From charlesreid1



Most of these added December 13, 2014.

René Girard was right to say that the failure of the initial idea is the triumph of another more profound idea, and that this prolonged uncertainty gives the novel “an existential density that few works have.”

Part one of The Idiot introduces most of the characters of the novel — the three central figures, Prince Myshkin, Rogozhin, and Nastasya Filippovna; the three families of the Epanchins, the Ivolgins, and the Lebedevs — and entangles them in various complex relations. Riddles and enigmas appear from the start, surrounded by rumors, gossip, attempted explanations, analyses by different characters (reasonable but usually wrong). The narrator himself is not always sure of what has happened or is going to happen.

The prince’s humility and compassion acquire a strange ambiguity, and before long, the epilepsy for which he had been treated in Switzerland returns with a violent attack that throws him headlong down the stairs.

It is a first variation on one of the central themes of the novel: the difference between love and pity. The relation of the first part to the rest of the novel is one of question and answer, and the question was posed first of all for Dostoevsky himself, who did not know the answer when he started.

It is essentially the same question implied in Holbein’s painting: what if Christ were not the incarnate God but, in this case, simply a “positively beautiful man,” a “moral genius,” as a number of nineteenth-century biographers of Jesus chose to portray him, and as Leo Tolstoy was about to proclaim — “a Christ more romantic than Christian,” in René Girard’s words, sublime and ideal, but with no power to redeem fallen mankind? The prince cannot tell Nastasya Filippovna that her sins are forgiven. What he tells her is that she is pure, that she is not guilty of anything. These apparently innocent words, coming at the end of part one, unleash all that follows in the novel.

He says nothing of the youngest, Aglaya. The mother asks why, and he demurs: “I can’t say anything now. I’ll say it later.” When she presses him, he admits that she is “an extraordinary beauty,” adding: “Beauty is difficult to judge; I’m not prepared yet. Beauty is a riddle.” This is the prince’s first real moment of reticence in the novel. By the end he will have moved from naïve candor to an anguished silence in the face of the unspeakable.

But, owing to the chasteness of his art (as opposed to its obvious scandalousness), Dostoevsky allows himself no direct statement of his idea, no symbolistic abstraction, no simple identification of the “archetypes” behind his fiction. He uses the methods and conventions of the social novel to embody an ultimate human drama.

Speaking of Holbein’s Christ, he says that it shows nature as “some huge machine of the newest construction, which has senselessly seized, crushed, and swallowed up, blankly and unfeelingly, a great and priceless being.” And he wonders how Christ’s disciples, seeing a corpse like that, could believe “that this sufferer would resurrect,” and whether Christ himself, if he could have seen his own image on the eve of his execution, would have “gone to the cross and died as he did.”

Rogozhin, on the other hand, tells the prince that he likes looking at the Holbein painting. The prince, “under the impression of an unexpected thought,” replies: “At that painting! A man could even lose his faith from that painting!” “Lose it he does,” Rogozhin agrees.

There is a great reticence in The Idiot.

As Myshkin puts it: “now he exists and lives, and in three minutes there would be something, some person or thing — but who? and where?” The Idiot is built on that eschatological sense of time.

Part 1

Opening paragraph:

TOWARDS THE END of November, during a warm spell, at around nine o’clock in the morning, a train of the Petersburg–Warsaw line was approaching Petersburg at full steam. It was so damp and foggy that dawn could barely break; ten paces to right or left of the line it was hard to make out anything at all through the carriage windows. Among the passengers there were some who were returning from abroad; but the third-class compartments were more crowded, and they were all petty business folk from not far away. Everyone was tired, as usual, everyone’s eyes had grown heavy overnight, everyone was chilled, everyone’s face was pale yellow, matching the color of the fog.

“Your bundle has a certain significance all the same,” the clerk went on after they had laughed their fill (remarkably, the owner of the bundle, looking at them, finally started laughing himself, which increased their merriment),

Note: "isaac: he laughs"

“Just so, his name was Nikolai Andreevich Pavlishchev,” and, having responded, the young man looked intently and inquisitively at Mr. Know-it-all. These Mr. Know-it-alls are occasionally, even quite frequently, to be met with in a certain social stratum.

Mr know it all is Lebedyev

“I don’t mean the name, the name’s historical, it can and should be found in Karamzin’s History, 4 I mean the person, sir, there’s no Prince Myshkins to be met with anywhere, and even the rumors have died out.” “Oh, that’s certain!” the prince answered at once. “There are no Prince Myshkins at all now except me; it seems I’m the last one.

Note: "mysh" is Russian for mouse

“You’re unaccustomed to things here?” “That’s true, too. Would you believe, I marvel at myself that I haven’t forgotten how to speak Russian. Here I’m talking to you now and thinking to myself: ‘I speak well enough after all.’ That may be why I’m talking so much. Really, since yesterday all I’ve wanted to do is speak Russian.”

“Hardly! It’s instantaneous. The man is laid down, and a broad knife drops, it’s a special machine called the guillotine, heavy, powerful … The head bounces off before you can blink an eye. The preparations are the bad part. When they read out the sentence, get everything ready, tie him up, lead him to the scaffold, then it’s terrible! People gather, even women, though they don’t like it when women watch.”

Prince doesn't just have preoccupation w capital punishment - he has a preoccupation with the last moments before death. Like Dostoevsky himself. (Dostoyevsky was nearly executed, the execution was stayed at the last second.)

Think: if there’s torture, for instance, then there’s suffering, wounds, bodily pain, and it means that all that distracts you from inner torment, so that you only suffer from the wounds until you die. And yet the chief, the strongest pain may not be in the wounds, but in knowing for certain that in an hour, then in ten minutes, then in half a minute, then now, this second—your soul will fly out of your body and you’ll no longer be a man, and it’s for certain—the main thing is that it’s for certain.

To kill for killing is an immeasurably greater punishment than the crime itself. To be killed by legal sentence is immeasurably more terrible than to be killed by robbers.

Here there’s the sentence, and the whole torment lies in the certainty that there’s no escape, and there’s no greater torment in the world than that.

Note: zero potential. fate inescapable. loss of will and loss of power even over ones own death or struggle to live.

“When he’s alone he probably doesn’t look that way, and maybe never laughs,” the prince somehow felt.

Myshkin doesn't have strong rational convictions. Mainly subconscious and emotionally driven.

“Well, that makes it opportune that I did not and do not invite you. Excuse me, Prince, but to clarify it all at once: since you and I have just concluded that there can be no talk between us of being related—though, naturally, I’d find it very flattering—it means that …” “It means that I can get up and leave?” the prince rose slightly, laughing even somehow merrily, despite all the apparent embarrassment of his situation. “There, by God, General, though I have absolutely no practical knowledge either of local customs or of how people normally live here, things went with us just now as I thought they were certain to go. Well, maybe that’s how it should be … And you also didn’t answer my letter then … Well, good-bye and forgive me for bothering you.” The prince’s gaze was so gentle at that moment, and his smile was so free of the least shade of any concealed hostility, that the general suddenly stopped and somehow suddenly looked at his visitor in a different way; the whole change of view occurred in a single instant. “But you know, Prince,” he said in an almost totally different voice, “after all, I don’t know you, and Elizaveta Prokofyevna might want to have a look at her namesake … Perhaps you’d like to wait, if your time will keep.”

The frequent attacks of his illness had made almost an idiot of him (the prince actually said “idiot”).

Very forthright. the whole truth.

The general was very surprised.

Classic example of Dostoevsky's characteristic vagueness. Surprised at what? He lets the reader infer.

“Quite possible, though I bought it here. Ganya, give the prince some paper; here are pens and paper, sit at this table, please. What’s that?” the general turned to Ganya, who meanwhile had taken a large-format photographic portrait from his portfolio and handed it to him. “Bah! Nastasya Filippovna! She sent it to you herself, she herself?” he asked Ganya with animation and great curiosity.

“She gave it to me just now, when I came to wish her a happy birthday. I’ve been asking for a long time. I don’t know, I’m not sure it’s not a hint on her part about my coming empty-handed, without a present, on such a day,” Ganya added, smiling unpleasantly.

“No, she hasn’t. And maybe she never will.

Again the vagueness: like Shakespeare. only dialogue. no glum expressions. no sighs or body language or eyes showing despair. only what you might see yourself if you were there.

“I remember, I remember, of course, and I’ll be there. What else, it’s her birthday, she’s twenty-five!

“So this is Nastasya Filippovna?” he said, gazing at the portrait attentively and curiously. “Remarkably good-looking!” he warmly added at once. The portrait showed a woman of extraordinary beauty indeed. She had been photographed in a black silk dress of a very simple and graceful cut; her hair, apparently dark blond, was done simply, informally; her eyes were dark and deep, her forehead pensive; the expression of her face was passionate and as if haughty.

Holding no information back. part of the reason he gets caught up in such intrigues. easily ensnared in schemes and plots. easily used as a messenger.

There may actually be a million sitting here and … a passion, an ugly passion, if you like, but all the same it smacks of passion, and we know what these gentlemen are capable of when they’re intoxicated!…

Something peculiar took place in Ganya as he was asking this question. It was as if some new and peculiar idea lit up in his brain and glittered impatiently in his eyes. The general, who was genuinely and simple-heartedly worried, also glanced sidelong at the prince, but as if he did not expect much from his reply.

More vagueness. What idea? He waits for you to find out.

“I don’t know, how shall I put it,” replied the prince, “only it seemed to me there’s a lot of passion in him, and even some sort of sick passion.

“That is the main thing,” Ganya finished, again helping out the faltering general, and contorting his lips into a most venomous smile, which he no longer cared to hide. He fixed his inflamed gaze directly on the general’s eyes, as if he even wished to read the whole of his thought in them. The general turned purple and flared up. “Well, yes, intelligence is the main thing!” he agreed, looking sharply at Ganya.

The general had lost his temper, but now apparently regretted having gone so far. He suddenly turned to the prince, and the uneasy thought that the prince was right there and had heard them seemed to pass over his face. But he instantly felt reassured: one glance at the prince was enough for him to be fully reassured.

More reasons he is easy to catch up into schemes: he is a good listener.

Oh, yeah: he falls in love easily, too.

And for you, Prince, this is even more than a find, first, because you won’t be alone, but, so to speak, in the bosom of a family, and, as far as I can see, it’s impossible for you to take your first steps on your own in a capital like Petersburg.

True, a man also needs pocket money, at least a small amount, but you won’t be angry, Prince, if I point out to you that it would be better for you to avoid pocket money and generally carrying money in your pocket. I say it just from looking at you. But since your purse is quite empty now, allow me to offer you these twenty-five roubles to begin with.

Theme of money. Sage advice to the prince. Don't carry around pocket money. A fool and his money are soon parted.

“Rogozhin? Ah, no. I’d advise you in a fatherly, or, if you prefer, a friendly way to forget about Mr. Rogozhin. And in general I’d advise you to keep to the family you’re going to be with.”

“So you like such a woman, Prince?” he asked him suddenly, giving him a piercing look. And it was as if he had some exceptional intention. “An astonishing face!” replied the prince. “And I’m convinced that her fate is no ordinary one. It’s a gay face, but she has suffered terribly, eh?

Ah, if only she were kind! Everything would be saved!”

What does that mean? so much reticence

despite all the external deference with which her daughters received them, had in fact long lost their original and unquestionable authority among them, so much so that the harmonious conclave established by the three girls was beginning to gain the upper hand on most occasions, the general’s wife, mindful of her own dignity, found it more convenient not to argue but to yield.

True, her character quite often did not heed and obey the decisions of her good sense; with every year Lizaveta Prokofyevna was becoming more and more capricious and impatient, she was even becoming somehow eccentric, but since in any case a submissive and well-trained husband remained at hand, all superfluous and accumulated things usually poured down on his head, and then the family harmony was restored again and everything went better than ever.

Signs of deteriorating mental condition. she breaks down at one point in the novel. high stress high anxiety family life.

Among other things, he had adopted a system of not rushing his daughters into marriage, that is, of not “hovering over” them and bothering them too much with his parental love’s longing for their happiness, as involuntarily and naturally happens all the time, even in the most intelligent families, where grown-up daughters accumulate.

but the general’s arguments were extremely weighty and based on tangible facts.

General Epanchin is rationally driven and logical. even w r t hhis emotions and governing them.

And at almost the same time Afanasy Ivanovich Totsky, a man of high society, with high connections and extraordinary wealth, again showed his old desire to marry.

Totsky wants to dump Nastasya for oldest Epanchin daughter. ddint get that connection until now... 2nd/3rd reading...

but among them, in the most sincere way, they determined that Aglaya’s fate was to be not simply a fate, but the most ideal possible earthly paradise. Aglaya’s future husband would have to be endowed with all perfections and successes, to say nothing of wealth. The sisters even decided among themselves, and somehow without any special superfluous words, on the possibility, if need be, of making sacrifices on their own part in favor of Aglaya:

Sisters jealously guarding aglaya

We learn about characters psychology through anecdotes and circumstances. more natural way of telling story. heresay and not omniscience.

This complex and troublesome “occurrence” (as Totsky himself put it) had begun very far back, about eighteen years ago.

This is also why Part 1 seems to start slowly. Stops and tells antedotes along the way to fill out the characters.

Soon only one girl, Nastya, was left, the younger one having died of whooping cough. Totsky, who was living abroad, soon forgot all about them. One day, some five years later, Afanasy Ivanovich, passing by, decided to have a look at his estate and suddenly noticed in his country house, in the family of his German, a lovely child, a girl of about twelve, lively, sweet, clever, and promising to become a great beauty—in that regard Afanasy Ivanovich was an unerring connoisseur.

Nastassya starts in difficult, inescapable circumstances. She hasn't even made choices about what led to her fall, as Anna did.

but all the same an extraordinary upheaval took place in Nastasya Filippovna’s life after that. She suddenly showed an extraordinary resolve and revealed a most unexpected character. Without further thought, she left her little country house and suddenly went to Petersburg, straight to Totsky, all on her own. He was amazed, tried to begin speaking; but it suddenly turned out, almost from the first phrase, that he had to change completely the style, the vocal range, the former topics of pleasant and elegant conversation, which till then had been used so successfully, the logic—everything, everything!

understood an extraordinary amount—so much that it was a cause of profound wonder where she could have acquired such information, could have developed such precise notions in herself. (Could it have been from her girls’ library?) What’s more, she even understood an exceeding amount about legal matters and had a positive knowledge, if not of the world, then at least of how certain things went in the world;

developed independently notions of how the world works. developed her own understanding of her worth, her circumstances, etc

This new woman announced to him that in the fullest sense it would make no difference to her if he married any woman he liked right then and there, but that she had come to prevent this marriage of his, and to prevent it out of spite, solely because she wanted it that way, and consequently it must be that way—“well, so that now I can simply laugh at you to my heart’s content, because now I, too, finally feel like laughing.”

Nastasya's own self destructive idea of love conflates control with love. Father figure has controlled her her entire life. Now she exerts her own control over him. Origin of her actions are love, though its manifestation sure doesn't appear that way.

he was able to perceive that Nastasya Filippovna herself understood perfectly well how harmless she was in the legal sense, but that she had something quite different in mind and … in her flashing eyes.

Valuing nothing, and least of all herself (it took great intelligence and perception to guess at that moment that she had long ceased to value herself and, skeptic and society cynic that he was, to believe in the seriousness of that feeling), Nastasya Filippovna was capable of ruining herself, irrevocably and outrageously, facing Siberia and hard labor, if only she could wreak havoc on the man for whom she felt such inhuman loathing.

Like Anna Karenina, Nastasya is incapable of living without freedom and love and is willing to sacrifice herself as a result of her dire circumstances.

However, he recalled moments, even before, when strange thoughts had come to him, for instance, while looking into those eyes: it was as if he had sensed some deep and mysterious darkness in them. Those eyes had gazed at him—and seemed to pose a riddle. During the last two years he had often been surprised by the change in Nastasya Filippovna’s color; she was growing terribly pale and—strangely—was even becoming prettier because of it.

Mysteries and riddles and enigmas. Nothing is explained.

He was afraid—and did not even know why—he was simply afraid of Nastasya Filippovna. For some time, during the first two years, he began to suspect that Nastasya Filippovna wanted to marry him herself, but said nothing out of her extraordinary vanity and was stubbornly waiting for him to propose.

She knows he loves Aglaya. This would provide her with motive to disrupt Aglaya's plans and indeed the plans of all the Empachins }}

socialists—nothing made any impression on Nastasya Filippovna, as if she had a stone in place of a heart, and her feeling had dried up and died out once and for all. She lived a largely solitary life, read, even studied, liked music.

He revealed that he had already resolved to stop at nothing to gain his freedom; that he would not be at peace even if Nastasya Filippovna herself declared to him that henceforth she would leave him entirely alone; that words were not enough for him, and he wanted the fullest guarantees.

At first with a sad smile, then with gay and brisk laughter, she confessed that the previous storm would in any case not be repeated; that she had long ago partly changed her view of things, and though she had not changed in her heart, she was still bound to allow for many things as accomplished facts; what was done was done, what was past was past, so that she even found it strange that Afanasy Ivanovich could go on being so frightened.

We have no idea whether she is being sincere. We get no hints. (Ambiguity...)

but said insistently that she did not want to hamper herself in any way; that until the wedding itself (if the wedding took place) she reserved for herself the right to say no, even in the very last hour;

For instance, Totsky was supposed to have learned somewhere that Nastasya Filippovna, in secret from everyone, had entered into some sort of vague relations with the Epanchin girls—a perfectly incredible rumor. But another rumor he involuntarily believed and feared to the point of nightmare: he had heard for certain that Nastasya Filippovna was supposedly aware in the highest degree that Ganya was marrying only for money, that Ganya’s soul was dark, greedy, impatient, envious, and boundlessly vain, out of all proportion to anything; that, although Ganya had indeed tried passionately to win Nastasya Filippovna over before, now that the two friends had decided to exploit that passion, which had begun to be mutual, for their own advantage, and to buy Ganya by selling him Nastasya Filippovna as a lawful wife, he had begun to hate her like his own nightmare.

“Hegumen Pafnuty,” the prince replied attentively and seriously.

“It’s simply my small drawing room, where we gather when we’re by ourselves, and each of us does her own thing: Alexandra, this one, my eldest daughter, plays the piano, or reads, or sews; Adelaida paints landscapes and portraits (and never can finish anything); and Aglaya sits and does nothing.

That was after a series of strong and painful fits of my illness, and whenever my illness worsened and I had several fits in a row, I always lapsed into a total stupor, lost my memory completely, and though my mind worked, the logical flow of thought was as if broken. I couldn’t put more than two or three ideas together coherently. So it seems to me.

More candor from Myshkin

“An ass? That’s strange,” observed Mrs. Epanchin. “And yet there’s nothing strange about it, some one of us may yet fall in love with an ass,” she observed, looking wrathfully at the laughing girls. “It has happened in mythology. 21 Go on, Prince.”

“I’ve seen an ass, maman,” said Adelaida. “And I’ve heard one,” Aglaya picked up. The three girls laughed again. The prince laughed with them.

“But why?” the prince laughed. “In their place I wouldn’t have missed the chance either. But all the same I stand up for the ass: an ass is a kind and useful fellow.” “And are you kind, Prince? I ask out of curiosity,” Mrs. Epanchin asked. They all laughed again.

“The prince spoke very interestingly about the case of his illness, and how he came to like everything because of one external push. It has always been interesting to me, how people go out of their minds and then recover again. Especially if it happens suddenly.”

More preoccupation with death and the moment before death

I’d better tell you about another encounter I had last year with a certain man. Here there was one very strange circumstance—strange because, in fact, such chances very rarely occur. This man had once been led to a scaffold, along with others, and a sentence of death by firing squad was read out to him, for a political crime. After about twenty minutes a pardon was read out to him, and he was given a lesser degree of punishment; nevertheless, for the space between the two sentences, for twenty minutes, or a quarter of an hour at the least, he lived under the certain conviction that in a few minutes he would suddenly die. I wanted terribly much to listen when he sometimes recalled his impressions of it, and several times I began questioning him further. He remembered everything with extraordinary clarity and used to say he would never forget anything from those minutes. About twenty paces from the scaffold, around which people and soldiers were standing, three posts had been dug into the ground, since there were several criminals. The first three were led to the posts, tied to them, dressed in death robes (long white smocks), and had long white caps pulled down over their eyes so that they would not see the guns; then a squad of several soldiers lined up facing each post. My acquaintance was eighth in line, which meant he would go to the posts in the third round. A priest went up to each of them with a cross. Consequently, he had about five minutes left to live, not more. He said those five minutes seemed like an endless time to him, an enormous wealth. It seemed to him that in those five minutes he would live so many lives that there was no point yet in thinking about his last moment, so that he even made various arrangements: he reckoned up the time for bidding his comrades farewell and allotted two minutes to that, then allotted two more minutes to thinking about himself for the last time, and then to looking around for the last time.

He remembered very well that he made precisely those three arrangements, and reckoned them up in precisely that way. He was dying at the age of twenty-seven, healthy and strong; bidding farewell to his comrades, he remembered asking one of them a rather irrelevant question and even being very interested in the answer. Then, after he had bidden his comrades farewell, the two minutes came that he had allotted to thinking about himself. He knew beforehand what he was going to think about: he kept wanting to picture to himself as quickly and vividly as possible how it could be like this: now he exists and lives, and in three minutes there would be something, some person or thing—but who? and where? He wanted to resolve it all in those two minutes!

