest for political supremacy has given birth to Atheism.

Everyone present is shocked and several attempts are made to stop or divert him, but he only becomes more animated. At the height of his fervor he begins waving his arms about and knocks over the priceless Chinese vase, smashing it to pieces.

As Myshkin emerges from his profound astonishment, the general horror turns to amusement and concern for his health. But it is only temporary, and he soon begins another spontaneous discourse, this time on the subject of the aristocracy in Russia, once again becoming oblivious to all attempts to quell his ardour. The speech is only brought to an end by the onset of an epileptic seizure: Aglaya, deeply distressed, catches him in her arms as he falls. He is taken home, having left a decidedly negative impression on the guests.

The next day Ippolit visits the Prince to inform him that he and others such as Lebedyev and Ganya have been intriguing against him, and have been unsettling Aglaya with talk of Nastasya Filippovna. Ippolit has arranged, at Aglaya's request and with Rogozhin's help, a meeting between the two women. That evening Aglaya, having left her home in secret, calls for the Prince. They proceed in silence to the appointed meeting place, where both Nastasya Filippovna and Rogozhin are already present.

It soon becomes apparent that Aglaya has not come there to discuss anything, but to chastise and humiliate Nastasya Filippovna, and a bitter exchange of accusations and insults ensues.

Nastasya Filippovna orders Rogozhin to leave and hysterically demands of Myshkin that he stay with her. Myshkin, once again torn by her suffering, is unable to deny her and reproaches Aglaya for her attack. Aglaya looks at him with pain and hatred, and runs off. He goes after her but Nastasya Filippovna stops him desperately and then faints. Myshkin stays with her. In accordance with Nastasya Filippovna's wish, she and the Prince become engaged.

Public opinion is highly critical of Myshkin's actions toward Aglaya, and the Epanchins break off all relations with him. He tries to explain to Yevgeny Pavlovich that Nastasya Filippovna is a broken soul, that he must stay with her or she will probably die, and that Aglaya will understand if he is only allowed to talk to her. Yevgeny Pavlovich refuses to facilitate any contact between them and suspects that Myshkin himself is mad. On the day of the wedding, a beautifully attired Nastasya Filippovna is met by Keller and Burdovsky, who are to escort her to the church where Myshkin is waiting.

A large crowd has gathered, among whom is Rogozhin. Seeing him, Nastasya Filippovna rushes to him and tells him hysterically to take her away, which Rogozhin loses no time in doing. The Prince, though shaken, is not particularly surprised at this development. For the remainder of the day he calmly fulfills his social obligations to guests and members of the public. The following morning he takes the first train to Petersburg and goes to Rogozhin's house, but he is told by servants that there is no one there.

After several hours of fruitless searching, he returns to the hotel he was staying at when he last encountered Rogozhin in Petersburg. Rogozhin appears and asks him to come back to the house. They enter the house in secret and Rogozhin leads him to the dead body of Nastasya Filippovna: he has stabbed her through the heart. The two men keep vigil over the body, which Rogozhin has laid out in his study.

Rogozhin is sentenced to fifteen years hard labor in Siberia. Myshkin goes mad and, through the efforts of Yevgeny Pavlovich, returns to the sanatorium in Switzerland. The Epanchins go abroad and Aglaya elopes with a wealthy, exiled Polish count who later is discovered to be neither wealthy, nor a count, nor an exile—at least, not a political exile—and who, along with a Catholic priest, has turned her against her family.

Major characters[ edit ] Prince Myshkin , the novel's central character, is a young man who has returned to Russia after a long period abroad where he was receiving treatment for epilepsy. The lingering effects of the illness, combined with his innocence and lack of social experience, sometimes create the superficial and completely false impression of mental or psychological deficiency.

Most of the other characters at one time or another refer to him disparagingly as an 'idiot', but nearly all of them are deeply affected by him. In truth he is highly intelligent, self-aware, intuitive and empathic.

He is someone who has thought deeply about human nature, morality and spirituality, and is capable of expressing those thoughts with great clarity. Nastasya Filippovna , the main female protagonist, is darkly beautiful, intelligent, fierce and mocking, an intimidating figure to most of the other characters. Of noble birth but orphaned at age 7, she was manipulated into a position of sexual servitude by her guardian, the voluptuary Totsky.

Her broken innocence and the social perception of disgrace produce an intensely emotional and destructive personality. The Prince is deeply moved by her beauty and her suffering, and despite feeling that she is insane, remains devoted to her.

She is torn between Myshkin's compassion and Rogozhin's obsession with her. He instinctively likes and trusts the Prince when they first meet, but later develops a hatred for him out of jealousy. The character represents passionate, instinctive love, as opposed to Myshkin's Christian love based in compassion. She is proud, commanding and impatient, but also full of arch humour, laughter and innocence, and the Prince is particularly drawn to her after the darkness of his time with Nastasya Filippovna and Rogozhin.

Still full of youthful idealism, he craves love and recognition from others, but their indifference and his own morbid self-obsession lead him to increasing extremes of cynicism and defiance.

The character is a 'quasi-double' for Myshkin: their circumstances force them to address the same metaphysical questions, but their responses are diametrically opposed. He also tries to compete with Myshkin for Aglaya's affections. A mediocrity who imagines himself original, Ganya represents love from vanity, and is contrasted with Myshkin and Rogozhin.

He uses this to ingratiate himself with superiors, and to pursue various schemes and intrigues. His unpleasant tendencies are offset to some extent by a mischievous sense of humour, a sharp intellect, and occasional bouts of abject self-condemnation and compassion for others. Though child-like in the spontaneity of her emotions, she is strong-willed and imperious, particularly about matters of honour and morality. Myshkin considers her and Aglaya to be very alike.

Prince Shch. His rumoured interest in Aglaya leads Nastasya Filippovna who wants to bring Aglaya and the Prince together to publicly expose some unsavoury aspects of his background. Despite this, he and the Prince become friends and have a mutual respect for each other's intelligence.

He is the former guardian of Nastasya Filippovna. He is a friend of Ippolit's, and also becomes a friend and confidant of the Prince. He begins by aggressively demanding money from the Prince, but later becomes an admirer. He later develops a great admiration for the Prince and seeks to defend him.

Doktorenko — Lebedyev's nephew, a nihilist who, along with Ippolit, leads Burdovsky's attack on the Prince. Themes[ edit ] Atheism and Christianity in Russia[ edit ] A dialogue between the intimately related themes of Atheism and Christian faith meaning, for Dostoevsky, Russian Orthodoxy pervades the entire novel. Dostoevsky's personal image of Christian faith, formed prior to his philosophical engagement with Orthodoxy but never abandoned, was one that emphasized the human need for belief in the immortality of the soul, and identified Christ with ideals of "beauty, truth, brotherhood and Russia".

However, Myshkin's Christianity is not a doctrine or a set of beliefs, it is something that he lives spontaneously in his relations with all others.

Whenever he appears "hierarchical barriers between people suddenly become penetrable, an inner contact is formed between them His personality possesses the peculiar capacity to relativize everything that disunifies people and imparts a false seriousness to life. Holbein's painting held a particular significance for Dostoevsky because he saw in it his own impulse "to confront Christian faith with everything that negated it".

I remember someone taking me by the arm, a candle in his hands, and showing me some sort of enormous and repulsive tarantula, assuring me that this was that same dark, blind and all-powerful creature, and laughing at my indignation.

His unexpected tirade at the Epanchins' dinner party is based in unequivocal assertions that Catholicism is "an unChristian faith", that it preaches the Antichrist, and that its appropriation and distortion of Christ's teaching into a basis for the attainment of political supremacy has given birth to atheism.