The ignorance of and loathing for this new thing that would be and would come presently were terrible; yet he said that nothing was more oppressive for him at that moment than the constant thought: ‘What if I were not to die! What if life were given back to me—what infinity! And it would all be mine! Then I’d turn each minute into a whole age, I’d lose nothing, I’d reckon up every minute separately, I’d let nothing be wasted!’ He said that in the end this thought turned into such anger in him that he wished they would hurry up and shoot him.”

“You probably wanted to conclude, Prince, that there’s not a single moment that can be valued in kopecks, and that five minutes are sometimes dearer than a treasure. That is all very praiseworthy, but, forgive me, what ever happened to the friend who told you all those horrors … his punishment was changed, which means he was granted that ‘infinite life.’ Well, what did he do with so much wealth afterwards? Did he live ‘reckoning up’ every minute?” “Oh, no, he told me himself—I asked him about it—he didn’t live that way at all and lost many, many minutes.”

The prince tells a story that ends up with no conclusive ending. Much like the princes own story. Ambiguous and seemingly pointless. Dark and shrouded in ambiguity.

“Earlier, in fact,” the prince turned to her, becoming somewhat animated again (it seemed he became animated very quickly and trustingly), “in fact it occurred to me, when you asked me for a subject for a picture, to give you this subject: to portray the face of a condemned man a minute before the stroke of the guillotine, when he’s still standing on the scaffold, before he lies down on the plank.”

“It was exactly one minute before his death,” the prince began with perfect readiness, carried away by his recollection, and apparently forgetting at once about everything else, “the very moment when he had climbed the little stairway and just stepped onto the scaffold. He glanced in my direction; I looked at his face and understood everything … But how can one talk about it!

Embodying experiences and existential emotions in a painting. Loss of faith through a painting.

Then three or four hours were spent on the well-known things: the priest, breakfast, for which he was given wine, coffee, and beef (now, isn’t that a mockery? You’d think it was very cruel, yet, on the other hand, by God, these innocent people do it in purity of heart and are sure of their loving kindness),

I think that here, too, while they’re driving him, it seems to him that he still has an endless time to live. I imagine he probably thought on the way: ‘It’s still long, there are still three streets left to live; I’ll get to the end of this one, then there’s still that one, and the one after it, with the bakery on the right … it’s still a long way to the bakery!’ People, shouting, noise all around him, ten thousand faces, ten thousand pairs of eyes—all that must be endured, and above all the thought: ‘There are ten thousand of them, and none of them is being executed, it’s me they’re executing!’ Well, that’s all the preliminaries.

He kissed the cross greedily, hurried to kiss it, as if hurrying to grasp something extra, just in case, but he was hardly conscious of anything religious at that moment.

They were the children of that village, a whole band, who went to school. It wasn’t I who taught them; oh, no, they had a schoolmaster there for that—Jules Thibaut; or perhaps I did teach them, but more just by being with them, and I spent all my four years that way. I didn’t need anything else. I told them everything, I didn’t hide anything from them. Their fathers and relations all got angry with me, because the children finally couldn’t do without me and kept gathering around me, and the schoolmaster finally even became my worst enemy. I acquired many enemies there, and all because of the children. Even Schneider scolded me. And what were they so afraid of? A child can be told everything—everything. I was always struck by the thought of how poorly grown-ups know children, even fathers and mothers their own children. Nothing should be concealed from children on the pretext that they’re little and it’s too early for them to know. What a sad and unfortunate idea! And how well children themselves can see that their fathers consider them too little and unable to understand anything, while they understand everything. Grown-ups don’t know that a child can give extremely important advice even in the most difficult matters.

At first he kept shaking his head and wondering how it was that with me the children understood everything and with him almost nothing, and then he started laughing at me when I told him that neither of us would teach them anything, but they might still teach us.

Once, before then, she suddenly began to sing over her work, and I remember that everybody was surprised and started laughing: ‘Marie’s begun to sing! What? Marie’s begun to sing!’ And she was terribly abashed and kept silent forever after. People were still nice to her then, but when she came back sick and worn out, there was no compassion for her in anyone! How cruel they are about that! What harsh notions they have of it all! Her mother was the first to greet her with spite and contempt: ‘You’ve dishonored me now.’ She was the first to hold her up to disgrace: when they heard in the village that Marie had come back, everybody ran to look at her, and nearly the whole village came running to the old woman’s cottage: old men, children, women, girls, everybody, in such a hustling, greedy crowd. Marie was lying on the floor at the old woman’s feet, hungry, ragged, weeping. When they all rushed in, she covered herself with her disheveled hair and lay facedown on the floor like that. Everybody around looked on her as if she were vermin; the old men denounced and abused her, the young ones even laughed, the women abused her, denounced her, looked at her with contempt, as at some sort of spider. Her mother allowed it all; she herself sat there nodding her head and approving.

then the pastor—he was still a young man and his whole ambition was to become a great preacher—turned to them all and pointed at Marie. ‘Here is the one who caused this respected woman’s death’ (which wasn’t true, because she had been sick for two years), ‘here she stands before you and dares not look up, because she is marked by the finger of God; here she is, barefoot and in rags—an example to those who lose their virtue! Who is she? She is her own daughter!’ and more in the same vein. And imagine, almost everyone there liked this meanness, but … here a peculiar thing occurred; here the children stepped in, because by then the children were all on my side and had begun to love Marie.

Falseness of religion. Sacrificing the truth for the sake of ambition.

They said Marie burst into tears and now they loved her very much. Soon they all began to love her, and at the same time they began to love me as well.

children are very impressionable before they meet marie. once they get to know her for themselves they treat her honestly.

And later I studied and read everything only so as to tell them afterwards, and for three years after that I told them all sorts of things. When everybody accused me afterwards—Schneider, too—of talking to them like grown-ups, without hiding anything, I replied that it was shameful to lie to them, they knew everything anyway, no matter how you hid it, and might learn it in a bad way, while from me it wouldn’t be in a bad way.

I told them about it at once and explained the pastor’s action; they all became angry with him, some so much that they sent stones through the pastor’s windows. I stopped them, because that was a bad thing; but everyone in the village learned all about it at once, and here they began to accuse me of having corrupted the children. Then they found out that the children loved Marie and became terribly frightened; but Marie was happy now.

It seemed to me that my love for Marie delighted them terribly, and that was the one thing, during all my life there, in which I deceived them. I didn’t disappoint them by confessing that I did not love Marie at all—that is, was not in love with her—but only pitied her; everything told me that they preferred it the way they had imagined and decided it among themselves, and so I said nothing and pretended they had guessed right.

She was like a crazy person, in terrible agitation and rapture. Sometimes the children came with me. On those occasions, they usually stood not far away and set about guarding us from something or someone, and they were extraordinarily pleased with that.

Because of them, I can assure you, she died almost happy. Because of them, she forgot her black woe, as if she had received forgiveness from them, because till the very end she considered herself a great criminal. Like little birds, they fluttered with their wings against her window and called to her every morning: ‘Nous t’aimons, Marie.’

He told me he was fully convinced that I was a perfect child myself, that is, fully a child, that I resembled an adult only in size and looks, but in development, soul, character, and perhaps even mind, I was not an adult, and I would stay that way even if I lived to be sixty. I laughed very much: he wasn’t right, of course, because what’s little about me?

But one thing is true, that I really don’t like being with adults, with people, with grown-ups—and I noticed that long ago—I don’t like it because I don’t know how.

Honesty and good nature creates a source of anxiety. Disrupts normal social structures.

Maybe my fate will change completely, but that’s all not it and not the main thing. The main thing is that my whole life has changed already. I left a lot there, too much. It’s all vanished.

What makes a life? What in our lives is independent of place/location?

But about your face, Lizaveta Prokofyevna,” he suddenly turned to Mrs. Epanchin, “about your face I not only think but I’m certain that you are a perfect child, in everything, in everything, in everything good and in everything bad, despite your age. You’re not angry that I say it?

I think your character is completely identical to mine, and I’m very glad; like two drops of water. Only you’re a man and I’m a woman, and I’ve never been to Switzerland, that’s all the difference.”

“Don’t tease him, my dears, he may be cleverer than all three of you put together. You’ll see. Only why have you said nothing about Aglaya, Prince? Aglaya’s waiting, and I am, too.” “I can’t say anything now. I’ll say it later.” “Why? She’s noticeable, I believe?” “Oh, yes, she’s noticeable. You’re an extraordinary beauty, Aglaya Ivanovna. You’re so good-looking that one is afraid to look at you.” “That’s all? And her qualities?” Mrs. Epanchin persisted. “Beauty is difficult to judge; I’m not prepared yet. Beauty is a riddle.” “That means you’ve set Aglaya a riddle,” said Adelaida. “Solve it, Aglaya. But she is good-looking, isn’t she, Prince?” “Extremely!” the prince replied warmly, with an enthusiastic glance at Aglaya. “Almost like Nastasya Filippovna, though her face is quite different …” They all exchanged astonished looks.

“He’s nice, but much too simple,” said Adelaida, when the prince had gone. “Yes, much too much,” agreed Alexandra, “so that he’s even slightly ridiculous.” It was as if neither had spoken her whole mind.

“I don’t think he’s so simple.”

“Of course, it was bad of me to let on about the portrait,” the prince reflected to himself on his way to the office, feeling some remorse. “But … maybe it’s a good thing I let on …” A strange idea was beginning to flash in his head, though not a very clear one as yet.

“Prince,” he began again, “right now they’re... owing to a completely strange circumstance... ridiculous... and for which I’m not to blame... well, in short, it’s irrelevant—they’re a bit angry with me in there, it seems, so for the time being I’d rather not go there without being sent for. I need terribly to talk with Aglaya Ivanovna now. I’ve written a few words just in case” (a small, folded note appeared in his hand), “and I don’t know how to deliver it. Would you take it upon yourself, Prince, to deliver it to Aglaya Ivanovna, right now, but only to Aglaya Ivanovna, that is, so that nobody sees—understand? It’s not such a great secret, God knows, there’s nothing to it, but... will you do it?” “It’s not altogether pleasant for me,” said the prince.

he makes for a convenient messenger

With her look Aglaya seemed to demand an accounting from him—in what way had he ended up in this affair together with Ganya?—and to demand it calmly and haughtily. For two or three moments they stood facing each other; finally something mocking barely showed in her face; she smiled slightly and walked past him.

“Such beauty has power,” Adelaida said hotly. “You can overturn the world with such beauty.” She went pensively to her easel. Aglaya gave the portrait only a fleeting look, narrowed her eyes, thrust out her lower lip, and sat down to one side, her arms folded.

“I want to say a couple of words to him—and enough!” Mrs. Epanchin snapped quickly, stopping the objection. She was visibly irritated. “You see, Prince, we now have all these secrets here. All these secrets!

I am a fool with a heart but no brains, and you are a fool with brains but no heart; and we’re both unhappy, and we both suffer.”

“It was you,” Ganya rasped, suddenly falling upon the prince once everyone had gone, “you blabbed to them that I’m getting married!” he muttered in a quick half whisper, with a furious face, flashing his eyes spitefully. “You shameless babbler!” “I assure you that you are mistaken,” the prince replied calmly and politely, “I didn’t even know you were getting married.” “You heard Ivan Fyodorovich say earlier that everything would be decided tonight at Nastasya Filippovna’s, and you told it to them! You’re lying! How could they have found out? Devil take it, who could have told them besides you? Didn’t the old lady hint to me?”

“One word, only one word from you—and I’m saved.” The prince turned quickly and looked at the two. There was genuine despair in Ganya’s face; it seemed he had uttered these words somehow without thinking, as if headlong. Aglaya looked at him for a few seconds with exactly the same calm astonishment as she had looked at the prince earlier, and it seemed that this calm astonishment of hers, this perplexity, as if she totally failed to understand what had been said to her, was more terrible for Ganya at that moment than the strongest contempt.

But his soul is dirty: he knows and yet hesitates; he knows and still asks for a guarantee. He’s unable to make a decision on faith. Instead of a hundred thousand, he wants me to give him hope in me.

“That can’t be! She couldn’t have told you to read it. You’re lying! You read it yourself!” “I’m telling you the truth,” the prince replied in the same completely imperturbable tone, “and, believe me, I’m very sorry that it makes such an unpleasant impression on you.” “But, you wretch, did she at least say anything as she did it? Did she respond in any way?” “Yes, of course.” “Speak then, speak—ah, the devil!…” And Ganya stamped his right foot, shod in a galosh, twice on the sidewalk. “As soon as I finished reading it, she told me that you were trying to trap her; that you wished to compromise her, in order to obtain some hope from her and then, on the basis of that hope, to break without losses from the other hope for a hundred thousand. That if you had done it without negotiating with her, had broken it off by yourself without asking her for a guarantee beforehand, she might perhaps have become your friend. That’s all, I think. Ah, one more thing: when I had already taken the note and asked what the reply would be, she said that no reply would be the best reply—I think that was it; forgive me if I’ve forgotten her exact expression, but I’m conveying it as I understood it myself.”

incapable of filtering information...

Once he began to swear and met no resistance, Ganya gradually lost all restraint, as always happens with certain people. A little more and he might have started spitting, so enraged he was. But, precisely because of that rage, he was blind; otherwise he would long since have paid attention to the fact that this “idiot,” whom he mistreated so, was sometimes capable of understanding everything all too quickly and subtly, and of giving an extremely satisfactory account of it. But suddenly something unexpected happened.

“I must point out to you, Gavrila Ardalionovich,” the prince suddenly said, “that formerly I was indeed unwell, so that in fact I was almost an idiot; but I have been well for a long time now, and therefore I find it somewhat unpleasant when I’m called an idiot to my face. Though you might be excused, considering your misfortunes, in your vexation you have even abused me a couple of times. I dislike that very much, especially the way you do it, suddenly, from the start. And since we’re now standing at an intersection, it might be better if we parted: you go home to the right, and I’ll go left. I have twenty-five roubles, and I’m sure I’ll find furnished rooms.”

He takes abuse but only a certain kind and only to a certain point.

Sometimes even he gets rubbed the wrong way.

Like Christ and the money-changers in the temple.

started right from the front hall. On one side of the corridor were the three rooms that were to be let to “specially recommended” tenants; besides that, on the same side of the corridor, at the very end of it, near the kitchen, was a fourth room, smaller than the others, which housed the retired General Ivolgin himself, the father of the family, who slept on a wide couch and was obliged to go in and out of the apartment through the kitchen and the back door.

Most descriptions describing wherepeople are situated... no descriptions of Petersburg.

Ganya only gritted his teeth to himself; though he may have wished to be respectful to his mother, it was evident the moment one stepped into the place that he was the great tyrant of the family.

Kolya was a boy with a merry and rather sweet face, and a trustful and simple-hearted manner.

“A couple of words, Prince, I forgot to tell you, what with all these … doings. A request: do me a favor—if it’s not too much of a strain for you—don’t babble here about what just went on between me and Aglaya, or there about what you find here; because there’s also enough ugliness here. To hell with it, though … But control yourself, at least for today.” “I assure you that I babbled much less than you think,” said the prince, somewhat annoyed at Ganya’s reproaches. Their relations were obviously becoming worse and worse.

Even the good natured beautiful soul can be annoyed.

“Do you have any money?” he asked suddenly, turning to the prince. “A little.” “How much, precisely?” “Twenty-five roubles.” “Show me.” The prince took a twenty-five-rouble note from his waistcoat pocket and handed it to Ferdyshchenko. The man unfolded it, looked at it, turned it over, then held it up to the light. “Quite strange,” he said, as if pondering. “Why do they turn brown? These twenty-fivers sometimes get terribly brown, while others, on the contrary, fade completely. Take it.” The prince took the note from him. Ferdyshchenko got up from the chair. “I came to warn you: first of all, don’t lend me any money, because I’m sure to ask.” “Very well.”

The prince began listening with a certain mistrust. “I was passionately in love with your mother while she was still a fiancée—my friend’s fiancée.

He takes two pistols from his pocket. Across a handkerchief. † Without witnesses. Why witnesses, if we’ll be sending each other into eternity in five minutes? We loaded the pistols, stretched out the handkerchief, put the pistols to each other’s hearts, and looked into each other’s faces. Suddenly tears burst from our eyes, our hands trembled. Both of us, both of us, at once! Well, naturally, then came embraces and a contest in mutual magnanimity. The prince cries: ‘She’s yours!’ I cry: ‘She’s yours!’ In short... in short

more on this "certain doom" theme

“Today what?” Ganya gave a start and suddenly fell upon the prince. “Ah, I understand, you’re into it here, too!… What is it with you, some sort of illness or something? Can’t help yourself? But understand, finally, Your Highness …” “I’m to blame here, Ganya, and nobody else,” Ptitsyn interrupted.

how could she give you her consent and even present you with her portrait, when you don’t love her? Can it be that she, being so … so …” “Experienced, you mean?” “That’s not how I wanted to put it. Can it be that you could blind her eyes to such a degree?”

The prince lifted the bar, opened the door, and—stepped back in amazement, even shuddered all over: before him stood Nastasya Filippovna. He recognized her at once from the portrait. Her eyes flashed with a burst of vexation when she saw him; she quickly came into the front hall, pushed him aside with her shoulder, and said wrathfully, flinging off her fur coat: “If you’re too lazy to fix the doorbell, you should at least be sitting in the front hall when people knock. Well, there, now he’s dropped my coat, the oaf!” The coat was indeed lying on the floor; Nastasya Filippovna, not waiting for the prince to help her out of it, had flung it off into his arms without looking, but the prince had not managed to catch it. “You ought to be dismissed. Go and announce me.”

“Ah, what an idiot!” Nastasya Filippovna cried indignantly, stamping her foot at him. “Well, what are you doing? Who are you going to announce?” “Nastasya Filippovna,” murmured the prince. “How do you know me?” she asked quickly. “I’ve never seen you before! Go and announce … What’s that shouting?” “They’re quarreling,” the prince replied and went to the drawing room.

“Drink some water,” he whispered to Ganya, “and don’t stare like that …” It was evident that he had said it without any calculation, without any particular design, just so, on the first impulse; but his words produced an extraordinary effect. It seemed that all of Ganya’s spite suddenly poured out on the prince; he seized him by the shoulder and looked at him silently, vengefully, and hatefully, as if unable to utter a word. There was general agitation. Nina Alexandrovna even gave a little cry. Ptitsyn took a step forward in alarm, Kolya and Ferdyshchenko appeared in the doorway and stopped in amazement, Varya alone watched as sullenly as before, but observed attentively. She did not sit down, but stood to one side, next to her mother, her arms folded on her breast. But Ganya came to his senses at once, almost at the moment of his reaction, and laughed nervously. He recovered completely. “What are you, Prince, a doctor or something?” he cried as gaily and simple-heartedly as he could.

opposites—he now had to drink this terrible cup as well and, above all, at such a moment!

“But, excuse me, how it it possible?” Nastasya Filippovna suddenly asked. “Five or six days ago in the Indépendence—I always read the Indépendence—I read exactly the same story! But decidedly exactly the same! It happened on one of the Rhine railways, in a passenger car, between a Frenchman and an Englishwoman: the cigar was snatched in exactly the same way, the lapdog was tossed out the window in exactly the same way, and, finally, it ended in exactly the same way as with you. The dress was even light blue!” The general blushed terribly; Kolya also blushed and clutched his head with his hands; Ptitsyn quickly turned away. Ferdyshchenko was the only one who went on laughing. There is no need to mention Ganya: he stood all the while enduring mute and unbearable torment.

They all seemed to need each other in order to come in; not one of them had courage enough by himself, but they all urged each other on, as it were. Even Rogozhin stepped warily at the head of the crowd, but he had some sort of intention, and he looked gloomily and irritably preoccupied.

You don’t know me? Ptitsyn is my witness! If I was to show you three roubles, to take them out of my pocket right now, you’d crawl after them on all fours to Vassilievsky Island—that’s how you are! That’s how your soul is! I’ve come now to buy you out for money, never mind that I’m wearing these boots, I’ve got a lot of money, brother, I’ll buy you out with all you’ve got here … if I want, I’ll buy you all! Everything!”

“Forty thousand then, forty, not eighteen!” cried Rogozhin. “Vanka Ptitsyn and Biskup promised to produce forty thousand by seven o’clock. Forty thousand! All on the table.” The scene was becoming extremely ugly, but Nastasya Filippovna went on laughing and did not go away, as if she were intentionally drawing it out.

Ganya’s eyes went dim and, forgetting himself entirely, he swung at his sister with all his might. The blow would certainly have landed on her face. But suddenly another hand stopped his arm in midair. The prince stepped between him and his sister. “Enough, no more of that!” he said insistently, but also trembling all over, as if from an extremely strong shock. “What, are you always going to stand in my way!” Ganya bellowed, dropping Varya’s hand, and, having freed his arm, in the utmost degree of rage, he swung roundly and slapped the prince in the face. “Ah!” Kolya clasped his hands, “ah, my God!” There were exclamations on all sides. The prince turned pale. With a strange and reproachful gaze, he looked straight into Ganya’s eyes; his lips trembled and attempted to say something; they were twisted by a strange and completely inappropriate smile. “Well, let that be for me … but her … I still won’t let you!…” he said quietly at last; but suddenly unable to control himself, he left Ganya, covered his face with his hands, went to the corner, stood facing the wall, and said in a faltering voice: “Oh, how ashamed you’ll be of what you’ve done!” Ganya indeed stood as if annihilated.