The Catholic Church, he claims, is merely a continuation of the Western Roman Empire : cynically exploiting the person and teaching of Christ it has installed itself on the earthly throne and taken up the sword to entrench and expand its power. This is a betrayal of the true teaching of Christ, a teaching that transcends the lust for earthly power the Devil's Third Temptation , and speaks directly to the individual's and the people's highest emotions—those that spring from what Myshkin calls "spiritual thirst".

Atheism and socialism are a reaction, born of profound disillusionment, to the Church's defilement of its own moral and spiritual authority.

It is not from vanity alone, not from mere sordid vain emotions that Russian atheists and Russian Jesuits proceed, but from a spiritual pain, a spiritual thirst, a yearning for something more exalted, for a firm shore, a motherland in which they have ceased to believe Passionate and idealistic, like 'the Russian' alluded to in the anti-Catholic diatribe, Aglaya struggles with the ennui of middle class mediocrity and hates the moral vacuity of the aristocracy to whom her parents kowtow.

Her 'yearning for the exalted' has attracted her to militant Catholicism, and in the Prince's devotion to Nastasya Filippovna she sees the heroism of a Crusader -Knight abandoning everything to go in to battle for his Christian ideal.

She is deeply angry when, instead of "defending himself triumphantly" against his enemies Ippolit and his nihilist friends , he tries to make peace with them and offers assistance. When the Epanchins go abroad after the final catastrophe, Aglaya, under the influence of a Catholic priest, abandons her family and elopes with a Polish 'Count'. Innocence and guilt[ edit ] In his notes Dostoevsky distinguishes the Prince from other characters of the virtuous type in fiction such as Don Quixote and Pickwick by emphasizing innocence rather than comicality.

But his innocence is serious rather than comical, and he has a deeper insight into the psychology of human beings in general by assuming its presence in everyone else, even as they laugh at him, or try to deceive and exploit him. The Prince guesses that he has come to borrow money before he has even mentioned it, and unassumingly engages him in a conversation about the psychological oddity of 'double thoughts': Two thoughts coincided, that very often happens I think it's a bad thing and, you know, Keller, I reproach myself most of all for it.

What you told me just now could have been about me. I've even sometimes thought that all human beings are like that, because it's terribly difficult to fight those double thoughts At any rate, I am not your judge You used cunning to coax money out of me by means of tears, but you yourself swear that your confession had a different aim, a noble one; as for the money, you need it to go on a drinking spree, don't you?

And after such a confession that's weakness of course. But how can one give up drinking sprees in a single moment? It's impossible. So what is to be done? It is best to leave it to your own conscience, what do you think? Isolated and sexually exploited by Totsky from the age of sixteen, Nastasya Filippovna has inwardly embraced her social stigmatization as a corrupted 'fallen woman', but this conviction is intimately bound to its opposite—the victimized child's sense of a broken innocence that longs for vindication.

The combination produces a cynical and destructive outer persona, which disguises a fragile and deeply hurt inner being. When the Prince speaks to her, he only addresses this inner being, and in him she sees and hears the long dreamt-of affirmation of her innocence. But the self-destructive voice of her guilt, so intimately bound to the longing for innocence, does not disappear as a result, and constantly reasserts itself. Myshkin divines that in her constant reiteration of her shame there is a "dreadful, unnatural pleasure, as if it were a revenge on someone.

The character of General Ivolgin, for example, constantly tells outrageous lies, but to those who understand him such as Myshkin, Lebedyev and Kolya he is the noblest and most honest of men. Myshkin himself has a strong tendency to feel ashamed of his own thoughts and actions. The fact that Rogozhin reaches the point of attacking him with a knife is something for which he feels himself to be equally guilty because his own half-conscious suspicions were the same as Rogozhin's half-conscious impulse.

Shortly after the period of interrogation and trial, he and his fellow prisoners were taken, without warning, to Semyonovsky Square where the sentence of death was read out over them. The first three prisoners were tied to stakes facing the firing squad: Dostoevsky was among the next in line.

Just as the first shots were about to be fired, a message arrived from the Tsar commuting the sentences to hard labor in Siberia. The experience had a profound effect on Dostoevsky, and in Part 1 of The Idiot written twenty years after the event the character of Prince Myshkin repeatedly speaks in depth on the subject of capital punishment.

On one occasion, conversing with the Epanchin women, he recounts an anecdote that exactly mirrors Dostoevsky's own experience. A man of 27, who had committed a political offence, was taken to the scaffold with his comrades, where a death sentence by firing squad was read out to them.

Twenty minutes later, with all the preparations for the execution having been completed, they were unexpectedly reprieved, but for those twenty minutes the man lived with the complete certainty that he was soon to face sudden death. The Prince recounts in detail what the man experienced during those twenty minutes. Engaging the servant in conversation, the Prince tells the harrowing story of an execution by guillotine that he recently witnessed in France.

He concludes the description with his own reflections on the horror of death by execution When you put your head right under the guillotine and hear it sliding above your head, it's that quarter of a second that's most terrible of all Who can say that human nature is able to endure such a thing without going mad? Why such mockery—ugly, superfluous, futile? Perhaps the man exists to whom his sentence has been read out, has been allowed to suffer, and then been told: "off you go, you've been pardoned".

A man like that could tell us perhaps. At that moment, a magnificent carriage pulls up at the dacha, and the ringing voice of Nastasya Filippovna calls out to Yevgeny Pavlovich. In a familiar tone, she tells him not to worry about all the IOUs as Rogozhin has bought them up.

The carriage departs, leaving everyone, particularly Yevgeny Pavlovich and the Prince, in a state of shock.

Yevgeny Pavlovich claims to know nothing about the debts, and Nastasya Filippovna's motives become a subject of anxious speculation. Part 3[ edit ] Reconciling with Lizaveta Prokofyevna, the Prince visits the Epanchins at their dacha.

Myshkin joins Lizaveta Prokofyevna, her daughters and Yevgeny Pavlovich for a walk to the park to hear the music. While listening to the high-spirited conversation and watching Aglaya in a kind of daze, he notices Rogozhin and Nastasya Filippovna in the crowd. Nastasya Filippovna again addresses herself to Yevgeny Pavlovich, and in the same jolly tone as before loudly informs him that his uncle—a wealthy and respected old man from whom he is expecting a large inheritance—has shot himself and that a huge sum of government money is missing.

Yevgeny Pavlovich stares at her in shock as Lizaveta Prokofyevna makes a hurried exit with her daughters. Nastasya Filippovna hears an officer friend of Yevgeny Pavlovich suggest that a whip is needed for women like her, and she responds by grabbing a riding-whip from a bystander and striking the officer across the face with it.

He tries to attack her but Myshkin restrains him, for which he is violently pushed. Rogozhin, after making a mocking comment to the officer, leads Nastasya Filippovna away.

The officer recovers his composure, addresses himself to Myshkin, politely confirms his name, and leaves. Myshkin follows the Epanchins back to their dacha, where eventually Aglaya finds him alone on the verandah. To his surprise, she begins to talk to him very earnestly about duels and how to load a pistol. They are interrupted by General Epanchin who wants Myshkin to walk with him. Aglaya slips a note into Myshkin's hand as they leave.

The General is greatly agitated by the effect Nastasya Filippovna's behavior is having on his family, particularly since her information about Yevgeny Pavlovich's uncle has turned out to be completely correct. When the General leaves, Myshkin reads Aglaya's note, which is an urgent request to meet her secretly the following morning.

His reflections are interrupted by Keller who has come to offer to be his second at the duel that will inevitably follow from the incident that morning, but Myshkin merely laughs heartily and invites Keller to visit him to drink champagne. Keller departs and Rogozhin appears.

He informs the Prince that Nastasya Filippovna wants to see him and that she has been in correspondence with Aglaya. She is convinced that the Prince is in love with Aglaya, and is seeking to bring them together. Myshkin is perturbed by the information, but he remains in an inexplicably happy frame of mind and speaks with forgiveness and brotherly affection to Rogozhin.