“He’ll be sorry!” shouted Rogozhin. “You’ll be ashamed, Ganka, to have offended such a … sheep!” (He was unable to find any other word.) “Prince, my dear soul, drop them all, spit on them, and let’s go! You’ll learn how Rogozhin loves!”

I’ve come to thank you once again, Prince, and to ask you: did you know Nastasya Filippovna before?” “No, I didn’t.” “Then what made you tell her to her face that she was ‘not like that’? And it seems you guessed right. It appears that she may indeed not be like that. However, I can’t make her out!

“I’ll never consider you a scoundrel now,” said the prince. “Earlier I took you altogether for a villain, and suddenly you overjoyed me so—it’s a real lesson: not to judge without experience. Now I see that you not only cannot be considered a villain, but that you haven’t even gone all that bad. To my mind, you’re simply the most ordinary man that could be, only very weak and not the least bit original.”

Having made money, be it known to you—I’ll become an original man in the highest degree. The meanest and most hateful thing about money is that it even gives one talent. And so it will be till the world ends.

“Besides, I have something to ask you, General. Have you ever been to Nastasya Filippovna’s?” “I? Have I ever been? You say this to me? Several times, my dear, several times!” the general cried in a fit of self-satisfied and triumphant irony. “But I finally stopped it myself, because I did not wish to encourage an improper union. You saw it yourself, you were a witness this afternoon: I’ve done everything a father could do—but a meek and indulgent father; now a father of a different sort will come onstage, and then—we shall see whether the honored old soldier will gain the upper hand in this intrigue, or a shameless adventuress will get into the noblest of families.” “But I precisely wanted to ask you whether, as an acquaintance, you might not get me into Nastasya Filippovna’s this evening? I absolutely must be there tonight; I have business; but I have no idea how to get in. I was introduced to her today, but all the same I wasn’t invited: she’s giving a party this evening.

The genral as usual lying his ass off

The prince was in despair. He could not understand how he could have been so foolishly trusting. In fact, he had never trusted the general; he had counted on him only so as to get into Nastasya Filippovna’s somehow, even if with a certain scandal, but he had not counted on an excessive scandal: the general turned out to be decidedly drunk, extremely eloquent, and talked nonstop, with feeling, with a tear in his soul.

the prince, still innocently laughing it off. But it was not all right. As soon as they went through the dark and low front hall into the narrow drawing room, furnished with a half-dozen wicker chairs and two card tables, the hostess immediately started carrying on as if by rote in a sort of lamenting and habitual voice: “And aren’t you ashamed, aren’t you ashamed of yourself, barbarian and tyrant of my family, barbarian and fiend! He’s robbed me clean, sucked me dry, and he’s still not content! How long will I put up with you, you shameless and worthless man!” “Marfa Borisovna, Marfa Borisovna! This … is Prince Myshkin. General Ivolgin and Prince Myshkin,” the general murmured, trembling and at a loss. “Would you believe,” the captain’s widow suddenly turned to the prince, “would you believe that this shameless man hasn’t spared my orphaned children! He’s stolen everything, filched everything, sold and pawned everything, left nothing. What am I to do with your promissory notes, you cunning and shameless man? Answer, you sly fox, answer me, you insatiable heart: with what, with what am I to feed my orphaned children? Here he shows up drunk, can’t stand on his feet … How have I angered the Lord God, you vile and outrageous villain, answer me?” But the general had other things on his mind.

“I wanted to introduce you to Ippolit,” said Kolya.

Ippolit is the central axis of the novel

So it means that Nastasya Filippovna invited you to her place straight off?” “The thing is that she didn’t.” “How can you be going, then?” Kolya exclaimed and even stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. “And … and dressed like that, and to a formal party?” “By God, I really don’t know how I’m going to get in. If they receive me—good; if not—then my business is lost. And as for my clothes, what can I do about that?” “You have business there? Or is it just so, pour passer le temps b in ‘noble society’?” “No, essentially I … that is, I do have business … it’s hard for me to explain it, but …”

“Well, as for what precisely, that can be as you like, but the main thing for me is that you’re not simply inviting yourself to a party, to be in the charming company of loose women, generals, and usurers. If that were so, excuse me, Prince, but I’d laugh at you and start despising you. There are terribly few honest people here, so that there’s nobody at all to respect.

These are the sharks surrounding myshkin

Nastasya Filippovna occupied a not very large but indeed magnificently decorated apartment. There had been a time, at the beginning of those five years of her Petersburg life, when Afanasy Ivanovich had been particularly unstinting of money for her; he was then still counting on her love and thought he could seduce her mainly by comfort and luxury, knowing how easily the habits of luxury take root and how hard it is to give them up later, when luxury has gradually turned into necessity. In this case Totsky remained true to the good old traditions, changing nothing in them, and showing a boundless respect for the invincible power of sensual influences. Nastasya Filippovna did not reject the luxury, even liked it, but—and this seemed extremely strange—never succumbed to it, as if she could always do without it; she even tried several times to declare as much, which always struck Totsky unpleasantly.

“Lev Nikolaevich!” Parfyon cried from above, when the prince had reached the first landing. “That cross you bought from the soldier, are you wearing it?” “Yes.” And the prince stopped again. “Show me.” Again a new oddity! The prince thought a little, went back up, and showed him the cross without taking it from his neck. “Give it to me,” said Rogozhin. “Why? Or do you …” The prince seemed unwilling to part with this cross. “I’ll wear it, and you can wear mine, I’ll give it to you.” “You want to exchange crosses? Very well, Parfyon, if so, I’m glad; we’ll be brothers!” 21 The prince took off his tin cross, Parfyon his gold one, and they exchanged them. Parfyon was silent. With painful astonishment the prince noticed that the former mistrust, the former bitter and almost derisive smile still did not seem to leave the face of his adopted brother—at least it showed very strongly at moments. Finally Rogozhin silently took the prince’s hand and stood for a while, as if undecided about something; in the end he suddenly drew the prince after him, saying in a barely audible voice: “Come on.” They crossed the first-floor landing and rang at the door facing the one they had just come out of. It was promptly opened. An old woman, all bent over and dressed in black, a kerchief on her head, bowed silently and deeply to Rogozhin. He quickly asked her something and, not waiting for an answer, led the prince further through the rooms. Again there were dark rooms, of some extraordinary, cold cleanness, coldly and severely furnished with old furniture in clean white covers. Without announcing himself, Rogozhin led the prince into a small room that looked like a drawing room, divided by a gleaming mahogany partition with doors at either end, behind which there was probably a bedroom. In the corner of the drawing room, near the stove, in an armchair, sat a little old woman, who did not really look so very old, even had a quite healthy, pleasant, and round face, but was already completely gray-haired and (one could tell at first sight) had fallen into complete senility. She was wearing a black woolen dress, a big black kerchief around her neck, and a clean white cap with black ribbons. Her feet rested on a footstool. Next to her was another clean little old woman, a bit older, also in mourning and also in a white cap, apparently some companion, who was silently knitting a stocking. The two looked as if they were always silent. The first old woman, seeing Rogozhin and the prince, smiled at them and inclined her head affectionately several times as a sign of pleasure. “Mama,” said Rogozhin, kissing her hand, “this is my great friend, Prince Lev Nikolaevich Myshkin; he and I have exchanged crosses; he was like a brother to me in Moscow for a time, and did a lot for me. Bless him, mama, as you would your own son. Wait, old girl, like this, let me put your hand the right way …” But before Parfyon had time to do anything, the old woman raised her right hand, put three fingers together, and piously crossed the prince three times. Then once more she nodded her head gently and tenderly. “Well, let’s go, Lev Nikolaevich,” said Parfyon, “I only brought you for that …”

I asked permission to speak the truth, since everybody knows that only those who are not witty speak the truth.

Saying this, she peered intently at the prince, trying at least somehow to interpret his action to herself. The prince might have made some reply to her amiable words, but he was so dazzled and struck that he could not even get a word out. Nastasya Filippovna noticed it with pleasure.

So you consider me perfection, do you?” “I do.” “Though you’re a master at guessing, you’re nevertheless mistaken. I’ll remind you of it tonight …”

“I know an excellent and new petit jeu,” Ferdyshchenko picked up, “at least one that happened only once in the world, and even then it didn’t succeed.” “What was it?” the sprightly lady asked. “A company of us got together once, and we drank a bit, it’s true, and suddenly somebody suggested that each of us, without leaving the table, tell something about himself, but something that he himself, in good conscience, considered the worst of all the bad things he’d done in the course of his whole life; and that it should be frank, above all, that it should be frank, no lying!”

Just think, ladies and gentlemen,” Ferdyshchenko suddenly exclaimed in some sort of inspiration, “just think with what eyes we’ll look at each other later, tomorrow, for instance, after our stories!”

“But is this possible? Can this indeed be serious, Nastasya Filippovna?” Totsky asked with dignity. “He who fears wolves should stay out of the forest!” Nastasya Filippovna observed with a little smile.

I passed through the corner room, there was a green three-rouble note lying on Marya Ivanovna’s worktable: she had taken it out to pay some household expenses. Not a living soul in the room. I took the note and put it in my pocket, why—I don’t know. I don’t understand what came over me. Only I quickly went back and sat down at the table. I sat and waited in rather great excitement; I talked nonstop, told jokes, laughed; then I went to sit with the ladies. About half an hour later they found it missing and began questioning the maidservants. Suspicion fell on the maid Darya. I showed extraordinary curiosity and concern, and I even remember that, when Darya was completely at a loss, I began persuading her to confess her guilt, betting my life on Marya Ivanovna’s kindness—and that aloud, in front of everybody. Everybody was looking, and I felt an extraordinary pleasure precisely because I was preaching while the note was in my pocket. I drank up those three roubles in a restaurant that same evening. I went in and asked for a bottle of Lafite; never before had I asked for a bottle just like that, with nothing; I wanted to spend it quickly.

“It has happened to me, ladies and gentlemen, as to everyone, to do certain not entirely elegant deeds in my life,” the general began, “but the strangest thing of all is that I consider the short anecdote I’m about to tell you the nastiest anecdote in my whole life. Meanwhile some thirty-five years have passed; but I have never been able, in recalling it, to break free of a certain, so to speak, gnawing impression in my heart. The affair itself, however, was extremely stupid: at that time I had just been made a lieutenant and was pulling my load in the army. Well, everybody knows what a lieutenant is: blood boiling and just pennies to live on. I had an orderly then, Nikifor, who was terribly solicitous of my livelihood: he saved, mended, cleaned and scrubbed, and even pilfered everywhere, whatever he could to add to the household. He was a most trustworthy and honest man. I, of course, was strict but fair. At some point we were stationed in a little town. I was quartered on the outskirts, with a retired lieutenant’s wife, and a widow at that. The old hag was eighty or thereabouts. Her little house was decrepit, wretched, wooden, and she didn’t even have a serving woman, so poor she was. But the main thing about her was that she had once had the most numerous family and relations; but some had died in the course of her life, others had gone away, still others had forgotten the old woman, and her husband she had buried forty-five years earlier. A few years before then her niece had lived with her, hunchbacked and wicked as a witch, people said, and once she had even bitten the old woman’s finger, but she had died, too, so that for some three years the old woman had been getting along all by herself. My life with her was terribly boring, and she herself was so empty I couldn’t get anywhere with her. In the end she stole a rooster from me. The affair has remained cloudy to this day, but no one else could have done it. We quarreled over that rooster, and considerably, but here it so happened that, at my first request, I was transferred to other quarters on the opposite side of town, with the numerous family of a merchant with a great big beard—I remember him as if it were yesterday. Nikifor and I are joyfully moving out, we’re indignantly leaving the old woman. About three days go by, I come back from drill, Nikifor tells me, ‘You shouldn’t have left our bowl with the former landlady, Your Honor, we have nothing to serve soup in.’ I, naturally, am amazed: ‘How’s that? Why would our bowl have stayed with the landlady?’ The astonished Nikifor goes on to report that the landlady hadn’t given him our bowl when we were moving because, since I had broken a pot of hers, she was keeping our bowl in exchange for her pot, and I had supposedly suggested doing it that way. Such baseness on her part naturally drove me beyond the final limits; my blood boiled, I jumped up and flew to her. By the time I reach the old woman I’m, so to speak, already beside myself; I see her sitting all alone in the corner of the front hall, as if hiding from the sun, resting her cheek on her hand. I immediately loosed a whole thunderstorm on her: ‘You’re this,’ I said, ‘and you’re that!’—you know, in the best Russian way. Only I see something strange is happening: she sits, her face is turned to me, her eyes are popping out, and she says not a word in reply, and she looks at me so strangely, strangely, as if she’s swaying back and forth. I finally calm down, look closely at her, ask her something—not a word in reply. I stand there irresolutely; flies are buzzing, the sun is setting, silence; completely bewildered, I finally leave. Before I reached home I was summoned to the major’s, then I had to pass by my company, so that I got home quite late. Nikifor’s first words: ‘You know, Your Honor, our landlady died.’ ‘When?’ ‘This evening, an hour and a half ago.’ Which meant that, just at the time when I was abusing her, she was departing. I was so struck, I must tell you, that I had a hard time recovering. It even made its way into my thoughts, you know, even into my dreams at night. I, of course, have no prejudices, but on the third day I went to church for the funeral. In short, the more time passed, the more I thought about her. Nothing special, only I pictured it occasionally and felt rather bad. The main thing is, how did I reason in the end? First, the woman was, so to speak, a personal being, what’s known in our time as a human; she lived, lived a long time, too long finally. She once had children, a husband, a family, relations, everything around her was at the boil, there were all these smiles, so to speak, and suddenly—total zero, everything’s gone smash, she’s left alone, like … some sort of fly bearing a curse from time immemorial. And then, finally, God brings her to an end. At sunset, on a quiet summer evening, my old woman also flies away—of course, this is not without its moralizing idea; and at that very moment, instead of, so to speak, a farewell tear, this desperate young lieutenant, jaunty and arms akimbo, sees her off the face of the earth with the Russian element of riotous abuse over a lost bowl! No doubt I was at fault, and though, owing to the distance in time and to changes in my character, I’ve long regarded my deed as someone else’s, I nevertheless continue to regret it. So that, I repeat, I find it strange, the more so as, even if I am at fault, it’s not so completely: why did she decide to die precisely at that moment? Naturally, there’s some excuse here—that the deed was in a certain sense psychological—but all the same I never felt at peace until I began, about fifteen years ago, to keep two permanent sick old women at my expense in the almshouse, with the purpose of easing their last days of earthly life by decent maintenance. I intend to leave capital for it in perpetuity. Well, sirs, that’s all. I repeat that I may be to blame for many things in life, but I consider this occasion, in all conscience, the nastiest deed of my whole life.”

Afanasy Ivanovich fell silent with the same solid dignity with which he had embarked on his story. It was noticed that Nastasya Filippovna’s eyes flashed somehow peculiarly and her lips even twitched when Afanasy Ivanovich finished. Everyone glanced with curiosity at them both.

“But the promised anecdote before all!” the general warmly approved. “Prince,” Nastasya Filippovna suddenly addressed him sharply and unexpectedly, “these old friends of mine, the general and Afanasy Ivanovich, keep wanting to get me married. Tell me what you think: should I get married or not? I’ll do as you say.” Afanasy Ivanovich turned pale, the general was dumbfounded; everyone stared and thrust their heads forward. Ganya froze in his place. “To … to whom?” asked the prince in a sinking voice. “To Gavrila Ardalionovich Ivolgin,” Nastasya Filippovna went on as sharply, firmly, and distinctly as before. Several moments passed in silence; the prince seemed to be trying hard but could not utter a word, as if a terrible weight were pressing on his chest. “N-no … don’t!” he whispered at last and tensely drew his breath. “And so it will be! Gavrila Ardalionovich!” she addressed him imperiously and as if solemnly, “did you hear what the prince decided? Well, so that is my answer; and let this business be concluded once and for all!”

“Is trying to get at the seventy-five thousand, is that it?” Nastasya Filippovna suddenly cut him off. “Is that what you wanted to say? Don’t deny it, you certainly wanted to say that! Afanasy Ivanovich, I forgot to add: you can keep the seventy-five thousand for yourself and know that I’ve set you free gratis.

Enough! You, too, need to breathe! Nine years and three months! Tomorrow—all anew, but today is my birthday and I’m on my own for the first time in my whole life! General, you can also take your pearls and give them to your wife—here they are; and tomorrow I’ll vacate this apartment entirely. And there will be no more evenings, ladies and gentlemen!”

like anna, nastassya wants freedom. she avoids the existential anxiety agony of choosing to be free by forcing her choice on myshkin

The guests went on being amazed, whispering and exchanging glances, but it became perfectly clear that it had all been calculated and arranged beforehand, and that now Nastasya Filippovna—though she was, of course, out of her mind—would not be thrown off.

was totally unknown to any of Rogozhin’s people, but who had been picked up in the street, on the sunny side of Nevsky Prospect, where he was stopping passersby and asking, in Marlinsky’s style, f for financial assistance, under the perfidious pretext that “in his time he himself used to give petitioners fifteen roubles.”

the all seem to recycle expressions and chaacteristics. not sure which one is keller. thye all sund like keller...

At the word “boxing,” the fist gentleman merely smiled scornfully and touchily, and without condescending, for his part, to an obvious debate with his rival, displayed now and then, silently, as if accidentally, or, better to say, exposed to view now and then, a perfectly national thing—a huge fist, sinewy, gnarled, overgrown with a sort of reddish fuzz—and everyone could see clearly that if this profoundly national thing were aptly brought down on some object, there would be nothing left but a wet spot.

Timidly and like a lost man he gazed at Nastasya Filippovna for several seconds, not taking his eyes off her. Suddenly, as if he had lost all reason and nearly staggering, he went up to the table; on his way he bumped into Ptitsyn’s chair and stepped with his huge, dirty boots on the lace trimming of the silent German beauty’s magnificent light blue dress; he did not apologize and did not notice. Having gone up to the table, he placed on it a strange object, with which he had also entered the drawing room, holding it out in front of him with both hands. It was a big stack of paper, about five inches high and seven inches long, wrapped firmly and closely in The Stock Market Gazette, and tied very tightly on all sides and twice crisscross with the kind of string used for tying sugar loaves. Then he stood without saying a word, his arms hanging down, as if awaiting his sentence.

fate. the condemned mans fate.rogozhin sacrificng his freedom to certain doom fate with nastassya.

Ganechka, I see you’re still angry with me? Did you really want to take me into your family? Me, Rogozhin’s kind of woman! What was it the prince said earlier?” “I did not say you were Rogozhin’s kind of woman, you’re not Rogozhin’s kind!” the prince uttered in a trembling voice.

Can it be true what Rogozhin said about you, that for three roubles you’d crawl on all fours to Vassilievsky Island?” “He would,” Rogozhin suddenly said quietly but with a look of great conviction.

“Well, then, why did I torment him for a whole five years and not let him leave me? As if he was worth it! He’s simply the way he has to be … He’s still going to consider me guilty before him: he brought me up, he kept me like a countess, money, so much money, went on me, he found me an honest husband there, and Ganechka here, and what do you think: I didn’t live with him for five years, but I took his money and thought I was right! I really got myself quite confused! Now you say take the hundred thousand and throw him out, if it’s so loathsome. It’s true that it’s loathsome … I could have married long ago, and not just some Ganechka, only that’s also pretty loathsome. Why did I waste my five years in this spite! But, would you believe it, some four years ago I had moments when I thought: shouldn’t I really marry my Afanasy Ivanovich? I thought it then out of spite; all sorts of things came into my head then; but I could have made him do it! He asked for it himself, can you believe that? True, he was lying, but he’s so susceptible, he can’t control himself. And then, thank God, I thought: as if he’s worth such spite!

No, it’s better in the street where I belong! Either carouse with Rogozhin or go tomorrow and become a washerwoman! Because nothing on me is my own; if I leave, I’ll abandon everything to him, I’ll leave every last rag, and who will take me without anything? Ask Ganya here, will he? Even Ferdyshchenko won’t take me!…”

How are you going to live, if you’re so in love that you’ll take Rogozhin’s kind of woman—you, a prince?…” “I’ll take you as an honest woman, Nastasya Filippovna, not as Rogozhin’s kind,” said the prince. “Me, an honest woman?” “You.”

“I don’t know anything, Nastasya Filippovna, I haven’t seen anything, you’re right, but I … I will consider that you are doing me an honor, and not I you. I am nothing, but you have suffered and have emerged pure from such a hell, and that is a lot. Why do you feel ashamed and want to go with Rogozhin? It’s your fever … You’ve given Mr. Totsky back his seventy thousand and say you will abandon everything you have here, which no one else here would do. I … love you … Nastasya Filippovna. I will die for you, Nastasya Filippovna. I won’t let anyone say a bad word about you, Nastasya Filippovna … If we’re poor, I’ll work, Nastasya Filippovna …”

Everyone asserted afterwards that it was also from this moment that Nastasya Filippovna went crazy. She sat there and for some time looked around at them all with a sort of strange, astonished gaze, as if she could not understand and was trying to figure something out. Then she suddenly turned to the prince and, with a menacing scowl, studied him intently; but this lasted only a moment; perhaps it had suddenly occurred to her that it might all be a joke, a mockery; but the prince’s look reassured her at once. She became pensive, then smiled again, as if not clearly realizing why …

“No, General! I’m a princess myself now, you heard it—the prince won’t let anyone offend me! Afanasy Ivanovich, congratulate me; now I’ll be able to sit next to your wife anywhere; it’s useful to have such a husband, don’t you think? A million and a half, and a prince, and, they say, an idiot to boot, what could be better? Only now does real life begin! You’re too late, Rogozhin! Take your packet away, I’m marrying the prince, and I’m richer than you are!” But Rogozhin grasped what was going on. Inexpressible suffering was reflected in his face. He clasped his hands and a groan burst from his breast. “Give her up!” he cried to the prince.

You’d get yourself hired as a washerwoman tomorrow and not stay with Rogozhin. You’re proud, Nastasya Filippovna, but you may be so unhappy that you actually consider yourself guilty.

Ptitsyn even bowed his head out of chastity and looked at the ground. Totsky thought to himself: “He’s an idiot, but he knows that flattery succeeds best: it’s second nature!” The prince also noticed Ganya’s eyes flashing from the corner, as if he wanted to reduce him to ashes.

“And you thought it could really be?” Nastasya Filippovna jumped up from the sofa with a loud laugh. “That I could ruin such a baby? That’s just the right thing for Afanasy Ivanych: he’s the one who loves babies! Let’s go, Rogozhin! Get your packet ready! Never mind that you want to marry me, give me the money anyway. Maybe I still won’t marry you. You thought, since you want to marry me, you’d get to keep the packet? Ah, no! I’m shameless myself! I was Totsky’s concubine … Prince! you need Aglaya Epanchin now, not Nastasya Filippovna—otherwise Ferdyshchenko will point the finger at you!

early mention of aglaya. didnt notice this on my fist rea through.


nastassya doesnt want to ruin the prince who is helplessly in love with her the way tha totsky ruined her

And you, Ganechka, you’ve missed Aglaya Epanchin; did you know that? If you hadn’t bargained with her, she would certainly have married you! That’s how you all are: keep company with dishonorable women, or with honorable women—there’s only one choice! Otherwise you’re sure to get confused … Hah, look at the general staring openmouthed

Keep the seventy-five thousand, Afanasy Ivanych (you didn’t even get up to a hundred, Rogozhin outdid you!); as for Ganechka, I’ll comfort him myself, I’ve got an idea. And now I want to carouse, I’m a streetwalker! I sat in prison for ten years, now comes happiness! What’s wrong, Rogozhin? Get ready, let’s go!” “Let’s go!” bellowed Rogozhin, nearly beside himself with joy. “Hey, you … whoever … wine! Ohh!…”

“There will, there will! Keep away!” Rogozhin screamed in frenzy, seeing Darya Alexeevna approaching Nastasya Filippovna. “She’s mine! It’s all mine! A queen! The end!” He was breathless with joy; he circled around Nastasya Filippovna and cried out to everyone: “Keep away!” His whole company had already crowded into the drawing room. Some were drinking, others were shouting and guffawing, they were all in a most excited and uninhibited state. Ferdyshchenko began trying to sidle up to them. The general and Totsky made another move to disappear quickly. Ganya also had his hat in his hand, but he stood silently and still seemed unable to tear himself away from the picture that was developing before him. “Keep away!” cried Rogozhin. “What are you yelling for?” Nastasya Filippovna laughed loudly at him. “I’m still the mistress here; if I want, I can have you thrown out. I haven’t taken your money yet, it’s right there; give it to me, the whole packet!

No, better let’s part nicely, because I’m a dreamer myself, there’d be no use! As if I haven’t dreamed of you myself? You’re right about that, I dreamed for a long time, still in the country, where he kept me for five years, completely alone, I used to think and think, dream and dream—and I kept imagining someone like you, kind, honest, good, and as silly as you are, who would suddenly come and say, ‘You’re not guilty, Nastasya Filippovna, and I adore you!’ And I sometimes dreamed so much that I’d go out of my mind … And then this one would come: he’d stay for two months a year, dishonor me, offend me, inflame me, debauch me, leave me—a thousand times I wanted to drown myself in the pond, but I was base, I had no courage—well, but now … Rogozhin, are you ready?” “Ready! Keep away!”

“Ganka, I’ve got an idea: I want to reward you, because why should you lose everything? Rogozhin, will he crawl to Vassilievsky Island for three roubles?” “He will!” “Well, then listen, Ganya, I want to look at your soul for the last time; you’ve been tormenting me for three long months; now it’s my turn. Do you see this packet? There’s a hundred thousand in it! I’m now going to throw it into the fireplace, onto the fire, before everyone, all these witnesses! As soon as it catches fire all over, go into the fireplace, only without gloves, with your bare hands, with your sleeves rolled up, and pull the packet out of the fire! If you pull it out, it’s yours, the whole hundred thousand is yours! You’ll only burn your fingers a little—but it’s a hundred thousand, just think! It won’t take long to snatch it out! And I’ll admire your soul as you go into the fire after my money. They’re all witnesses that the packet will be yours! And if you don’t get it out, it will burn; I won’t let anyone else touch it. Stand back! Everybody! It’s my money! I got it for a night with Rogozhin. Is it my money, Rogozhin?”

she sees herself as a street walker and aharlot. reference to rogozhins money

“She’s mad, isn’t she? Isn’t she mad?” the general pestered Totsky. “I told you she was a colorful woman,” murmured Afanasy Ivanovich, also gone somewhat pale. “But, after all, it’s a hundred thousand!…” “Lord, Lord!” was heard on all sides. Everyone crowded around the fireplace, everyone pushed in order to see, everyone exclaimed … Some even climbed onto chairs to look over the heads. Darya Alexeevna ran to the other room and exchanged frightened whispers with Katya and Pasha about something. The German beauty fled.

“Dearest lady! Queen! Almighty one!” Lebedev screamed, crawling on his knees before Nastasya Filippovna and reaching out towards the fireplace. “A hundred thousand! A hundred thousand! I saw it myself, I was there when they wrapped it! Dearest lady! Merciful one! Order me into the fireplace: I’ll go all the way in, I’ll put my whole gray head into the fire!… A crippled wife, thirteen children—all orphaned, I buried my father last week, he sits there starving, Nastasya Filippovna!!” and, having screamed, he began crawling into the fireplace. “Away!” cried Nastasya Filippovna, pushing him aside. “Step back, everybody! Ganya, what are you standing there for? Don’t be ashamed! Go in! It’s your lucky chance!” But Ganya had already endured too much that day and that evening, and was not prepared for this last unexpected trial. The crowd parted into two halves before him, and he was left face to face with Nastasya Filippovna, three steps away from her. She stood right by the fireplace and waited, not tearing her burning, intent gaze from him. Ganya, in a tailcoat, his hat and gloves in his hand, stood silent and unresponding before her, his arms crossed, looking at the fire. An insane smile wandered over his face, which was pale as a sheet. True, he could not take his eyes off the fire, off the smoldering packet; but it seemed something new had arisen in his soul; it was as if he had sworn to endure the torture; he did not budge from the spot; in a few moments it became clear to everyone that he would not go after the packet, that he did not want to. “Hey, it’ll burn up, and they’ll shame you,” Nastasya Filippovna cried to him, “you’ll hang yourself afterwards, I’m not joking!”

The fire that had flared up in the beginning between the two smoldering logs went out at first, when the packet fell on it and smothered it. But a small blue flame still clung from below to one corner of the lower log. Finally, a long, thin tongue of fire licked at the packet, the fire caught and raced along the edges of the paper, and suddenly the whole packet blazed in the fireplace and the bright flame shot upwards. Everyone gasped. “Dearest lady!” Lebedev kept screaming, straining forward once more, but Rogozhin dragged him back and pushed him aside again. Rogozhin himself had turned into one fixed gaze. He could not turn it from Nastasya Filippovna, he was reveling, he was in seventh heaven. “There’s a queen for you!” he repeated every moment, turning around to whoever was there. “That’s the way to do it!” he cried out, forgetting himself. “Who among you rogues would pull such a stunt, eh?”

“It’s all his! The whole packet is his! Do you hear, gentlemen?” Nastasya Filippovna proclaimed, placing the packet beside Ganya. “He didn’t go in after it, he held out! So his vanity is still greater than his lust for money. Never mind, he’ll come to! Otherwise he might have killed me

“You know, Afanasy Ivanovich, they say something of the sort exists among the Japanese,” Ivan Petrovich Ptitsyn was saying. “An offended man there supposedly goes to the offender and says to him: ‘You have offended me, for that I have come to rip my belly open before your eyes,’ and with those words he actually rips his belly open before his offender’s eyes, no doubt feeling an extreme satisfaction, as if he had indeed revenged himself. There are strange characters in the world, Afanasy Ivanovich!”

Part 2

It was said then that there might have been other reasons for such a hasty departure; but of that, as well as of the prince’s adventures in Moscow and generally in the course of his absence from Petersburg, we can supply very little information. The prince was away for exactly six months, and even those who had certain reasons to be interested in his fate could find out very little about him during all that time. True, some sort of rumors reached some of them, though very rarely, but these were mostly strange and almost always contradicted each other.

They were proud girls, arrogant, and sometimes bashful even among themselves, but nevertheless they understood each other not only from the first word but even from the first glance, so that sometimes there was no need to say much.

Which means us readers won't learn much...

An outside observer, if there had happened to be one, could have come to only one conclusion: that, judging by all the aforementioned facts, few as they were, the prince had managed in any case to leave a certain impression in the Epanchins’ house, though he had appeared there only once, and that fleetingly.

Gradually the rumors that had begun to spread around town also managed to be shrouded in the darkness of ignorance.

For instance, Rogozhin’s entire company, many of whom could have told a thing or two, set off in its whole bulk, with Rogozhin himself at its head, for Moscow, almost exactly a week after a terrible orgy in the Ekaterinhof vauxhall, 1 at which Nastasya Filippovna had also been present. Some people, the very few who were interested, learned from other rumors that Nastasya Filippovna had fled the day after Ekaterinhof, had vanished, and had finally been traced, having gone off to Moscow; so that Rogozhin’s departure for Moscow came out as being somewhat coincident with this rumor.

Only rumors. no clear chronology or accounting for when or what happens in Moscow

But though Varvara Ardalionovna for some reason found it necessary to become so close with the Epanchins, she surely would not have talked with them about her brother.

Mrs. Epanchin concluded, adding that through “the old woman” the prince was now received in two or three good houses. “It’s good that he doesn’t sit in his corner feeling bashful like a fool.” The girls, to whom all this was imparted, noticed at once that their dear mama had concealed a great deal of her letter from them.

In conclusion to all this the general noticed that his wife was as concerned for the prince as if he were her own son and that she had also begun to be terribly affectionate to Aglaya; seeing which, Ivan Fyodorovich assumed a very businesslike air for a time.

The thing was that just two weeks earlier he had received undercover information, brief and therefore not quite clear, but reliable, that Nastasya Filippovna, who had first disappeared in Moscow, had then been found in Moscow by Rogozhin, had then disappeared again somewhere and had again been found by him, had finally given him an almost certain promise that she would marry him. And now, only two weeks later, his excellency had suddenly received information that Nastasya Filippovna had run away for a third time, almost from the foot of the altar, and this time had disappeared somewhere in the provinces, and meanwhile Prince Myshkin had also vanished from Moscow, leaving Salazkin in charge of all his affairs, “together with her, or simply rushing after her, no one knows, but there’s something in it,” the general concluded. Lizaveta Prokofyevna, for her part, also received some unpleasant information.

imperfect information and reports. not clear what has actually hapened or how the characters are interacting. geograhy as a limiting aspect. narrator doesnt know what happens outside of petersburg

Here it would be appropriate to mention that the intended marriage between Afanasy Ivanovich Totsky and the eldest Epanchin girl broke up altogether, and no formal proposal ever took place. It happened somehow by itself, without long discussions and without any family struggles. Since the time of the prince’s departure, everything had suddenly quieted down on both sides. This circumstance was one of the causes of the then heavy mood in the Epanchin family, though Mrs. Epanchin said at the time that she would gladly “cross herself with both hands.”

Adelaida Ivanovna, the middle sister, made a very strong impression on him. By spring the prince had proposed. Adelaida liked him very much, and so did Lizaveta Prokofyevna. The general was very glad. Needless to say, the trip was postponed. A spring wedding was planned.

And yet we still have one more fact to report, and with that we shall end our introduction.

the Ivolgin family heard that Kolya had suddenly become acquainted with the Epanchins and was received very nicely by the girls. Varya soon learned of it; Kolya, incidentally, had become acquainted not through Varya but “on his own.” The Epanchins gradually grew to love him.

At first the general’s wife was very displeased with him, but soon she began to treat him kindly “for his candor and for the fact that he doesn’t flatter.” That Kolya did not flatter was perfectly right; he managed to put himself on a completely equal and independent footing with them, though he did sometimes read books or newspapers to Mrs. Epanchin—but he had always been obliging.

How is it that I am writing to you? I do not know; but I have an irrepressible desire to remind you of myself, and you precisely.

Aglaya laughed terribly—no one knew why. Nor did anyone know whether she showed her acquisition to any of her sisters.

No one met him at the station; but as he was getting off the train, the prince suddenly thought he caught the gaze of two strange, burning eyes in the crowd surrounding the arriving people. When he looked more attentively, he could no longer see them. Of course, he had only imagined it; but it left an unpleasant impression. Besides, the prince was sad and pensive to begin with and seemed preoccupied with something.

“He never drinks much in the mornings; if you’ve come on business, talk to him now. It’s the right time. When he comes home in the evening, he’s drunk; and now he mostly weeps at night and reads aloud to us from the Holy Scriptures, because our mother died five weeks ago.”

You’re Prince Myshkin, I believe? Kolya told me about you. He says he’s never met anyone in the world more intelligent than you …” “And there is no one! No one! No one more intelligent in the world!” Lebedev picked up at once.

But the worst thing is that I knew he was a blackguard, a scoundrel, and a petty thief, and I still sat down to play with him, and that, as I bet my last rouble (we were playing cribbage), I thought to myself: I’ll lose, go to Uncle Lukyan, bow to him—he won’t refuse. That was meanness, that was real meanness! That was conscious baseness!” “Yes, there you have conscious baseness!” repeated Lebedev.

“I’ve been lying here for three days, and the things I’ve seen!” the young man went on shouting without listening. “Imagine, he suspects this angel, this young girl, now an orphan, my cousin, his own daughter; every night he searches for her sweethearts! He comes here on the sly and also searches for something under my sofa. He’s gone crazy from suspiciousness; he sees thieves in every corner. All night he keeps popping out of bed to see whether the windows are well latched, to check the doors, to peek into the stove, as much as seven times a night. He defends swindlers in court, and he gets up three times in the night to pray, here in the living room, on his knees, pounding his head on the floor for half an hour, and who doesn’t he pray for, what doesn’t he pray for, the drunken mumbler! He prayed for the repose of the soul of the countess Du Barry, 9 I heard it with my own ears; Kolya also heard it: he’s gone quite crazy!”

“The way she died was that, after such honors, this former ruling lady was dragged guiltless to the guillotine by the executioner Samson, for the amusement of the Parisian fishwives, and she was so frightened that she didn’t understand what was happening to her. She saw that he was bending her neck down under the knife and kicking her from behind—with the rest all laughing—and she began to cry out: ‘Encore un moment, monsieur le bourreau, encore un moment!’ Which means: ‘Wait one more little minute, mister boorow, just one!’ And maybe the Lord will forgive her for that little minute, because it’s impossible to imagine a human soul in worse mizair than that. Do you know what the word mizair means? Well, this is that same mizair. When I read about this countess’s cry of one little moment, it was as if my heart was in pincers. And what do you care, worm, if I decided on going to bed at night to remember her, a great sinner, in my prayers? Maybe I remembered her precisely because, as long as this world has stood, probably nobody has ever crossed his forehead for her, or even thought of it. And so, she’ll feel good in the other world that another sinner like her has been found, who has prayed for her at least once on earth. What are you laughing at? You don’t believe, you atheist. But how do you know? And you also lied, if you did eavesdrop on me; I didn’t pray only for the countess Du Barry; what I prayed was: ‘Give rest, O Lord, to the soul of the great sinner, the countess Du Barry, and all those like her’—and that’s a very different thing; for there are many such great women sinners and examples of the change of fortune, who suffered, and who now find no peace there, and groan, and wait; and I also prayed then for you and those like you, of your kind, impudent offenders, since you decided to eavesdrop on my prayers …”

Well, leave off, don’t deceive me. Leave off serving two masters. Rogozhin has been here for three weeks now, I know everything. Did you manage to sell her to him like the other time, or not? Tell me the truth.” “The monster found out himself, himself.” “Don’t abuse him. Of course, he treated you badly …”

“You take me for a little boy, Lebedev. Tell me, did she seriously abandon him this time, in Moscow?” “Seriously, seriously, again right at the foot of the altar. The man was already counting the minutes, and she dashed off here to Petersburg and straight to me: ‘Save me, protect me, Lukyan, and don’t tell the prince …’ She’s afraid of you, Prince, even more than of him, and that’s—most wise!”

“Well, enough, I’ll find everything out myself. Only tell me, where is she now? At his place?” “Oh, no! Never! She’s still on her own. I’m free, she says, and, you know, Prince, she stands firm on it, she says, I’m still completely free! She’s still on the Petersburg side, at my sister-in-law’s, as I wrote to you.”

“As if she was searching all over for something, as if she’d lost something. Even the thought of the forthcoming marriage is loathsome to her, and she takes offense at it. Of him she thinks as much as of an orange peel, not more, or else more, but with fear and horror, she even forbids all mention of him, and they see each other only by necessity … and he feels it all too well! But there’s no avoiding it, sir!… She’s restless, sarcastic, double-tongued, explosive …”

“I was reading the Apocalypse. A lady with a restless imagination, heh, heh! And, besides, I’ve come to the conclusion that she’s much inclined towards serious topics, even unrelated ones. She likes them, likes them, and even takes it as a sign of special respect for her. Yes, sir. And I’m strong on interpreting the Apocalypse and have been doing it for fifteen years. She agreed with me that we live in the time of the third horse, the black one, and the rider with a balance in his hand, because in our time everything is in balances and contracts, and people are all only seeking their rights: ‘A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny …’ And with all that they want to preserve a free spirit, and a pure heart, and a healthy body, and all of God’s gifts. But they can’t do it with rights alone, and there will follow a pale horse and him whose name is Death, and after him Hell 12 … We get together and interpret it and—she’s strongly affected.”

Money reference. Nastassya and eschatology.

“Darya Alexeevna also has a little dacha in Pavlovsk, sir.” “Well?” “And a certain person is friends with her and apparently intends to visit her often in Pavlovsk. With a purpose.” “Well?” “Aglaya Ivanovna …” “Ah, enough, Lebedev!” the prince interrupted with some unpleasant feeling, as if he had been touched on his sore spot. “It’s all … not like that.

As he neared the intersection of Gorokhovaya and Sadovaya, he himself was surprised at his extraordinary agitation; he had never expected that his heart could pound so painfully.

They addressed each other as familiars. In Moscow they had often happened to spend long hours together, and there had even been several moments during their meetings that had left an all too memorable imprint on both their hearts. Now it was over three months since they had seen each other.

We don't even get clear info on what transpires btwn characters in Moscow.

“I don’t know, in the crowd—it even seems to me that I imagined it; I’ve somehow begun to imagine things all the time.

Your house has the physiognomy of your whole family and of your whole Rogozhin life, but ask me why I think that—and I can’t explain it. Nonsense, of course. I’m even afraid of how much it disturbs me. It never occurred to me before that this would be the sort of house you lived in, but when I saw it, I thought at once: ‘Yes, that’s exactly the kind of house he had to have!’ ” “See!” Rogozhin smiled vaguely, not quite understanding the prince’s unclear thought.

“No, he went to church, but it’s true he used to say the old belief was more correct. He also had great respect for the castrates. This was his study. Why did you ask about the old belief?” “Will you celebrate the wedding here?” “Y-yes, here,” replied Rogozhin, almost starting at the sudden question.

This is where he takes the body

“Parfyon, I’m not your enemy and have no intention of hindering you in anything. I repeat it to you now just as I told it to you once before, in a moment almost like this. When your wedding was under way in Moscow, I didn’t hinder you, you know that. The first time it was she who came rushing to me, almost from the foot of the altar, begging me to ‘save’ her from you. I’m repeating her own words. Then she ran away from me, too, and you found her again and led her to the altar, and now they say she ran away from you again and came here. Is that true? Lebedev informed me and that’s why I came.

If it’s completely true that things have been made up again between you, I won’t even allow her a glimpse of me, and I’ll never come to see you either.

The promise the prince goes back on

“When I’m with you, you trust me, and when I’m gone, you immediately stop trusting me and suspect me again. You’re like your father!” the prince said with a friendly smile, trying to conceal his emotion.

“Didn’t she disgrace me in Moscow, with that officer, that Zemtiuzhnikov? I know for sure she did, and that’s after she set the date for the wedding herself.” “It can’t be!” cried the prince. “I know for sure,” Rogozhin said with conviction. “What, she’s not like that, or something? There’s no point, brother, in saying she’s not like that. It’s pure nonsense. With you she wouldn’t be like that, and might be horrified at such a thing herself, but with me that’s just what she’s like. So it is.

“But … how can you marry her now!… How will it be afterwards?” the prince asked in horror. Rogozhin gave the prince a heavy and terrible look and made no reply.

so angry he could kill her...