Remembering it will be his birthday tomorrow, he persuades Rogozhin to join him for some wine. They find that a large party has assembled at his home and that the champagne is already flowing. The guests greet the Prince warmly and compete for his attention. Stimulated by Lebedyev's eloquence, everyone engages for some time in intelligent and inebriated disputation on lofty subjects, but the good-humoured atmosphere begins to dissipate when Ippolit suddenly produces a large envelope and announces that it contains an essay he has written which he now intends to read to them.

The essay is a painfully detailed description of the events and thoughts leading him to what he calls his 'final conviction': that suicide is the only possible way to affirm his will in the face of nature's invincible laws, and that consequently he will be shooting himself at sunrise.

The reading drags on for over an hour and by its end the sun has risen. Most of his audience, however, are bored and resentful, apparently not at all concerned that he is about to shoot himself. Only Vera, Kolya, Burdovsky and Keller seek to restrain him.

He distracts them by pretending to abandon the plan, then suddenly pulls out a small pistol, puts it to his temple and pulls the trigger. There is a click but no shot: Ippolit faints but is not killed.

It turns out that he had taken out the cap earlier and forgotten to put it back in. Ippolit is devastated and tries desperately to convince everyone that it was an accident. Eventually he falls asleep and the party disperses. The Prince wanders for some time in the park before falling asleep at the green seat appointed by Aglaya as their meeting place. Her laughter wakes him from an unhappy dream about Nastasya Filippovna.

They talk for a long time about the letters Aglaya has received, in which Nastasya Filippovna writes that she herself is in love with Aglaya and passionately beseeches her to marry Myshkin. Aglaya interprets this as evidence that Nastasya Filippovna is in love with him herself, and demands that Myshkin explain his feelings toward her. Myshkin replies that Nastasya Filippovna is insane, that he only feels profound compassion and is not in love with her, but admits that he has come to Pavlovsk for her sake.

Aglaya becomes angry, demands that he throw the letters back in her face, and storms off. Myshkin reads the letters with dread, and later that day Nastasya Filippovna herself appears to him, asking desperately if he is happy, and telling him she is going away and will not write any more letters. Rogozhin escorts her. Part 4[ edit ] It is clear to Lizaveta Prokofyevna and General Epanchin that their daughter is in love with the Prince, but Aglaya denies this and angrily dismisses talk of marriage.

She continues to mock and reproach him, often in front of others, and lets slip that, as far as she is concerned, the problem of Nastasya Filippovna is yet to be resolved. Myshkin himself merely experiences an uncomplicated joy in her presence and is mortified when she appears to be angry with him. Lizaveta Prokofyevna feels it is time to introduce the Prince to their aristocratic circle and a dinner party is arranged for this purpose, to be attended by a number of eminent persons.

Aglaya, who does not share her parents' respect for these people and is afraid that Myshkin's eccentricity will not meet with their approval, tries to tell him how to behave, but ends by sarcastically telling him to be as eccentric as he likes, and to be sure to wave his arms about when he is pontificating on some high-minded subject and break her mother's priceless Chinese vase.

Feeling her anxiety, Myshkin too becomes extremely anxious, but he tells her that it is nothing compared to the joy he feels in her company.

He tries to approach the subject of Nastasya Filippovna again, but she silences him and hurriedly leaves. For a while the dinner party proceeds smoothly. Inexperienced in the ways of the aristocracy, Myshkin is deeply impressed by the elegance and good humour of the company, unsuspicious of its superficiality. It turns out that one of those present—Ivan Petrovich—is a relative of his beloved benefactor Pavlishchev, and the Prince becomes extraordinarily enthusiastic.

But when Ivan Petrovich mentions that Pavlishchev ended by giving up everything and going over to the Roman Church, Myshkin is horrified. He launches unexpectedly into a tirade against Catholicism, claiming that it preaches the Antichrist and in its quest for political supremacy has given birth to Atheism.