The other day I stood watch by her gates almost till daylight—I imagined something then. And she must have spied me through the window: ‘What would you do to me,’ she says, ‘if you saw me deceive you?’ I couldn’t stand it and said, ‘You know what.’ ” “What does she know?” “How should I know!” Rogozhin laughed spitefully.

“ ‘I might not even take you as my lackey now,’ she says, ‘much less be your wife.’ ‘And I,’ I say, ‘am not leaving like that, once and for all.’ ‘And I,’ she says, ‘will now call Keller and tell him to throw you out the gate.’ I fell on her and beat her black and blue.”

‘Aha, you yourself say it’s true, that means you, too, may be making vows that “if she marries me, then I’ll remember everything she’s done, then I’ll have fun at her expense!” ’

Then she set a date for the wedding, and a week later she ran away from me here to Lebedev.

“No, I believe you, only I don’t understand any of it. The surest thing of all is that your pity is maybe still worse than my love!”

“Well, your love is indistinguishable from spite,” smiled the prince, “and when it passes, there may be still worse trouble. This I tell you, brother Parfyon …” “That I’ll put a knife in her?” The prince gave a start. “You’ll hate her very much for this present love, for all this torment that you’re suffering now. For me the strangest thing is how she could again decide to marry you. When I heard it yesterday—I could scarcely believe it, and it pained me so. She has already renounced you twice and run away from the altar, which means she has a foreboding!…

‘You have strong passions, Parfyon Semyonovich, such passions as would have sent you flying to Siberia, to hard labor, if you weren’t also intelligent, because you are very intelligent,’ she said

I just said it was a strange riddle for me why she’s marrying you. But though I can’t answer it, all the same I don’t doubt that there’s certainly a sufficient, rational reason for it. She’s convinced of your love; but she’s surely convinced that there are virtues in you as well. It cannot be otherwise!

She says it all right in my face. She’s afraid to ruin and disgrace you, but me she can marry, meaning it doesn’t matter—that’s how she considers me, note that as well!”

torments him w taunts

“This is all jealousy, Parfyon, it’s all illness, you exaggerate it beyond all measure …” the prince murmured in great agitation. “What’s the matter?” “Let it alone,” Parfyon said and quickly snatched from the prince’s hand the little knife he had picked up from the table, next to the book, and put it back where it had been.

Over the door to the next room hung a painting rather strange in form, around six feet wide and no more than ten inches high. It portrayed the Savior just taken down from the cross. The prince glanced fleetingly at it, as if recalling something, not stopping, however, wanting to go on through the door. He felt very oppressed and wanted to be out of this house quickly. But Rogozhin suddenly stopped in front of the painting.

I saw the painting abroad and cannot forget it. But … what’s the matter …” Rogozhin suddenly abandoned the painting and went further on his way. Of course, absentmindedness and the special, strangely irritated mood that had appeared so unexpectedly in Rogozhin might have explained this abruptness; but even so the prince thought it somehow odd that a conversation not initiated by him should be so suddenly broken off, and that Rogozhin did not even answer him.

“But I’ve long wanted to ask you something, Lev Nikolaich: do you believe in God or not?” Rogozhin suddenly began speaking again, after going several steps. “How strangely you ask and … stare!” the prince observed involuntarily. “But I like looking at that painting,” Rogozhin muttered after a silence, as if again forgetting his question. “At that painting!” the prince suddenly cried out, under the impression of an unexpected thought. “At that painting! A man could even lose his faith from that painting!” “Lose it he does,” Rogozhin suddenly agreed unexpectedly. They had already reached the front door.

He’s really a very learned man, and I was glad to be talking with a true scholar. Moreover, he’s a man of rare courtesy, and he talked with me as if I were perfectly equal to him in knowledge and ideas. He doesn’t believe in God. Only one thing struck me: it was as if that was not at all what he was talking about all the while, and it struck me precisely because before, too, however many unbelievers I’ve met, however many books I’ve read on the subject, it has always seemed to me that they were talking or writing books that were not at all about that, though it looked as if it was about that.

In the evening I stopped to spend the night in a provincial hotel where a murder had taken place the night before, so that everyone was talking about it when I arrived. Two peasants, getting on in years, and not drunk, friends who had known each other a long time, had had tea and were both about to go to bed in the same little room. But, during the last two days, one of them had spied the silver watch that the other wore on a yellow bead string, which he had evidently never noticed before. The man was not a thief, he was even honest, and not all that poor as peasant life goes. But he liked the watch so much and was so tempted by it that he finally couldn’t stand it: he pulled out a knife and, while his friend was looking the other way, went up to him cautiously from behind, took aim, raised his eyes to heaven, crossed himself and, after praying bitterly to himself: ‘Lord, forgive me for Christ’s sake!’—killed his friend with one blow, like a sheep, and took his watch.” 20 Rogozhin rocked with laughter. He guffawed as if he was in some sort of fit. It was even strange to look at this laughter coming right after such a gloomy mood. “Now that I like! No, that’s the best yet!” he cried out spasmodically, nearly breathless. “The one doesn’t believe in God at all, and the other believes so much that he even stabs people with a prayer … No, that, brother Prince, couldn’t have been made up! Ha, ha, ha! No, that’s the best yet!…”

I saw a drunken soldier staggering along the wooden sidewalk, all in tatters. He comes up to me: ‘Buy a silver cross, master. I’m asking only twenty kopecks. It’s silver!’ I see a cross in his hand—he must have just taken it off—on a worn light blue ribbon, only it’s a real tin one, you could see it at first glance, big, eight-pointed, of the full Byzantine design. I took out twenty kopecks, gave them to him, and put the cross on at once—and I could see by his face how pleased he was to have duped the foolish gentleman, and he went at once to drink up his cross, there’s no doubt of that. Just then, brother, I was under the strongest impression of all that had flooded over me in Russia; before I understood nothing of it, as if I’d grown up a dumb brute, and I had somehow fantastic memories of it during those five years I spent abroad. So I went along and thought: no, I’ll wait before condemning this Christ-seller. God knows what’s locked away in these drunken and weak hearts.

Listen, Parfyon, you asked me earlier, here is my answer: the essence of religious feeling doesn’t fit in with any reasoning, with any crimes and trespasses, or with any atheisms; there’s something else here that’s not that, and it will eternally be not that; there’s something in it that atheisms will eternally glance off, and they will eternally be talking not about that. But the main thing is that one can observe it sooner and more clearly in a Russian heart, and that is my conclusion!

paranoia and irrationality as national traits

paranoia and irrationality as national traits. the that myshkin refers to is faith. irrationality of faith

more ambiguity about their relationship. like a brother to me in moscow. we only see one day of their interactions and we infer everything else.

“Never fear! Maybe I did take your cross, but I won’t kill you for your watch!” he muttered unintelligibly, suddenly laughing somehow strangely. But suddenly his whole face was transformed: he turned terribly pale, his lips quivered, his eyes lit up. He raised his arms, embraced the prince tightly, and said breathlessly: “Take her, then, if it’s fate! She’s yours! I give her up to you!… Remember Rogozhin!” And, leaving the prince, not even looking at him, he hastily went to his rooms and slammed the door behind him.

For indeed he felt himself in an especially morbid mood that day, almost as he had felt formerly at the onset of the fits of his former illness.

Consequently, if that shop existed and that thing was actually displayed among the goods for sale, it meant he had in fact stopped for that thing. Which meant that the thing had held such strong interest for him that it had attracted his attention even at the very time when he had left the railway station and had been so painfully confused. He walked along, looking to the right almost in anguish, his heart pounding with uneasy impatience. But here was the shop, he had found it at last! He had been five hundred paces away from it when he decided to go back. And here was that object worth sixty kopecks. “Of course, sixty kopecks, it’s not worth more!” he repeated now and laughed. But he laughed hysterically; he felt very oppressed. He clearly recalled now that precisely here, standing in front of this window, he had suddenly turned, as he had earlier, when he had caught Rogozhin’s eyes fixed on him.

But some invincible inner loathing again got the upper hand: he did not want to think anything over, he did not think anything over; he fell to thinking about something quite different.

Reflecting on that moment afterwards, in a healthy state, he had often said to himself that all those flashes and glimpses of a higher self-sense and self-awareness, and therefore of the “highest being,” were nothing but an illness, a violation of the normal state, and if so, then this was not the highest being at all but, on the contrary, should be counted as the very lowest.

And yet he finally arrived at an extremely paradoxical conclusion: “So what if it is an illness?” he finally decided. “Who cares that it’s an abnormal strain, if the result itself, if the moment of the sensation, remembered and examined in a healthy state, turns out to be the highest degree of harmony, beauty, gives a hitherto unheard-of and unknown feeling of fullness, measure, reconciliation, and an ecstatic, prayerful merging with the highest synthesis of life?”

what if illness is just another state of awareness or existence. his attitude is... so what if its an illness

Was he dreaming some sort of abnormal and nonexistent visions at that moment, as from hashish, opium, or wine, which humiliate the reason and distort the soul? He could reason about it sensibly once his morbid state was over.

“At that moment,” as he had once said to Rogozhin in Moscow, when they got together there, “at that moment I was somehow able to understand the extraordinary phrase that time shall be no more. 23 Probably,” he had added, smiling, “it’s the same second in which the jug of water overturned by the epileptic Muhammad did not have time to spill, while he had time during the same second to survey all the dwellings of Allah.”

this last moment before the fit is in keeping with the theme of time before doom. the moments before an execution. different bc it doesnt have that certainty though.

There was a sort of lure in his contemplative state right then. His memories and reason clung to every external object, and he liked that: he kept wanting to forget something present, essential, but with the first glance around him he at once recognized his dark thought again, the thought he had wanted so much to be rid of.

wanting to forget. like tolstoy on tobacco. consciousness clings to things around you.

It at once became terribly disgusting and almost impossible for him to think further about his “sudden idea.” With tormentingly strained attention, he peered into everything his eyes lighted upon, he looked at the sky, at the Neva. He addressed a little child he met. It may have been that his epileptic state was intensifying more and more. The thunderstorm, it seemed, was actually approaching, though slowly.

The strange thing was that he kept coming to his mind as the murderer Lebedev had mentioned when introducing the nephew to him. Yes, he had read about that murderer very recently. He had read and heard a great deal about such things since his arrival in Russia; he followed them persistently. And earlier he had even become much too interested in his conversation with the waiter about that murder of the Zhemarins.

fixation w murder

But another man’s soul is murky, and the Russian soul is murky; it is so for many. Here he had long been getting together with Rogozhin, close together, together in a “brotherly” way—but did he know Rogozhin? And anyhow, what chaos, what turmoil, what ugliness there sometimes is in all that! But even so, what a nasty and all-satisfied little pimple that nephew of Lebedev’s is! But, anyhow, what am I saying? (the prince went on in his reverie).

But anyhow, what was he doing making such a final judgment of them—he who had come only that day, what was he doing passing such verdicts? Lebedev himself had set him a problem today: had he expected such a Lebedev?

And his story today? No, that’s deeper than mere passion. Does her face inspire mere passion? And is that face even capable of inspiring passion now? It inspires suffering, it seizes the whole soul, it … and a burning, tormenting memory suddenly passed through the prince’s heart.

Yes, tormenting. He remembered how he had been tormented recently, when for the first time he began to notice signs of insanity in her. What he experienced then was nearly despair. And how could he abandon her, when she then ran away from him to Rogozhin?

No, Rogozhin was slandering himself; he has an immense heart, which is capable of passion and compassion. When he learns the whole truth and when he becomes convinced of what a pathetic creature this deranged, half-witted woman is—won’t he then forgive her all the past, all his suffering? Won’t he become her servant, her brother, friend, providence?

Compassion is the chief and perhaps the only law of being for all mankind.

And a short time ago, at the Tsarskoe Selo station, when he was getting on the train to go to Aglaya and suddenly saw those eyes again, now for the third time that day—the prince had wanted terribly to go up to Rogozhin and tell him “whose eyes they were”! But he had run out of the station and recovered himself only in front of the cutler’s shop at the moment when he was standing and evaluating at sixty kopecks the cost of a certain object with a staghorn handle.

And now, at the house, he stood on the other side of the street, some fifty steps away, at an angle, on the opposite sidewalk, his arms crossed, and waited. This time he was in full view and it seemed that he

And now, at the house, he stood on the other side of the street, some fifty steps away, at an angle, on the opposite sidewalk, his arms crossed, and waited. This time he was in full view and it seemed that he deliberately wanted to be in view. He stood like an accuser and a judge, and not like … And not like who?

Like jesus. Not like Pilate.

(Oh, how tormented the prince was by the monstrosity, the “humiliation” of this conviction, of “this base foreboding,” and how he blamed himself!) “Say then, if you dare, of what?” he said ceaselessly to himself, in reproach and defiance. “Formulate, dare to express your whole thought, clearly, precisely, without hesitation! Oh, I am dishonorable!” he repeated with indignation and with a red face. “With what eyes am I to look at this man now all my life! Oh, what a day! Oh, God, what a nightmare!”

In this gateway, which was dark to begin with, it was at that moment very dark: the storm cloud came over, swallowing up the evening light, and just as the prince was nearing the house, the cloud suddenly opened and poured down rain. And at the moment when he set off impulsively, after a momentary pause, he was right at the opening of the gateway, right at the entrance to it from the street. And suddenly, in the depths of the gateway, in the semidarkness, just by the door to the stairs, he saw a man. This man seemed to be waiting for something, but flashed quickly and vanished. The prince could not make the man out clearly and, of course, could not tell for certain who he was. Besides, so many people might pass through there. It was a hotel, and there was a constant walking and running up and down the corridors. But he suddenly felt the fullest and most irrefutable conviction that he had recognized the man and that the man was most certainly Rogozhin. A moment later the prince rushed after him into the stairway. His heart stood still. “Now everything will be resolved!” he said to himself with great conviction.

Incidentally: the monster comes regularly every day to inquire after your health, do you know that?” “You call him monster a bit too often, it makes me very suspicious.” “You cannot have any suspicions, not any,” Lebedev hastened to defer. “I only wanted to explain that the certain person is not afraid of him, but of something quite different, quite different.” “But of what? Tell me quickly,” the prince pressed him impatiently, looking at Lebedev’s mysterious grimacing. “That’s the secret.” And Lebedev grinned. “Whose secret?” “Yours. You yourself forbade me, illustrious Prince, to speak in your presence …” Lebedev murmured and, delighted to have brought his listener’s curiosity to the point of morbid impatience, he suddenly concluded: “She’s afraid of Aglaya Ivanovna.”

“Ardalion Alexandrych, my dear!” she called out behind him. “Wait a minute! We’re all sinners; when you’re feeling less remorse of conscience, come and see me, we’ll sit and talk about old times. I myself may well be fifty times more of a sinner than you are; well, good-bye now, go, there’s no point in your …” She was suddenly afraid that he might come back.

In each of Aglaya’s wrathful outbursts (and she was often wrathful), almost each time, despite all her ostensible seriousness and implacability, there showed so much that was still childish, impatiently schoolgirlish and poorly concealed, that it was sometimes quite impossible to look at her without laughing, to the great vexation of Aglaya, incidentally, who could not understand why they laughed and “how could they, how dared they laugh.”

“I don’t understand anything, what’s this about a visor?” Mrs. Epanchin was growing vexed and beginning to have a very good idea of who was meant by the name (probably agreed upon long ago) of the “poor knight.” But she exploded particularly when Prince Lev Nikolaevich also became embarrassed and finally as abashed as a ten-year-old boy. “Will there be no end to this foolishness? Are you going to explain this ‘poor knight’ to me or not? Is there some terrible secret in it that I can’t even go near?” But they all just went on laughing.

I don’t understand why Nikolai Ardalionovich suddenly thought of bringing it all up again. What was funny once, and appropriate, is quite uninteresting now.” “Because there’s some new sort of foolishness implied in it, sarcastic and offensive,” Lizaveta Prokofyevna snapped. “There isn’t any foolishness, only the deepest respect,” Aglaya suddenly declared quite unexpectedly in a grave and serious voice, having managed to recover completely and overcome her former embarrassment.

it could be supposed, looking at her, that she herself was now glad that the joke had gone further and further, and that this turnabout had occurred in her precisely at the moment when the prince’s embarrassment, which was increasing more and more and reaching an extreme degree, had become all too noticeable.

She wants to see the prince squirm. Its the way she assesses character. She also seems to derive a perverse pleasure from it.

this poem directly portrays a man capable of having an ideal and, second, once he has the ideal, of believing in it and, believing in it, of blindly devoting his whole life to it. That doesn’t always happen in our time. In the poem it’s not said specifically what made up the ideal of the ‘poor knight,’ but it’s clear that it was some bright image, ‘an image of pure beauty,’

“Deepest respect,” Aglaia went on as gravely and earnestly in response to her mother’s almost spiteful questions, “because that poem simply describes a man who is capable of an ideal, and what’s more, a man who having once set an ideal before him has faith in it, and having faith in it gives up his life blindly to it. This does not always happen in our day.

it’s clear that that poor knight did not care what his lady was, or what she did. It was enough for him that he had chosen her and put faith in her ‘pure beauty’ and then did homage to her for ever. That’s just his merit, that if she became a thief afterwards, he would still be bound to believe in her and be ready to break a spear for her pure beauty. The poet seems to have meant to unite in one striking figure the grand conception of the platonic love of mediæval chivalry, as it was felt by a pure and lofty knight. Of course all that’s an ideal.

In the ‘poor knight’ that feeling reaches its utmost limit in asceticism. It must be admitted that to be capable of such a feeling means a great deal, and that such feelings leave behind a profound impression, very, from one point of view, laudable, as with Don Quixote, for instance. The ‘poor knight’ is the same Don Quixote, only serious and not comic. I didn’t understand him at first, and laughed, but now I love the ‘poor knight,’ and what’s more, respect his exploits.”

The young man, accompanying the general, was about twenty-eight, tall and well built, with a fine and intelligent face and a humorous and mocking look in his big shining black eyes. Aglaia did not even look round at him. She went on reciting the verses, still affecting to look at no one but Myshkin and addressing him only. He realised that she was doing it all with some object.

In any case Aglaia’s performance—a joke of course, though too ruthless and thoughtless—was premeditated. Every one had been talking (and “laughing”) about the “poor knight” for the last month. And yet as Myshkin recalled afterwards, Aglaia had pronounced those letters without any trace of jest or sneer, without indeed any special emphasis on those letters to suggest their hidden significance. On the contrary, she had uttered those letters with such unchanged gravity, with such innocent and naïve simplicity that one might have supposed that those very letters were in the ballad and printed in the book. Myshkin felt a pang of discomfort and depression.

Aglaia was the only one who looked with perfect composure though with curiosity at Yevgeny Pavlovitch for a moment, as though she were simply trying to decide whether the civilian dress or the military suited him best, but a minute later she turned away and did not look at him again. Lizaveta Prokofyevna, too, did not care to ask any questions, though perhaps she too was rather uneasy. Myshkin fancied that Yevgeny Pavlovitch was not in her good books.

There was not a trace of irony or introspection in his face, nothing but a complete blank conviction of his own rights; and, at the same time, something like a strange and incessant craving to be and feel insulted.


Our scion, wearing gaiters like a foreigner, and shivering in an unlined cloak, arrived about six months ago in Russia from Switzerland, where he had been under treatment for idiocy (sic!).

Myshkin felt, as over-sensitive people often do in such cases; he was so much ashamed of the conduct of others, he felt such shame for his visitors, that for the first moment he was ashamed to look at them.

That’s why we’ve come here without any fear of being turned out into the street (as you’ve threatened just now) because we don’t beg but demand, and because of the impropriety of our visit at such a late hour (though we didn’t come at a late hour, but you kept us waiting in the servants’ room). We

“We demand, we demand, we demand, we don’t beg,” Burdovsky gabbled thickly and turned red as a crab.

I hope you, prince, are progressive enough not to deny that. . . .” “I am not going to deny anything, but you must admit that your article . . .” “Is severe, you mean? But you know it’s for the public benefit, so to say, and, besides, how can one let such a flagrant case pass? So much the worse for the guilty, but the public benefit before everything.

“The son is not responsible for the immoral conduct of his father and the mother is not to blame,” Ippolit shrieked hotly. “All the more reason for sparing her, I should have thought,” Myshkin ventured timidly. “You are not simply naïve, prince, you go beyond that, perhaps,” Lebedyev’s nephew sneered spitefully. “And what right had you!” Ippolit squeaked in a most unnatural voice. “None whatever, none whatever,” Myshkin hurriedly put in.

Burdovsky - Force representing emotion and irrational anger

“Why, in the first place, I’ve had time to see clearly what Mr. Burdovsky is myself, I see now myself what he is. . . . He is an innocent man, taken in by every one! A helpless man . . . and therefore I ought to spare him, and in the second place, Gavril Ardalionovitch—to whom the case has been entrusted and from whom I heard nothing for a long time, because I was travelling, and afterwards was for three days ill in Petersburg—has just now, an hour ago, at our first interview, told me that he has seen through Tchebarov’s schemes, that he has proofs, and that Tchebarov is just what I took him to be.

Myshkin sat down and succeeded in making Burdovsky and his friends, who had leapt up from their seats, sit down again. For the last ten or twenty minutes he had been talking eagerly and loudly, with impatient haste, carried away and trying to talk above the rest, and he couldn’t of course help bitterly regretting afterwards some assumptions and some phrases that escaped him now. If he hadn’t himself been worked up and roused almost beyond control, he would not have allowed himself so baldly and hurriedly to utter aloud certain conjectures and unnecessarily candid statements. He had no sooner sat down in his place than a burning remorse set his heart aching. Besides the fact that he had “insulted” Burdovsky by so publicly assuming that he had suffered from the same disease for which he himself had been treated in Switzerland, the offer of the ten thousand that had been destined for a school had been made to his thinking coarsely and carelessly, like a charity, and just because it had been spoken of aloud before people. “I ought to have waited and offered it to him to-morrow, alone,” Myshkin thought at once, “now, perhaps, there will be no setting it right! Yes, I am an idiot, a real idiot!” he decided in a paroxysm of shame and extreme distress.

I have collected some well-authenticated facts to prove that your father, Mr. Burdovsky, who was anything but a business man, gave up his post on receiving your mother’s dowry of fifteen thousand roubles, entered upon commercial speculations, was deceived, lost his capital, took to drink to drown his grief, and fell ill in consequence and finally died prematurely, eight years after marrying your mother.

she does not know (I concealed it from her too) that you, her son, were dominated by this idea. I found your much respected mother, Mr. Burdovsky, in Pskov, ill and extremely poor, as she has been ever since the death of Pavlishtchev. She told me with tears of gratitude that she was only supported by you and your help. She expects a great deal of you in the future, and believes earnestly in your future success . . .” “This is really insupportable!” Lebedyev’s nephew exclaimed loudly and impatiently. “What’s the object of this romance?” “It’s disgusting, it’s unseemly!” said Ippolit with an abrupt movement. But Burdovsky noticed nothing and did not stir.

“I shall go out of my mind here!” cried Madame Epanchin. “It reminds me,” laughed Yevgeny Pavlovitch, who had long been standing there watching, “of the celebrated defence made recently by a lawyer who, bringing forward in justification the poverty of his client as an excuse for his having murdered and robbed six people at once, suddenly finished up with something like this: ‘It was natural,’ said he, ‘that in my client’s poverty the idea of murdering six people should have occurred to him; and to whom indeed would it not have occurred in his position?’ Something of that sort, very amusing.” “Enough!” Lizaveta Prokofyevna announced suddenly, almost shaking with anger. “It’s time to cut short this nonsense.” She was in terrible excitement; she flung back her head menacingly, and with flashing eyes and an air of haughty, fierce, and impatient defiance, she scanned the whole party, scarcely able at the moment to distinguish between friends and foes.

“ ‘It’s my fault,’ says he, ‘for daring to offer you a fortune.’ . . . And what are you pleased to be laughing at, you braggart?” she pounced suddenly on Lebedyev’s nephew.” ‘We refuse the fortune,’ says he, ‘we demand, we don’t ask!’ As though he didn’t know that this idiot will trail off to-morrow to them to offer his friendship and his money to them again. You will, won’t you? You will? Will you or not?” “I shall,” said Myshkin, in a soft and humble voice. “You hear! So that’s what you are reckoning on,” she turned again to Doktorenko. “The money is as good as in your pocket, that’s why you boast and try to impress us. . . . No, my good man, you can find other fools, I see through you. . . . I see all your game!”

The girls stood on one side, almost scared, General Epanchin was genuinely alarmed, every one present was amazed. Some of those standing furthest away whispered together and smiled on the sly; Lebedyev’s face wore an expression of perfect rapture.

Lunatics! They regard society as savage and inhuman, because it cries shame on the seduced girl; but if you think society inhuman, you must think that the girl suffers from the censure of society, and if she does, how is it you expose her to society in the newspapers and expect her not to suffer? Lunatics! Vain creatures! They don’t believe in God, they don’t believe in Christ!

But I know you, you are good-natured, the prince is good-natured too . . . we are all ridiculously good-natured people.” Myshkin made haste to give orders. Lebedyev flew headlong out of the room, Vera ran after him. “That’s true,” Madame Epanchin decided abruptly, “talk, only quietly, don’t get excited. You’ve softened my heart. . . . Prince! You don’t deserve that I should drink tea with you, but so be it, I’ll stay, though I am not going to apologise to any one!

“He was saying that this clown here, your landlord . . . corrected the article for this gentleman, the one they read this evening about you.” Myshkin looked at Lebedyev in surprise. “Why don’t you speak?” cried Lizaveta Prokofyevna, stamping her foot. “Well,” muttered Myshkin, scanning Lebedyev, “I see now that he did.” “Is it true?” Lizaveta Prokofyevna turned quickly to Lebedyev. “It’s the holy truth, your excellency,” answered Lebedyev firmly, without hesitation, laying his hand on his heart. “He seems to be proud of it!” she cried, nearly jumping up from her chair. “I am a poor creature,” muttered Lebedyev. His head sank lower and lower, and he began to smite himself on the breast. “What do I care if you are a poor creature? He thinks he’ll get out of it by saying he is a poor creature! And aren’t you ashamed, prince, to have to do with such contemptible people, I ask you once again? I shall never forgive you!” “The prince will forgive me,” said Lebedyev sentimentally and with conviction.

“I’ve heard a great deal about you of the same sort of thing . . . with great pleasure. . . . I’ve learnt to respect you extremely,” Ippolit went on. He said one thing, but said it as though he meant something quite different by the words. He spoke with a shade of mockery; yet, at the same time, was unaccountably excited. He looked about him uneasily. He was obviously muddled, and lost the thread of what he was saying at every word. All this, together with his consumptive appearance and strange, glittering, and almost frenzied eyes, could not fail to hold the general attention.

and everything you’ve said just now, and with such unmistakable talent, amounts in my opinion to the theory of the triumph of right before everything and setting everything aside, and even to the exclusion of everything else, and perhaps even before finding out what that right consists in. Perhaps I am mistaken.” “Of course you are mistaken; I don’t even understand you. . . . Further?” There was a murmur in the corner, too. Lebedyev’s nephew was muttering something in an undertone. “Why, scarcely anything further,” Yevgeny Pavlovitch went on. “I only meant to observe that from that position one may easily make a jump to the right of might, that is, to the right of the individual fist and of personal caprice, as indeed has often happened in the history of the world.

he would remember and talk with complete consciousness, chiefly in disconnected phrases which he had perhaps thought out and learnt by heart in the long weary hours of his illness, in his bed, in sleepless solitude.

I’ve lain so much on that pillow and looked out of that window and thought so much . . . about every one . . . that . . . a dead man has no age, you know. I thought that last week when I woke up in the night. . . .

Suddenly Ippolit got up, horribly pale and with an expression of terrible, almost despairing, shame on his distorted face. It was expressed chiefly in his eyes, which looked with fear and hatred at the company, and in the vacant, twisted, and abject grin on his quivering lips. He dropped his eyes at once and strolled, staggering and still with the same smile, up to Burdovsky and Doktorenko, who were standing at the verandah steps; he was going away with them. “Ah, that’s what I was afraid of!” cried Myshkin; “that was bound to happen!” Ippolit turned quickly to him with frenzied anger, and every feature in his face seemed to be quivering and speaking. “Ah, you were afraid of that, were you? That was bound to happen, you say? Then let me tell you, if I hate anyone here,” he yelled, spluttering, with a hoarse shriek, “I hate you all, every one of you!—it’s you, Jesuitical, treacly soul, idiot, philanthropic millionaire; I hate you more than every one and everything in the world!

Here he choked completely. “He is ashamed of his tears,” Lebedyev whispered to Lizaveta Prokofyevna. “That was bound to happen. Bravo, the prince! he saw right through him.”

Hard to understand whats happening because everything is ambiguous. What is Dostoyevsky trying to show us or tell us?

Myshkin smiled at her with a bewildered face. Suddenly a rapid, excited whisper seemed to scorch his ear. “If you don’t throw up these nasty people at once, I shall hate you all my life, all my life!” Aglaia whispered to him.

To Myshkin’s sensitiveness it went on gaining in significance during those three days (and of late he had blamed himself for two extremes, for his excessive “senseless and impertinent” readiness to trust people and at the same time for his gloomy suspiciousness).

As though I could suppose you had anything to do with an affair of that kind! But you are out of sorts to-day.” He embraced and kissed him. “Had anything to do with an affair of what ‘kind’? I don’t see that it is an ‘affair of that kind.’ ” “There is no doubt that person wished to damage Yevgeny Pavlovitch in some way by attributing to him in the eyes of those present qualities which he has not and cannot have,” Prince S. answered rather drily. Myshkin was confused, yet he continued to gaze steadily and inquiringly at Prince S.; but the latter did not speak. “And weren’t there simply bills? Wasn’t it literally as she said yesterday?” Myshkin muttered at last in a sort of impatience.

But now it had become clear. Prince S., of course, put a mistaken interpretation on the incident, but still he was not far from the truth; he realised, anyway, that there was an intrigue in it. (“Perhaps though, he understands it quite correctly,” thought Myshkin, “but only does not want to speak out, and so puts a false interpretation on it on purpose.”) What was clearer than anything was that they had come to see him just now (Prince S. certainly had) in the hope of getting some sort of explanation. If that were so, then they plainly looked on him as being concerned in the intrigue. Besides, if this were so and really were of consequence, then she must have some dreadful object. What object? Horrible! “And how’s one to stop her? There is no possibility of stopping her when she is determined on her object.”

As she was going, she added that Lizaveta Prokofyevna was in a fiendish temper to-day; but, what was most odd, Aglaia had quarrelled with her whole family, not only her father and mother, but even with her two sisters, and “that was anything but a good sign.” After giving him, as it were in passing, this last piece of news (which was of extreme importance to Myshkin), the brother and sister departed.

He longed to think over and decide upon one step. Yet that “step” was not one of those that can be thought over, but one of those which are simply decided upon without deliberation. A terrible longing came upon him to leave everything here and to go back to the place from which he had come, to go away into the distance to some remote region, to go away at once without even saying good-bye to any one.

He had a foreboding that if he remained here even a few days longer he would be drawn into this world irrevocably and that his life would be bound up with it for ever. But he did not consider it for ten minutes; he decided at once that it would be “impossible” to run away, that it would be almost cowardice, that he was faced with such difficulties that it was his duty now to solve them, or at least to do his utmost to solve them. Absorbed in such thoughts, he returned home after a walk of less than a quarter of an hour. He was utterly unhappy at that moment.

the passion. garden of gesthemane. wanting to run away from the people who need saving. willingness to sacriice his life for theirs by getting bound up. as though every person needs a personal savior... cat be one person. one must sacrifice only for one. no one can sacrifice for all.

But suddenly, almost at the first word, he skipped to the conclusion and announced that he had so completely lost “every trace of morality” (solely through lack of faith in the Almighty) that he had positively become a thief. “Can you fancy that!” “Listen, Keller. If I were in your place I wouldn’t confess that without special need,” Myshkin began. “But perhaps you make things up against yourself on purpose?”

Myshkin began at last to feel not exactly sorry for him, but, as it were, vaguely ill at ease on his account. It occurred to him to wonder, indeed, whether anything could be made of the man by any good influence.

Second instance of this feeling. On the veranda he felt the same embarrassment for the whole party. (??)

His own influence he considered for various reasons quite unsuitable; and this was not due to self-depreciation, but to a peculiar way of looking at things. By degrees they got into talk, so much so that they did not want to part. Keller, with extraordinary readiness, confessed to actions of which it seemed inconceivable any one could be willing to speak. At every fresh story he asserted positively that he was penitent and “full of tears”; yet he told it as though he were proud of his action, and sometimes too so absurdly that he and Myshkin laughed at last like madmen. “The great thing is that you have a sort of childlike trustfulness and extraordinary truthfulness,” said Myshkin at last.

“Can you really have more to add?” Myshkin brought out, with timid wonder. “Then tell me, please, what did you expect of me, Keller, and why have you come to me with your confession?” “From you? What did I expect? In the first place, it is pleasant to watch your simplicity; it’s nice to sit and talk to you. I know there is a really virtuous person before me, anyway; and, secondly . . . secondly . . .” He was confused.

Of course, in the long run my object was to borrow money; but you ask me about it as if you saw nothing reprehensible in that, as though it were just as it should be.” “Yes . . . from you it is just as it should be.” “And you’re not indignant?” “No. . . . Why?”

As though the prince has resolved that he is who he is. That Myshkin cannot change him. That he simply does these unpleasant things because it is hard wired to happen in his nature.

a hellish thought occurred to me: ‘Why not, when all’s said and done, borrow money of him after my confession?’ So that I prepared my confession, so to say, as though it were a sort of ‘fricassee with tears for sauce,’ to pave the way with those tears so that you might be softened and fork out one hundred and fifty roubles. Don’t you think that was base?” “But most likely that’s not true; it’s simply both things came at once. The two thoughts came together; that often happens. It’s constantly so with me. I think it’s not a good thing, though; and, do you know, Keller, I reproach myself most of all for it. You might have been telling me about myself just now. I have sometimes even fancied,” Myshkin went on very earnestly, genuinely and profoundly interested, “that all people are like that; so that I was even beginning to excuse myself because it is awfully difficult to struggle against these double thoughts; I’ve tried. God knows how they arise and come into one’s mind. But you call it simply baseness! Now, I’m beginning to be afraid of those thoughts again. Anyway, I am not your judge.

As for the money, you want it for riotous living, don’t you? And after such a confession, that’s feebleness, of course. But yet how are you to give up riotous living all in a minute? That’s impossible, I know. What’s to be done? It had better be left to your own conscience, don’t you think?”

“Well, to you, only to you, I will tell the truth, because you see through a man. Words and deeds and lies and truth are all mixed up in me and are perfectly sincere. Deeds and truth come out in my genuine penitence, I swear it, whether you believe it or not; and words and lies in the hellish (and always present) craving to get the better of a man, to make something even out of one’s tears of penitence. It is so, by God! I wouldn’t tell another man—he’d laugh or curse. But you, prince, judge humanely.”

The prince as a humane judge. Isn't humaneness a contrast to judgement? Vengeance and justice. Mercy is the opposite of justice. Mercy mistaken for simple minded idiocy. People judge Myshkin as stupid mainly by his merciful actions.

I am very sorry for Varya. I am sorry for Ganya. . . . No doubt they have always got some intrigues in hand; they can’t get on without it. I never could make out what they were hatching, and I don’t want to know. But I assure you, my dear, kind prince, that Ganya has a heart. He’s a lost soul in many respects, no doubt, but he has points on other sides worth finding out, and I shall never forgive myself for not having understood him before. . . .

“I daresay he’d have come of himself and made a tearful confession on your bossom! Ach, you’re a simpleton, a simpleton! Every one deceives you like a . . . like a . . . And aren’t you ashamed to trust him? Surely you must see that he’s cheating you all round?” “I know very well he does deceive me sometimes,” Myshkin brought out reluctantly in a low voice, “and he knows that I know it . . .” and he broke off.

he knows ganyas nature and has from the very beginning. gaya was humiliated by the prince and humiliated the prince himself. yet... there doesnt seem to be any acknowledgement of that by myshkin

Oh, what a child you are, Lizaveta Prokofyevna!” “Do you want me to slap you at last?” “No, not at all. But because you’re glad of the note and conceal it. Why are you ashamed of your feelings? You’re like that in everything.”

“Come along! At once! It must be at once, this minute!” she cried in an access of extraordinary excitement and impatience. “But you’re exposing me to . . .” “To what? You innocent ninny! You’re not like a man! Well, now I shall see it all for myself, with my own eyes.”

“Come along! At once! It must be at once, this minute!” she cried in an access of extraordinary excitement and impatience. “But you’re exposing me to . . .” “To what? You innocent ninny! You’re not like a man! Well, now I shall see it all for myself, with my own eyes.” “But you might let me take my hat, anyway. . . .” “Here’s your horrid hat! Come along! Can’t even choose his clothes with taste! . . .

“I stood up for you just now—said aloud you were a fool not to come. . . . But for that, she wouldn’t have written such a senseless note! An improper note! Improper, for a well-bred, well-brought-up, clever girl! Hm!” she went on, “Or . . . or perhaps . . . perhaps she was vexed herself at your not coming, only she didn’t consider that it wouldn’t do to write like that to an idiot, because he’d take it literally, as he has done. Why are you listening?”

Part 3

There’s no doubt that diffidence and complete lack of initiative have always been considered the chief sign of a practical man, and indeed are so regarded still. But why blame ourselves only—if this opinion is regarded as an accusation? From the beginning, all the world over, lack of originality has been reckoned the chief characteristic and best recommendation of an active, businesslike and practical man, and at least ninety-nine per cent. of mankind—and that’s a low estimate—have always held that opinion, and at most one per cent. looks at it differently.

If, for instance, for scores of years, everybody had been putting their money into a bank and millions had been invested in it at 4 per cent., and then the bank ceased to exist and people were left to their own initiative, the greater part of those millions would infallibly be lost in wild speculation or in the hands of swindlers—and in fact this is only in accordance with the dictates of propriety and decorum. Yes, decorum; if a proper diffidence and decorous lack of originality have been universally accepted as the essential characteristics of a practical man and a gentleman, a sudden transformation would be quite ungentlemanly and almost indecent. What tender and devoted mother wouldn’t be dismayed and ill with terror at her son’s or daughter’s stepping one hair’s-breath off the beaten track. “No, better let him be happy and live in comfort without originality,” is what every mother thinks as she rocks the cradle.

Of late Lizaveta Prokofyevna had begun to blame herself alone and her “unfortunate” character for this state of affairs, which increased her distress. She was continually reproaching herself with being “a silly and eccentric old woman who didn’t know how to behave,” and she worried over imaginary troubles, was in a continual state of perplexity, was at a loss how to act in the most ordinary contingencies, and always magnified every misfortune.

But her chief and continual anxiety was Aglaia. “She is exactly, exactly like me, the very picture of me in every respect,” the mother used to say to herself. “Self-willed, horrid little imp! Nihilist, eccentric, mad and spiteful, spiteful, spiteful! Good Lord, how unhappy she will be!”

Anyway, she had suddenly become such a delightful girl; and how handsome she was—mercy on us, how handsome! She grew more beautiful day by day. And here . . . And here this wretched little prince, this miserable little idiot, had hardly made his appearance and everything was in a turmoil again, everything in the house was topsy-turvy. What had happened, though?

And why is it she doesn’t make fun of him now? She declared she’d make fun of him and now she doesn’t! There she is, gazing at him, all eyes; she doesn’t speak, she doesn’t go away, she stands there, yet she told him not to come herself. . . . He sits there quite pale. And that confounded chatterbox, Yevgeny Pavlovitch, keeps the whole conversation to himself. How he does run on!—doesn’t let one get a word in edgeways. I could have found out everything at once, if I could only turn the conversation on it. . . .”

As, of all Russian writers, these three are the only ones that have so far been able to say something of their own, something not borrowed, they have by this fact become national. Any Russian who says or writes or does anything of his own—something original, not borrowed—inevitably becomes national, even if he can’t speak Russian properly. That I regard as an axiom.

Well, my fact is that Russian Liberalism is not an attack on the existing order of things, but is an attack on the very essence of things, on the things themselves, not merely on the order of things; not on the Russian régime, but on Russia itself. My Liberal goes so far as to deny even Russia itself, that is, he hates and beats his own mother.

“I ought to say, too, that I have been very little with Liberals and seen very little of them,” said Myshkin, “but I fancy that you may be partly right and that the sort of Russian Liberalism of which you are speaking really is disposed to hate Russia itself, not only its institutions. Of course, this is only partly true . . . of course, this cannot be true of all.” He broke off in confusion. In spite of his excitement, he was greatly interested in the conversation. One of Myshkin’s striking characteristics was the extraordinary naïveté of the attention, with which he always listened to anything that interested him, and of the answers he gave when any one asked him questions.

has trouble deciding and forming his own opinions. truble thinking for himself. too empathetic.

“What do you think, prince?” Yevgeny Pavlovitch went on, not listening, but catching Myshkin’s earnest and interested eyes fixed on him. “Does it seem to you to be an individual case or typical? I’ll own it was on your account I thought of the question.” “No, not individual,” Myshkin said gently but firmly. “Upon my word, Lyov Nikolayevitch,” cried Prince S. with some vexation, “don’t you see that he is trying to catch you? He is certainly in fun and he means to make game of you.” “I thought Yevgeny Pavlovitch was in earnest,” said Myshkin, blushing and dropping his eyes. “My dear prince,” Prince S. went on, “remember what we were talking about once, three months ago; you said that one could point to so many remarkable and talented lawyers in our new-established law courts, and how many highly remarkable verdicts had been given by the juries! How pleased you were about it, and how pleased I was at the time seeing your pleasure! We said that we had a right to be proud. . . . And this inept defence, this strange argument, is, of course, a casual exception, the one among thousands.” Myshkin thought a moment, but with an air of perfect conviction, though speaking softly and even, it seemed, timidly, he answered: “I only meant to say that a perversion of ideas and conceptions—as Yevgeny Pavlovitch expressed it—is very often to be met with, is, unhappily, far more the general rule than an exceptional case. And so much so that if this perversion were not such a general phenomenon, perhaps there would not be such impossible crimes as these. . . .”

moreof this sentiment of myshkins that things are what hey are. the general case is that of perversion. which raises the interesting question... wat role does the general sentiment play in deciding that something is normal or perverse?

I tell you what I noticed: that the most hardened and unrepentant murderer knows all the same that he is a ‘criminal,’ that is, he considers in his conscience that he has acted wrongly, even though he is unrepentant. And every one of them was like that; while those of whom Yevgeny Pavlovitch was speaking refuse even to consider themselves as criminals and think that they are in the right and . . . that they have even acted well—it almost comes to that. That’s, to my thinking, where the terrible difference lies.

crime and punishment. it is the punishment that atones for the crime. suffering redeems. the lack of guilt is what makes a crime heinous.