Everyone present is shocked and several attempts are made to stop or divert him, but he only becomes more animated. At the height of his fervor he begins waving his arms about and knocks over the priceless Chinese vase, smashing it to pieces. As Myshkin emerges from his profound astonishment, the general horror turns to amusement and concern for his health. But it is only temporary, and he soon begins another spontaneous discourse, this time on the subject of the aristocracy in Russia, once again becoming oblivious to all attempts to quell his ardour.

The speech is only brought to an end by the onset of an epileptic seizure: Aglaya, deeply distressed, catches him in her arms as he falls.

He is taken home, having left a decidedly negative impression on the guests. The next day Ippolit visits the Prince to inform him that he and others such as Lebedyev and Ganya have been intriguing against him, and have been unsettling Aglaya with talk of Nastasya Filippovna. Ippolit has arranged, at Aglaya's request and with Rogozhin's help, a meeting between the two women.

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That evening Aglaya, having left her home in secret, calls for the Prince. They proceed in silence to the appointed meeting place, where both Nastasya Filippovna and Rogozhin are already present. It soon becomes apparent that Aglaya has not come there to discuss anything, but to chastise and humiliate Nastasya Filippovna, and a bitter exchange of accusations and insults ensues. Nastasya Filippovna orders Rogozhin to leave and hysterically demands of Myshkin that he stay with her.

Myshkin, once again torn by her suffering, is unable to deny her and reproaches Aglaya for her attack. Aglaya looks at him with pain and hatred, and runs off. He goes after her but Nastasya Filippovna stops him desperately and then faints. Myshkin stays with her. In accordance with Nastasya Filippovna's wish, she and the Prince become engaged. Public opinion is highly critical of Myshkin's actions toward Aglaya, and the Epanchins break off all relations with him.

He tries to explain to Yevgeny Pavlovich that Nastasya Filippovna is a broken soul, that he must stay with her or she will probably die, and that Aglaya will understand if he is only allowed to talk to her. Yevgeny Pavlovich refuses to facilitate any contact between them and suspects that Myshkin himself is mad. On the day of the wedding, a beautifully attired Nastasya Filippovna is met by Keller and Burdovsky, who are to escort her to the church where Myshkin is waiting.

A large crowd has gathered, among whom is Rogozhin. Seeing him, Nastasya Filippovna rushes to him and tells him hysterically to take her away, which Rogozhin loses no time in doing.

The Prince, though shaken, is not particularly surprised at this development. For the remainder of the day he calmly fulfills his social obligations to guests and members of the public. The following morning he takes the first train to Petersburg and goes to Rogozhin's house, but he is told by servants that there is no one there.

After several hours of fruitless searching, he returns to the hotel he was staying at when he last encountered Rogozhin in Petersburg. Rogozhin appears and asks him to come back to the house. They enter the house in secret and Rogozhin leads him to the dead body of Nastasya Filippovna: he has stabbed her through the heart. The two men keep vigil over the body, which Rogozhin has laid out in his study. Rogozhin is sentenced to fifteen years hard labor in Siberia. Myshkin goes mad and, through the efforts of Yevgeny Pavlovich, returns to the sanatorium in Switzerland.

The Epanchins go abroad and Aglaya elopes with a wealthy, exiled Polish count who later is discovered to be neither wealthy, nor a count, nor an exile—at least, not a political exile—and who, along with a Catholic priest, has turned her against her family.

Major characters[ edit ] Prince Myshkin , the novel's central character, is a young man who has returned to Russia after a long period abroad where he was receiving treatment for epilepsy. The lingering effects of the illness, combined with his innocence and lack of social experience, sometimes create the superficial and completely false impression of mental or psychological deficiency. Most of the other characters at one time or another refer to him disparagingly as an 'idiot', but nearly all of them are deeply affected by him.