“I remember that he bragged a lot of that wall,” Yevgeny Pavlovitch put in again. “He can’t die eloquently without that wall, and he is very anxious for an eloquent death-scene.” “What of it?” muttered Myshkin. “If you won’t forgive him, he’ll die without your forgiveness. . . . Now he has come here for the sake of the trees.”

resignedness toward death. it happens without forgiveness anyway. lack of forgiveness is small in relation to or n contrast to nature and events. as if we could change someones mind or change some action or event by behaving indignantly.

“That’s not the way to take it,” Myshkin answered softly and, as it were, reluctantly, looking at one spot on the floor and not raising his eyes. “You ought to be ready to receive his forgiveness too.” “How do I come in? What wrong have I done him?” “If you don’t understand, then . . . But you do understand; he wanted . . . to bless you all then and to receive your blessing, that was all.” “Dear prince,” Prince S. hastened to interpose somewhat apprehensively, exchanging glances with some of the others, “it’s not easy to reach paradise on earth, but you reckon on finding it; paradise is a difficult matter, prince, much more difficult than it seems to your good heart. We had better drop the subject, or else we may all feel uncomfortable too and then . . .”

people telling him like it is. everyone sees t as their responsibility to teach myshkin the ways of the world.

“I see that you are perhaps more ashamed of me than any one, Yevgeny Pavlovitch. You are blushing; that’s the sign of a good heart. I’m going away directly, you may be sure of that.” “What’s the matter with him? Do his fits begin like this?” Lizaveta Prokofyevna asked Kolya in alarm. “Don’t be uneasy, Lizaveta Prokofyevna. I’m not in a fit, and I’m just going. I know that I am . . . afflicted. I’ve been ill for twenty-four years, from my birth till I was twenty-four years old. You must take what I say as from a sick man now. I’m going directly—directly. You may be sure of that. I’m not ashamed; for it would be strange to be ashamed of that, wouldn’t it? But I’m out of place in society. . . . I’m not speaking from wounded vanity. . . . I’ve been reflecting during these three days and I’ve made up my mind that I ought to explain things sincerely and honourably to you at the first opportunity. There are ideas, very great ideas, of which I ought not to begin to speak, because I should be sure to make every one laugh. Prince S. has warned me of that very thing just now. . . . My gestures are unsuitable. I’ve no right sense of proportion. My words are incongruous, not befitting the subject, and that’s a degradation for those ideas. And so I have no right. . . . Besides, I’m morbidly sensitive. . . . I am certain that no one would hurt my feelings in this house, and that I am more loved here than I deserve. But I know (I know for certain) that twenty years’ illness must leave traces, so that it’s impossible not to laugh at me . . . sometimes. . . . It is so, isn’t it?”

“There’s not one person here who is worth such words,” Aglaia burst out. “There’s no one here, no one, who is worth your little finger, nor your mind, nor your heart! You are more honourable than any of them, nobler, better, kinder, cleverer than any of them! Some of them are not worthy to stoop to pick up the handkerchief you have just dropped. . . . Why do you humble yourself and put yourself below them? Why do you distort everything in yourself? Why have you no pride?”

“Be silent! . . . How dare they insult me in your house!” cried Aglaia, suddenly flying out at her mother. She was by now in that hysterical state when no line is drawn and no check regarded. “Why do you all torture me, every one of you? Why have they been pestering me for the last three days on your account, prince? Nothing will induce me to marry you! Let me tell you that I never will on any consideration. Understand that. As though one could marry an absurd creature like you! Look at yourself in the looking-glass, what do you look like standing there? Why, why do they tease me and say I’m going to marry you? You ought to know that. You are in the plot with them too!” “No one has ever teased you about it,” muttered Adelaïda in alarm. “No one has ever thought of such a thing. No one has said a word about it!” cried Alexandra. “Who has been teasing her? When has she been teased? Who can have said such a thing? Is she raving?” Lizaveta Prokofyevna addressed the room, quivering with anger.

“I meant to say . . . I meant to say,” faltered Myshkin, “I only wanted to explain to Aglaia Ivanovna . . . to have the honour to make clear to her that I had no intention . . . to have the honour of asking for her hand . . . at any time. It’s not my fault—it’s not my fault indeed, Aglaia Ivanovna. I’ve never wanted to, it never entered my head. I never shall want to, you’ll see that for yourself. Be sure of that. Some spiteful person must have slandered me to you. Don’t worry about it!”

Yevgeny Pavlovitch’s friend asked a question, but Myshkin either did not answer or mumbled something so strangely to himself that the officer stared at him, then glanced at Yevgeny Pavlovitch, at once saw why the introduction had been made, smiled slightly and turned to Aglaia again. Only Yevgeny Pavlovitch noticed that Aglaia suddenly flushed at this. Myshkin did not even observe that other people were talking and paying attention to Aglaia. He was perhaps at moments even unconscious that he was sitting beside her. Sometimes he longed to get away, to vanish from here altogether. He would have been positively glad to be in some gloomy, deserted place, only that he might be alone with his thoughts and no one might know where he was. Or at least to be at home in the verandah, with no one else there, not Lebedyev nor the children; to throw himself on the sofa and bury his head in the pillow, and to lie like that for a day and a night and another day. At moments he dreamed of the mountains, and especially one familiar spot which he always liked to think of, a spot to which he had been fond of going and from which he used to look down on the village, on the waterfall gleaming like a white thread below, on the white clouds and the old ruined castle. Oh, how he longed to be there now, and to think of one thing!—oh, of nothing else for his whole life, and a thousand years would not be too long! And let him be utterly forgotten here. Oh, that must be! It would have been better indeed if they had never known him, and if it had all been only a dream. And wasn’t it just the same, dream and reality?

Among our suburban places of resort there are, of course, some distinguished for exceptional respectability and enjoying a particularly good reputation. But even the most cautious person may sometimes be struck by a tile from a neighbour’s roof. Such a tile was now about to fall on the decorous public who had gathered to listen to the band.

But even the impression made by the photograph was, he remembered, extremely painful. That month in the provinces, when he had been seeing her almost every day, had had a fearful effect upon him, so much so that he sometimes tried to drive away all recollection of it. There was something which always tortured him in the very face of this woman. Talking to Rogozhin, he had put down this sensation to his infinite pity for her, and that was the truth. That face, even in the photograph, had roused in him a perfect agony of pity: the feeling of compassion and even of suffering over this woman never left his heart, and it had not left it now.

Words had been lacking which might have expressed horror—yes, horror. Now at this moment he felt it fully. He was certain, he was fully convinced for reasons of his own, that that woman was mad. If, loving a woman more than anything in the world, or foreseeing the possibility of loving her thus, one were suddenly to see her in chains behind an iron grating and beneath the rod of a prison warder, one would feel something like what Myshkin felt at that moment.

The only effect of that conclusion was to intensify the mystery. Though the girls were secretly somewhat indignant with their mother for her extreme alarm and too conspicuous flight, yet they did not venture to worry her with questions during the first shock of the disturbance. Moreover, something made them fancy that their sister Aglaia knew more of the matter than their mother and all of them put together.

aglaia being pulled in many directions. parents think marriage will solve probs. it vreates them.

The bullets, I’m told, people make themselves somehow. Have you pistols?” “No, and I don’t want them,” laughed Myshkin.

“I was looking for you, prince. I’ve been watching for you by the Epanchins’. Of course, I couldn’t go in. I walked behind you while you were with the general. I am at your service, prince, you may dispose of me. I am ready for any sacrifice, even death, if need be.”

Are you going to sleep tonight?” “As I do every night, prince.” “Well, pleasant dreams, then. Ha-ha!” Myshkin crossed the road and vanished into the park, leaving Keller somewhat perplexed. He had never yet seen Myshkin in such a strange mood, and could not have imagined him like this.

It was a soft, warm, clear night—a Petersburg night in early June, but in the thick shady avenue where he was sitting it was almost dark. If anyone had told him at that moment that he had fallen in love, that he was passionately in love, he would have rejected the idea with surprise and perhaps with indignation. And if anyone had added that Aglaia’s letter was a love-letter, arranging a tryst with a lover, he would have been hotly ashamed of such a man, and would perhaps have challenged him to a duel. All this was perfectly sincere, and he never once doubted it, or admitted the slightest “double” thought of a possibility of the girl’s loving him or even of his loving her.

Myshkin fancied soon that there was nothing studied about him, nor even any special embarrassment. If there were any awkwardness in his gestures and words, it was only on the surface. The man could not change at heart.

Why do you turn away from me? Why do you hide your hand? I tell you, I look upon all that happened then simply as madness. I understand what you were feeling, that day, as though it were myself.

Why should there be anger between us?” “As though you could feel anger!” Rogozhin laughed again, in response to Myshkin’s sudden and heated speech.

“I don’t like you, Lyov Nikolayevitch, so why should I come and see you! Ah, prince, you’re like a child; you want a plaything, and you must have it at once, but you don’t understand things. You are saying just what you wrote in your letter. Do you suppose I don’t believe you? I believe every word—you never have deceived me, and never will in the future. But I don’t like you all the same.

“Why, perhaps I’ve never once repented of it, while you’ve already sent me your brotherly forgiveness. Perhaps I was already thinking of something else that evening, but about that. . . .”

Perhaps even if you wanted to, you couldn’t regret it, because you don’t like me, besides. And if I were like an innocent angel to you, you’d still detest me so long as you think she loves me and not you. That must be jealousy. But I’ve thought something about that this week, Parfyon, and I’ll tell it you. Do you know that she may love you now more than anyone, and in such a way that the more she torments you, the more she loves you?

Do you know that a woman is capable of torturing a man with her cruelty and mockery without the faintest twinge of conscience, because she’ll think every time she looks at you: ‘I’m tormenting him to death now, but I’ll make up for it with my love, later.’ ”

Rogozhin laughed, as he listened to Myshkin. “But, I say, prince, have you come in for the same treatment? I’ve heard something of the sort about you, if it’s true.”

aglaya and nastassya are like two doubles of the same woman.

aglaya and nastassya are like two doubles of the same woman. and rogozhinand myshkin are like doubles of the same man.

I can’t make out what it means, and I never have understood: she either loves you beyond all reckoning, or . . . if she does love you, why does she want to marry you to some one else? She says, ‘I want to see him happy,’ so she must love you.”

“Ach! Lyov Nikolayevitch! You’ve only gone a little way along that path, as far as I can see. You’re only beginning. Wait a bit: you’ll keep your own detectives yet and be on the watch day and night too; and know of every step she takes, if only. . . .”

women like n and a encourae paranoia?

I have my own reasons for not letting them suspect that we’re talking apart for some object. There are people here who are very inquisitive about our relations with one another. Don’t you know that, prince?

myshkin cant see peoples intentions.

“That you have come to get something out of me I have no doubt,” said Myshkin, laughing too at last, “and perhaps you have planned to deceive me a little, too. But what of it?

I’d have brought you a present. . . . Ha-ha! But perhaps I have brought you a present! Is it long till daylight?”

papers about the English Parliament. I don’t mean what they discuss (I’m not a politician, you know), but I like the way they speak to one another, and behave like politicians, so to speak: ‘the noble viscount sitting opposite,’ ‘the noble earl who is upholding my view,’ ‘my honourable opponent who has amazed Europe by his proposal’—all those expressions, all this parliamentarism of a free people, that’s what’s so fascinating to people like us. I’m enchanted, prince. I’ve always been an artist at the bottom of my soul; I swear I have, Yevgeny Pavlovitch.”

Yes, sir, the law of self-destruction and the law of self-preservation are equally strong in humanity! The devil has equal dominion over humanity till the limit of time which we know not. You laugh? You don’t believe in the devil? Disbelief in the devil is a French idea, a frivolous idea. Do you know who the devil is? Do you know his name?

“Not railway communication, young but impetuous youth, but all that tendency of which railways may serve, so to speak, as the artistic pictorial expression. They hurry with noise, clamour and haste, for the happiness of humanity, they tell us. ‘Mankind has grown too noisy and commercial; there is little spiritual peace,’ one secluded thinker has complained. ‘So be it; but the rumble of the waggons that bring bread to starving humanity is better, maybe, than spiritual peace,’ another thinker, who is always moving among his fellows, answers him triumphantly, and walks away from him conceitedly.

But, vile as I am, I don’t believe in the waggons that bring bread to humanity. For the waggons that bring bread to humanity, without any moral basis for conduct, may coldly exclude a considerable part of humanity from enjoying what is brought; so it has been already. . . .”

I’ve sometimes wondered, indeed, how it was that the people didn’t become extinct altogether; how it was that nothing happened to them, and how they managed to endure it and survive. No doubt Lebedyev is right in saying that there were cannibals, and perhaps many of them; only I don’t understand why he brought monks into the story, and what he means by that.”

And don’t try to frighten me with your prosperity, your wealth, the infrequency of famine, and the rapidity of the means of communication. There is more wealth, but there is less strength. There is no uniting idea; everything has grown softer, everything is limp, and every one is limp! We’ve all, all of us grown limp. . . .

What does it matter to any of us what happens afterwards? But I’m half asleep. What an awful dream I had, I’ve only just remembered it.

ba dreams go unexplained and undescribed.

Rogozhin did the same, but with a sort of peevish vexation, as though he understood what was coming.

“Wouldn’t it be better to-morrow?” Myshkin interposed timidly. “To-morrow there will be ‘no more time,’ ” Ippolit laughed hysterically.

And see how interested they all are; they’ve all come up, they’re all staring at my seal, and if I hadn’t sealed the article up in an envelope, there’d have been no sensation! Ha-ha! You see what mystery does! Shall I break the seal or not, gentlemen?” he shouted, laughing his strange laugh, and staring at them with glittering eyes. “A secret! A secret! And do you remember, prince, who proclaimed that there will be ‘no more time’? It was proclaimed by the great and mighty angel in the Apocalypse.”

Ippolit suddenly looked at him, and when their eyes met, Rogozhin gave a bitter and morose grin, and slowly pronounced a strange sentence. “It’s not the way to set about this business, lad, it’s not the way. . . .” No one, of course, knew what Rogozhin meant, but his words made rather a strange impression on every one; every one seemed to catch a passing glimpse of a common idea. On Ippolit these words made a terrible impression;

It was you, it was you! Why did you frighten me? Why did you come to torment me? I don’t understand it, but it was you.”

rogozhin as a tormentor

“I wondered very much how the prince guessed that I had ‘bad dreams.’ He used those very words, that in Pavlovsk ‘my excitement and dreams’ would change. And why dreams?

dreams are a kind of symbl of our inner subjective experience. impossible barrier to know or to break beyond or through.

But in the room I noticed an awful animal, a sort of monster. It was like a scorpion, but was not a scorpion, it was more disgusting, and much more horrible, and it seemed it was so, just because there was nothing like it in nature, and that it had come expressly to me, and that there seemed to be something mysterious in that. I examined it very carefully: it was brown, and was covered with shell, a crawling reptile, seven inches long, two fingers thick at the head, and tapering down to the tail, so that the point of the tail was only about the sixth of an inch thick. Almost two inches from the head, at an angle of forty-five degrees to the body, grew two legs, one on each side, nearly four inches long, so that the whole creature was in the shape of a trident, if looked at from above.

Then, my mother opened the door and called Norma, our dog—a huge, shaggy, black Newfoundland; it died five years ago. It rushed into the room and stopped short before the reptile. The creature stopped too, but still wriggled and scraped the ground with its paws and tail. Animals cannot feel terror of the mysterious, unless I’m mistaken, but at that moment it seemed to me that there was something very extraordinary in Norma’s terror, as though there were something uncanny in it, as though the dog too felt that there was something ominous, some mystery in it. She moved back slowly facing the reptile, which crept slowly and cautiously towards her, it seemed meaning to dart at her, and sting her. But in spite of her fear, Norma looked very fierce, though she was trembling all over. All at once she slowly bared her terrible teeth and opened her huge red jaws, crouched, prepared for a spring, made up her mind, and suddenly seized the creature with her teeth. The reptile must have struggled to slip away, so that Norma caught it once more as it was escaping, and twice over got it full in her jaws, seeming to gobble it up as it ran. Its shell cracked between her teeth, the tail and legs hanging out of the mouth moved at a tremendous rate. All at once Norma gave a piteous squeal: the reptile had managed to sting her tongue. Whining and yelping she opened her mouth from the pain, and I saw that the creature, though bitten in two, was still wriggling in her mouth, and was emitting, from its crushed body, on to the dog’s tongue, a quantity of white fluid such as comes out of a squashed black-beetle. . . . Then I waked up and the prince came in.

dream could represent myskin as the dog. no terror of the mysterious. idiotically or blindly trying to save ippolit and others.

“Ippolit,” said Myshkin, “fold up your manuscript and give it to me, and go to bed here in my room. We’ll talk before you go to sleep, and to-morrow; but on condition that you never open these pages. Will you?” “Is that possible?” Ippolit looked at him in positive amazement. “Gentlemen!” he cried, growing feverishly excited again, “this is a stupid episode, in which I haven’t known how to behave. I won’t interrupt the reading again. If anyone wants to listen, let him.”

Talk to him—he’s poor, destitute, starving, his wife died, he couldn’t buy medicine for her, his baby was frozen to death in the winter; his elder daughter is a ‘kept mistress’ . . . he’s for ever whimpering and complaining. Oh, I’ve never felt the least, the least pity for these fools, and I don’t now—I say so with pride! Why isn’t he a Rothschild? Whose fault is it that he hasn’t millions, like Rothschild, that he hasn’t a heap of golden imperials and napoleon-d’ors, a perfect mountain, as high as the mounds made in carnival week? If he’s alive he has everything in his power! Whose fault is it he doesn’t understand that?

I amused myself with them when I saw clearly that I was forbidden even to learn the Greek grammar, as I once thought of doing. ‘I shall die before I get to the syntax,’ I thought at the first page, and threw the book under the table. It’s lying there still. I’ve forbidden Matryona to pick it up.

Oh, you may be sure that Columbus was happy not when he had discovered America, but when he was discovering it. Take my word for it, the highest moment of his happiness was just three days before the discovery of the New World, when the mutinous crew were on the point of returning to Europe in despair.

happiness and desire destroyed in their fulfillment

It’s life that matters, nothing but life—the process of discovering, the everlasting and perpetual process, not the discovery itself, at all.

But I’ll add though that there is something at the bottom of every new human thought, every thought of genius, or even every earnest thought that springs up in any brain, which can never be communicated to others, even if one were to write volumes about it and were explaining one’s idea for thirty-five years; there’s something left which cannot be induced to emerge from your brain, and remains with you for ever; and with it you will die, without communicating to anyone perhaps, the most important of your ideas.

“I don’t want to tell a lie; reality has caught me too on its hook in the course of these six months, and sometimes so carried me away that I forgot my death sentence, or rather did not care to think of it, and even did work.

I’ll own I often complained of their shouting; they must be fond of me by now! I think I tormented ‘faithful Kolya,’ as I called him, pretty thoroughly too. Lately even he’s worried me. All that is natural: men are created to torment one another.

“I went away, and I liked that very much, liked it at the time, even at the very minute when he showed me out. But for long afterwards his words produced a painful impression on me when I remembered them: a sort of contemptuous pity for him, which I didn’t want to feel at all.

thanked me for something, said how happy he felt after a good deed, declared that the credit of it all was mine, and that people were wrong in preaching and maintaining, as many do now, that individual benevolence was of no use. I had a great longing to speak too. “‘Anyone who attacks individual charity,’ I began, ‘attacks human nature and casts contempt on personal dignity. But the organisation of “public charity” and the problem of individual freedom are two distinct questions, and not mutually exclusive. Individual kindness will always remain, because it’s an individual impulse, the living impulse of one personality to exert a direct influence upon another.

will to power manifest as charity

You know it’s a matter of a whole lifetime, an infinite multitude of ramifications hidden from us. The most skilful chess-player, the cleverest of them, can only look a few moves ahead; a French player who could reckon out ten moves ahead was written about as a marvel. How many moves there are in this, and how much that is unknown to us! In scattering the seed, scattering your “charity,” your kind deeds, you are giving away, in one form or another, part of your personality, and taking into yourself part of another; you are in mutual communion with one another, a little more attention and you will be rewarded with the knowledge of the most unexpected discoveries. You will come at last to look upon your work as a science; it will lay hold of all your life, and may fill up your whole life. On the other hand, all your thoughts, all the seeds scattered by you, perhaps forgotten by you, will grow up and take form.

I spent a very interesting hour, and probably he did the same. The contrast between us was so great that it could not be ignored by us, especially by me. I was a man whose days were numbered, while he was living the fullest, the most actual life, absorbed in the moment, entirely unconcerned about ‘final’ deductions, numbers, or anything whatever except what . . . what . . . what he was mad upon, in fact.


I gave him no hint of my ‘final conviction,’ but yet I fancied that he guessed it as he listened to me. He did not speak; he is awfully silent.