In truth he is highly intelligent, self-aware, intuitive and empathic. He is someone who has thought deeply about human nature, morality and spirituality, and is capable of expressing those thoughts with great clarity. Nastasya Filippovna , the main female protagonist, is darkly beautiful, intelligent, fierce and mocking, an intimidating figure to most of the other characters. Of noble birth but orphaned at age 7, she was manipulated into a position of sexual servitude by her guardian, the voluptuary Totsky.

Her broken innocence and the social perception of disgrace produce an intensely emotional and destructive personality. The Prince is deeply moved by her beauty and her suffering, and despite feeling that she is insane, remains devoted to her.

She is torn between Myshkin's compassion and Rogozhin's obsession with her.

He instinctively likes and trusts the Prince when they first meet, but later develops a hatred for him out of jealousy. The character represents passionate, instinctive love, as opposed to Myshkin's Christian love based in compassion. She is proud, commanding and impatient, but also full of arch humour, laughter and innocence, and the Prince is particularly drawn to her after the darkness of his time with Nastasya Filippovna and Rogozhin.

Still full of youthful idealism, he craves love and recognition from others, but their indifference and his own morbid self-obsession lead him to increasing extremes of cynicism and defiance. The character is a 'quasi-double' for Myshkin: their circumstances force them to address the same metaphysical questions, but their responses are diametrically opposed.

He also tries to compete with Myshkin for Aglaya's affections. A mediocrity who imagines himself original, Ganya represents love from vanity, and is contrasted with Myshkin and Rogozhin. He uses this to ingratiate himself with superiors, and to pursue various schemes and intrigues. His unpleasant tendencies are offset to some extent by a mischievous sense of humour, a sharp intellect, and occasional bouts of abject self-condemnation and compassion for others.

Though child-like in the spontaneity of her emotions, she is strong-willed and imperious, particularly about matters of honour and morality. Myshkin considers her and Aglaya to be very alike.

Prince Shch. His rumoured interest in Aglaya leads Nastasya Filippovna who wants to bring Aglaya and the Prince together to publicly expose some unsavoury aspects of his background.

Despite this, he and the Prince become friends and have a mutual respect for each other's intelligence. He is the former guardian of Nastasya Filippovna. He is a friend of Ippolit's, and also becomes a friend and confidant of the Prince.

He begins by aggressively demanding money from the Prince, but later becomes an admirer. He later develops a great admiration for the Prince and seeks to defend him. Doktorenko — Lebedyev's nephew, a nihilist who, along with Ippolit, leads Burdovsky's attack on the Prince.

Themes[ edit ] Atheism and Christianity in Russia[ edit ] A dialogue between the intimately related themes of Atheism and Christian faith meaning, for Dostoevsky, Russian Orthodoxy pervades the entire novel.

Dostoevsky's personal image of Christian faith, formed prior to his philosophical engagement with Orthodoxy but never abandoned, was one that emphasized the human need for belief in the immortality of the soul, and identified Christ with ideals of "beauty, truth, brotherhood and Russia".

However, Myshkin's Christianity is not a doctrine or a set of beliefs, it is something that he lives spontaneously in his relations with all others. Whenever he appears "hierarchical barriers between people suddenly become penetrable, an inner contact is formed between them His personality possesses the peculiar capacity to relativize everything that disunifies people and imparts a false seriousness to life.

Holbein's painting held a particular significance for Dostoevsky because he saw in it his own impulse "to confront Christian faith with everything that negated it". I remember someone taking me by the arm, a candle in his hands, and showing me some sort of enormous and repulsive tarantula, assuring me that this was that same dark, blind and all-powerful creature, and laughing at my indignation. His unexpected tirade at the Epanchins' dinner party is based in unequivocal assertions that Catholicism is "an unChristian faith", that it preaches the Antichrist, and that its appropriation and distortion of Christ's teaching into a basis for the attainment of political supremacy has given birth to atheism.

The Catholic Church, he claims, is merely a continuation of the Western Roman Empire : cynically exploiting the person and teaching of Christ it has installed itself on the earthly throne and taken up the sword to entrench and expand its power.

This is a betrayal of the true teaching of Christ, a teaching that transcends the lust for earthly power the Devil's Third Temptation , and speaks directly to the individual's and the people's highest emotions—those that spring from what Myshkin calls "spiritual thirst".

Atheism and socialism are a reaction, born of profound disillusionment, to the Church's defilement of its own moral and spiritual authority.

It is not from vanity alone, not from mere sordid vain emotions that Russian atheists and Russian Jesuits proceed, but from a spiritual pain, a spiritual thirst, a yearning for something more exalted, for a firm shore, a motherland in which they have ceased to believe Passionate and idealistic, like 'the Russian' alluded to in the anti-Catholic diatribe, Aglaya struggles with the ennui of middle class mediocrity and hates the moral vacuity of the aristocracy to whom her parents kowtow.

Her 'yearning for the exalted' has attracted her to militant Catholicism, and in the Prince's devotion to Nastasya Filippovna she sees the heroism of a Crusader -Knight abandoning everything to go in to battle for his Christian ideal.

She is deeply angry when, instead of "defending himself triumphantly" against his enemies Ippolit and his nihilist friends , he tries to make peace with them and offers assistance. When the Epanchins go abroad after the final catastrophe, Aglaya, under the influence of a Catholic priest, abandons her family and elopes with a Polish 'Count'. Innocence and guilt[ edit ] In his notes Dostoevsky distinguishes the Prince from other characters of the virtuous type in fiction such as Don Quixote and Pickwick by emphasizing innocence rather than comicality.

Feodor Mihailovici Dostoievski Idiotul

But his innocence is serious rather than comical, and he has a deeper insight into the psychology of human beings in general by assuming its presence in everyone else, even as they laugh at him, or try to deceive and exploit him. The Prince guesses that he has come to borrow money before he has even mentioned it, and unassumingly engages him in a conversation about the psychological oddity of 'double thoughts': Two thoughts coincided, that very often happens I think it's a bad thing and, you know, Keller, I reproach myself most of all for it.

What you told me just now could have been about me. I've even sometimes thought that all human beings are like that, because it's terribly difficult to fight those double thoughts At any rate, I am not your judge You used cunning to coax money out of me by means of tears, but you yourself swear that your confession had a different aim, a noble one; as for the money, you need it to go on a drinking spree, don't you? And after such a confession that's weakness of course. But how can one give up drinking sprees in a single moment?

It's impossible. So what is to be done? It is best to leave it to your own conscience, what do you think? Isolated and sexually exploited by Totsky from the age of sixteen, Nastasya Filippovna has inwardly embraced her social stigmatization as a corrupted 'fallen woman', but this conviction is intimately bound to its opposite—the victimized child's sense of a broken innocence that longs for vindication. The combination produces a cynical and destructive outer persona, which disguises a fragile and deeply hurt inner being.

When the Prince speaks to her, he only addresses this inner being, and in him she sees and hears the long dreamt-of affirmation of her innocence.I remember someone taking me by the arm, a candle in his hands, and showing me some sort of enormous and repulsive tarantula, assuring me that this was that same dark, blind and all-powerful creature, and laughing at my indignation.

{PDF} F.M. Dostoievski & Feodor Mihailovici Dostoievski - Idiotul {eBook}

Finally, a long discussion question like this should finish with a brief, overall conclusion. The most terrible realization for the condemned man, according to Myshkin, is that of a wasted life, and he is consumed by the desperate desire for another chance. Background[ edit ] In September , when Dostoevsky began work on what was to become The Idiot, he was living in Switzerland with his new wife Anna Grigoryevna , having left Russia in order to escape his creditors.

Feeling her anxiety, Myshkin too becomes extremely anxious, but he tells her that it is nothing compared to the joy he feels in her company.

As Myshkin emerges from his profound astonishment, the general horror turns to amusement and concern for his health. For a while the dinner party proceeds smoothly.

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