“The picture represented Christ who has only just been taken from the cross. I believe artists usually paint Christ, both on the cross and after He has been taken from the cross, still with extraordinary beauty of face. They strive to preserve that beauty even in His most terrible agonies. In Rogozhin’s picture there’s no trace of beauty. It is in every detail the corpse of a man who has endured infinite agony before the crucifixion; who has been wounded, tortured, beaten by the guards and the people when He carried the cross on His back and fell beneath its weight, and after that has undergone the agony of crucifixion, lasting for six hours at least (according to my reckoning). It’s true it’s the face of a man only just taken from the cross—that is to say, still bearing traces of warmth and life. Nothing is rigid in it yet, so that there’s still a look of suffering in the face of the dead man, as though he were still feeling it (that has been very well caught by the artist). Yet the face has not been spared in the least. It is simply nature, and the corpse of a man, whoever he might be, must really look like that after such suffering. I know that the Christian Church laid it down, even in the early ages, that Christ’s suffering was not symbolical but actual, and that His body was therefore fully and completely subject to the laws of nature on the cross. In the picture the face is fearfully crushed by blows, swollen, covered with fearful, swollen and blood-stained bruises, the eyes are open and squinting: the great wide-open whites of the eyes glitter with a sort of deathly, glassy light. But, strange to say, as one looks at this corpse of a tortured man, a peculiar and curious question arises; if just such a corpse (and it must have been just like that) was seen by all His disciples, by those who were to become His chief apostles, by the women that followed Him and stood by the cross, by all who believed in Him and worshipped Him, how could they believe that that martyr would rise again? The question instinctively arises: if death is so awful and the laws of nature so mighty, how can they be overcome? How can they be overcome when even He did not conquer them, He who vanquished nature in His lifetime, who exclaimed, ‘Maiden, arise!’ and the maiden arose—‘Lazarus, come forth!’ and the dead man came forth?

Looking at such a picture, one conceives of nature in the shape of an immense, merciless, dumb beast, or more correctly, much more correctly, speaking, though it sounds strange, in the form of a huge machine of the most modern construction which, dull and insensible, has aimlessly clutched, crushed and swallowed up a great priceless Being, a Being worth all nature and its laws, worth the whole earth, which was created perhaps solely for the sake of the advent of that Being. This picture expresses and unconsciously suggests to one the conception of such a dark, insolent, unreasoning and eternal Power to which everything is in subjection.

Can anything that has no shape appear in a shape? But I seemed to fancy at times that I saw in some strange, incredible form that infinite Power, that dull, dark, dumb force. I remember that some one seemed to lead me by the hand, holding a candle, to show me a huge and loathsome spider, and to assure me, laughing at my indignation, that this was that same dark, dumb and almighty Power.

“Well, this peculiar incident which I have described so minutely was the cause of my making up my mind. What helped to bring about that ‘final decision’ was not logic, not a logical conviction, but a feeling of repulsion. I could not go on living a life which was taking such strange, humiliating forms. That apparition degraded me. I am not able to submit to the gloomy power that takes the shape of a spider. And it was only when I felt at last, as it was getting dark, that I had reached the final moment of full determination that I felt better.

What moral obligation demands, not only your life, but the last gasp with which you give up your last atom of life, listening to words of comfort from the prince, whose Christian arguments are bound to bring him to the happy thought that it is really for the best that you should die.

Let me tell you, there is a limit of ignominy in the consciousness of one’s own nothingness and impotence beyond which a man cannot go, and beyond which he begins to feel immense satisfaction in his very degradation. . . . Oh, of course humility is a great force in that sense, I admit that—though not in the sense in which religion accepts humility as a force.

Let consciousness, kindled by the will of a higher Power, have looked round upon the world and have said—‘I am!’ and let it suddenly be doomed by that Power to annihilation, because it’s somehow necessary for some purpose—and even without explanation of the purpose—so be it, I admit it all, but again the eternal question: what need is there of my humility? Can’t I simply be devoured without being expected to praise what devours me? Can there really be Somebody up aloft who will be aggrieved by my not going on for a fortnight longer?

I don’t believe it; and it’s a much more likely supposition that all that’s needed is my worthless life, the life of an atom, to complete some universal harmony; for some sort of plus and minus, for the sake of some sort of contrast, and so on, just as the life of millions of creatures is needed every day as a sacrifice, as, without their death, the rest of the world couldn’t go on (though that’s not a very grand idea in itself, I must observe).

the need for sacrifice. the need for unceremonious sacrifice.

“And yet, in spite of all my desire to do it, I could never conceive of there being no future life, no Providence. It seems most likely that they do exist, but that we don’t understand anything about the future life or its laws. But if this is so difficult and even impossible to understand, surely I shan’t be held responsible for not being able to comprehend the inconceivable.

It’s true, they tell me, and the prince, of course, is with them there, that submissive faith is needed, that one must obey without reasoning, simply from piety, and that I shall certainly be rewarded in the next world for my humility.

piety and not reason. faith as an opposite to logic.

that perhaps suicide is the only action I still have time to begin and end by my own will. And, perhaps I want to take advantage of the last possibility of action. A protest is sometimes no small action. . . .”

“Did I distress you or not, tell me?” “It was rather drawn out, still it was . . .” “Speak out! Don’t tell lies for once in your life!” Ippolit insisted, trembling. “Oh! It’s absolutely nothing to me! I beg you to be so good as to leave me alone,” Yevgeny Pavlovitch turned away disdainfully.

“He has the right . . . the right . . .” Burdovsky murmured, though he, too, seemed quite beside himself.


“You’ve made him cry,” added Ferdyshtchenko. But Ippolit was not crying. He tried to move from his place, but the four standing about him seized his hands at once. There was a sound of laughter. “That’s what he’s been after, that they should hold his hands; that’s what he read his confession for,” observed Rogozhin. “Good-bye, prince. Ech, we’ve been sitting too long—my bones ache.”

“Leave them. You’re very weak. . . .” “In a minute, in a minute. . . . I’m going in a minute.” Suddenly he put his arms round Myshkin. “You think I am mad perhaps?” He looked at him strangely, laughing. “No, but you. . . .” “In a minute, in a minute, be quiet; don’t say anything, stand still. I want to look you in the eyes. . . . Stand like that, and let me look. I say good-bye to man.” He stood and looked fixedly at Myshkin for ten seconds without speaking. Very pale, his hair soaked with sweat, he caught somehow strangely at Myshkin’s hand with his as though afraid to let him go. “Ippolit, Ippolit, what is the matter with you?” cried Myshkin. “Directly. . . . Enough. . . . I’m going to bed. I’ll have one drink to greet the sun. . . . I want to, I want to . . . let me be.”

Keller stood in the middle of the room, and with positive inspiration pronounced, dwelling on every word, and emphasizing it so that all might hear. “Gentlemen! If anyone of you ever once insinuates in my presence that the cap was forgotten intentionally, and maintains that the unhappy young man was acting a farce, he will have to deal with me.” But no one answered him.

like the strongest man in the world. varefully picking his fights his moments. mismatches. nobdy o fight back.

“Not at all. It’s too good-natured of you to worry about it. I’ve heard tell of such things, but I’ve never in real life seen a man shoot himself on purpose to win applause, or from spite because he was not applauded for it. And, what’s more, I wouldn’t have believed in such an open exhibition of feebleness. But you’d better get rid of him to-morrow all the same.”

“The essence is the same, though the emplois are different, perhaps. You’ll see whether this gentleman isn’t capable of murdering a dozen people simply as a ‘feat,’ as he read us just now in his ‘Explanation.’ Those words of his won’t let me sleep now.” “You are too anxious perhaps.” “You’re a wonderful person, prince. You don’t believe he’s capable of killing a dozen persons now.” “I’m afraid to answer you. It’s all very strange; but . . .” “Well, as you like, as you like!” Yevgeny Pavlovitch concluded irritably. “Besides, you’re such a valiant person. Don’t you be one of the dozen, that’s all!” “It’s most likely he won’t kill anyone,” said Myshkin, looking dreamily at Yevgeny Pavlovitch. The latter laughed angrily. “Good-bye! It’s time I was off. Did you notice he bequeathed a copy of his ‘Explanation’ to Aglaia Ivanovna?” “Yes, I did, and . . . I am thinking about it.” “That’s right, in case of the ‘dozen,’” laughed Yevgeny Pavlovitch again, and he went out. An hour later, when it was already past three o’clock, Myshkin went out into the park. He had tried to sleep, but was kept awake by the violent throbbing of his heart. Everything was quiet in the house, and, as far as possible, tranquillity had been restored. The sick boy had fallen asleep, and the doctor declared that there was no special danger. Lebedyev, Kolya, and Burdovsky lay down in the invalid’s room, so as to take turns in watching him. There was nothing to be afraid of. But Myshkin’s uneasiness grew from moment to moment. He wandered in the park, looking absently about him, and stopped in surprise when he reached the open space before the station, and saw the rows of seats, and the music-stands of the orchestra. He was impressed by the scene, which struck him as horribly squalid. He turned back, and going by the path along which he had walked the day before with the Epanchins, he reached the green seat which had been fixed as the trysting place;

His dejection persisted; he longed to go away . . . he knew not where. In a tree overhead a bird was singing, and he began looking for it among the leaves. All at once the bird darted out of the tree, and at the same instant he recalled the “fly in the warm sunshine,” of which Ippolit had written, that “it knew its place and took part in the general chorus, but he alone was an outcast.” The phrase had struck him at the time; and he recalled it now. One long-forgotten memory stirred within him and suddenly rose up clear before him.

It was in Switzerland, during his first year, in the early part of it, in fact. Then he was almost like an idiot; he could not even speak properly—and sometimes could not understand what was wanted of him. He once went up into the mountain-side, on a bright, sunny day, and walked a long time, his mind possessed with an agonizing but unformulated idea. Before him was the brilliant sky, below, the lake, and all around an horizon, bright and boundless which seemed to have no ending. He gazed a long time in distress. He remembered now how he had stretched out his hands to that bright, infinite blue, and had shed tears. What tortured him was that he was utterly outside all this. What was this festival? what was this grand, everlasting pageant to which there was no end, to which he had always, from his earliest childhood, been drawn and in which he could never take part? Every morning the same bright sun rises, every morning the same rainbow in the waterfall; every evening that highest snow mountain glows, with a flush of purple against the distant sky, every “little fly that buzzes about him in the hot sunshine has its part in the chorus; knows its place, loves it and is happy.” Every blade of grass grows and is happy! Everything has its path, and everything knows its path, and with a song goes forth, and with a song returns. Only he knows nothing, and understands nothing, neither men nor sounds; he is outside it all, and an outcast. Oh, of course he could not say it then in those words, could not utter his question. He suffered dumbly, not comprehending; but now it seemed to him that he had said all this at the time, those very words, and that that phrase about the “fly” Ippolit took from him; from his words then and his tears. He felt sure of it, and for some reason the thought set his heart beating.

He dropped asleep on the seat, but his agitation still persisted. Just as he was falling asleep he remembered that Ippolit was to kill a dozen people, and smiled at the absurdity of the notion. There was an exquisite brightness and stillness all round him, only broken by the rustle of the leaves which seemed to make it even more silent and solitary. He had many dreams, and all were disquieting, and at times made him start uneasily. At last a woman came to him; he knew her, and knowing her was torture; he knew her name, and would have known her anywhere—but strange to say—her face now was not the same as he had always known it, and he felt an agonising reluctance to acknowledge her as the same woman. There was such remorse and horror in this face that it seemed as though she must be a fearful criminal, and had just committed some awful crime. Tears quivered on her pale cheeks; she beckoned to him and put her finger to her lips, as though to warn him to follow her quietly. His heart turned cold; nothing, nothing on earth would induce him to admit that she was a criminal; but he felt that something awful was about to happen, that would ruin his whole life. She seemed anxious to show him something not far off, in the park. He got up to follow her, and suddenly he heard beside him the sound of a gay, fresh laugh; he felt a hand in his. He seized the hand, pressed it tight and waked up. Aglaia was standing before him, laughing aloud.

I’ve come out with an object. I have a great deal to tell you. Only you’ve quite put me out now. About Ippolit, I think that his pistol was bound not to go off. It’s just like him.

ippolit causes everyone to wait

“Be sure to bring it. And there is no need to ask him. He’ll certainly be delighted, for perhaps it was with that object he shot at himself, that I might read his confession afterwards. Please don’t laugh at me, I beg you, Lyov Nikolayevitch, because it may very well be so.” “I’m not laughing, for I’m convinced myself that that may very likely be partly the reason.”

more of this sacrificing oneself for love of another.

“Of course,” Myshkin explained, “he wanted us all to praise him, as well as you. . . .” “Praise him?” “That is . . . how shall I tell you . . . it is very difficult to explain. Only he certainly wanted every one to come round him and tell him that they loved him very much and respected him; he longed for them all to beg him to remain alive. It may very well be that he had you in his mind more than anyone, because he mentioned you at such a moment . . . though, perhaps, he didn’t know himself that he had you in mind.”

“I’m in no mood for joking with you, Lyov Nikolayevitch. I’ll see Ippolit myself. I beg you to tell him so. I think it’s very horrid on your part, for it’s very brutal to look on and judge a man’s soul, as you judge Ippolit. You have no tenderness, nothing but truth, and so you judge unjustly.” Myshkin pondered. “I think you’re unfair to me,” he said. “Why, I see no harm in his thinking in that way, because all people are inclined to think like that.

myshkin never sees harm in people doing what they are naturally inclined to do. least judgemental person

the truth is not conducive to mercy. aglaya seems to be confusing justice and mercy.

conversations... sp with lizaveta amd aglaya... seem to meander aimlessly. not sure where it is going or why.

To you I want to tell everything, everything, even the most important thing, when I want to, and you must hide nothing from me on your side. I want, with one person at least, to speak freely of everything, as I can to myself.

“I want to run away from home—I want to,” she cried, and again her eyes flashed. “If you won’t consent, I shall marry Gavril Ardalionovitch.

he isvlike the default backup backup choice

A strange idea suddenly occurred to Myshkin. He looked intently at Aglaia and smiled. He could scarcely believe that the haughty girl who had once so proudly and disdainfully read him Gavril Ardalionovitch’s letter was actually sitting before him. He could not conceive that the disdainful, stern beauty could turn out to be such a baby, a baby, who perhaps did not even now understand some words.

“I’ve never been anywhere. I’ve always sat at home, as though I were corked up in a bottle, and I’m to be married straight out of the bottle.

That unhappy woman is firmly convinced that she is the most fallen, the most vicious creature in the whole world. Oh, don’t cry shame on her, don’t throw stones at her! She has tortured herself too much from the consciousness of her undeserved shame! And, my God, she’s not to blame! Oh, she’s crying out every minute in her frenzy that she doesn’t admit going wrong, that she was the victim of others, the victim of a depraved and wicked man. But whatever she may say to you, believe me, she’s the first to disbelieve it, and to believe with her whole conscience that she is . . . to blame. When I tried to dispel that gloomy delusion, it threw her into such misery that my heart will always ache when I remember that awful time. It’s as though my heart had been stabbed once for all. She ran away from me. Do you know what for? Simply to show me that she was a degraded creature. But the most awful thing is that perhaps she didn’t even know herself that she only wanted to prove that to me, but ran away because she had an irresistible inner craving to do something shameful, so as to say to herself at once, ‘There, you’ve done something shameful again, so you’re a degraded creature!’

Do you know that in that continual consciousness of shame there is perhaps a sort of awful, unnatural enjoyment for her, a sort of revenge on some one.

“I hardly ever spoke. I often wanted to speak, but I really didn’t know sometimes what to say. You know, in some cases it is better not to speak at all. Oh, I loved her; oh, I loved her very much, but afterwards . . . afterwards . . . afterwards she guessed it all.” “What did she guess?” “That I only pitied her, but that I . . . don’t love her any more.”

It’s jealousy. It’s more than jealousy! She . . . do you suppose she’d really marry Rogozhin as she writes here in her letters? She’d kill herself the day after our wedding!” Myshkin started; his heart stood still. But he gazed in amazement at Aglaia. It was strange to him to realize that the child was so fully a woman.

“I can’t sacrifice myself like that, though I did want to at one time . . . and perhaps I want to still. But I know for certain that with me she’ll be lost, and so I leave her. I was to have seen her to-day at seven o’clock; but perhaps I won’t go now. In her pride she will never forgive me for my love—and we shall both come to ruin.

“Delicacy and dignity are taught by the heart and not by the dancing-master,” Lizaveta Prokofyevna summed up sententiously. And she went up to her room without even looking at Aglaia.

But for a man who knows for certain that he has only ten minutes to talk like that—isn’t that pride? Why, it’s the loftiest assertion of personal dignity, it’s regular defiance. . . . Yes, it’s titanic strength of will! And after that to declare he left the cap out on purpose—it’s base, incredible!

“Of course, of course. How did it happen?” “The fruits of drinking. I have come to you as my Providence, much honoured prince.

more action like dialogue. aimless and meandering without a clear path foward. it doesnt feel like a story. it feels like we are dropped into a complex situation without enough information. not sure why dostoyevsky does that or what its aim is.

And so he went to Vilkin’s. It would seem there’s nothing strange in a drunken man’s going to see another drunken fellow like himself, even before daybreak, and without any reason. But here we have a clue: as he went he left the address. . . . Now, prince, follow up the question: why did he leave an address? Why did he purposely go out of his way to Nikolay Ardalionovitch to tell him, ‘I’m going to spend the day at Vilkin’s.’ Who would care to know that he was going away and to Vilkin’s? Why announce it?

Hasn’t he asked you for money, honoured prince?” “No, he hasn’t.” “He’s ashamed to. He did mean to. He owned to me, in fact, that he meant to trouble you, but he’s bashful, seeing you obliged him not long ago, and besides he thinks you wouldn’t give it him. He told me this as his friend.” “But you don’t give him money?” “Prince! Honoured prince! For that man I’d give not money, alone, but, so to say, my life. . . . But no, I don’t want to exaggerate, not my life, but if it were a case of fever, an abscess, or even a cough, I’d be ready to bear it for him, I really would. For I look upon him as a great, though fallen man! Yes, indeed, not only money.” “Then, you do give him money?” “N-no; money I have not given him, and he knows himself that I won’t give it him. But that’s solely with a view to his elevation and reformation.

saying one thing. acting another. hypocrisy. despite motive lebedyev refuses to suspect his friend the general. he is completely deceived. taken in. naive like myshkin.

but then... again... why is dostoyevsky showing us this...

lebedyev refuses to suspect his friend. taken in and fooled like myskin. but then... again... why is dostoyevsky showing us this...

“Sympathy, sympathy, and tenderness—that’s all the treatment our invalid requires. You, prince, will allow me to think of him as an invalid?”

“Ah, well, that’s what’s called a clue.” Lebedyev laughed noiselessly, rubbing his hands. “Just as I thought! That means that his excellency waked from his sleep of innocence at six o’clock, expressly to go and wake his darling son and warn him of the great danger of associating with Mr. Ferdyshtchenko. What a dangerous man Mr. Ferdyshtchenko must be! And what parental solicitude on the part of his excellency!”

showing how lebedyev is duped completely by his friend. reflection of myshkin himself. but not for the same reasons. lebedyev suspects ferdyschenko and that is his motive. myshkin suspects no one but rather feels that people are who they are an will do what they do.

When, in the morning, he had sunk into a heavy sleep on the lounge in the verandah without having brought himself to open those three envelopes, he had another painful dream, and again the same “sinful woman” came to him. Again she looked at him with tears sparkling on her long eyelashes, again beckoned him to follow her, and again he waked up, as he had done before, with anguish recalling her face.

These letters too were like a dream. Sometimes one dreams strange, impossible and incredible dreams; on awakening you remember them and are amazed at a strange fact. You remember first of all that your reason did not desert you throughout the dream; you remember even that you acted very cunningly and logically through all that long, long time, while you were surrounded by murderers who deceived you, hid their intentions, behaved amicably to you while they had a weapon in readiness, and were only waiting for some signal; you remember how cleverly you deceived them at last, hiding from them; then you guessed that they’d seen through your deception and were only pretending not to know where you were hidden; but you were sly then and deceived them again; all this you remember clearly. But how was it that you could at the same time reconcile your reason to the obvious absurdities and impossibilities with which your dream was overflowing?

the dream is a good analogy to dostoyevskys style of writng and dialogue and storytelling. you know there are meanings. you know there is some underlying logic. and yet nothing seems to make much cohesive sense.

And why, too, on waking up and fully returning to reality, do you feel almost every time, and sometimes with extraordinary intensity, that you have left something unexplained behind with the dream? You laugh at the absurdities of your dream, and at the same time you feel that interwoven with those absurdities some thought lies hidden, and a thought that is real, something belonging to your actual life, something that exists and has always existed in your heart.

i could not have better articulated how this book seems to work on me.

I have seen you, I see you every day. I don’t judge you; I have not come by reason to believe that you are perfection; I simply have faith in it.

He loved you, though he had seen you only once. He thought of you as of ‘light.’

I have almost ceased to exist and I know it. God knows what in my stead lives within me. I read that every day in two terrible eyes which are always gazing at me, even when they are not before me. Those eyes are silent now (they are always silent), but I know their secret.

All the time I was in their house, I kept fancying that somewhere under the floor there might be a corpse hidden there by his father perhaps, wrapped in American leather, like the corpse in the Moscow case, and surrounded in the same way with jars of Zhdanov’s fluid. I could show you the corner. He is always silent: but I know he loves me so much that he can’t help hating me.

He went homewards by the road that encircled the park. His heart was beating, his thoughts were in a maze, and everything round him became like a dream. And suddenly, just as yesterday he had twice waked up at the same dream, the same apparition rose again before him. The same woman came out of the park and stood before him, as though she had been waiting for him there. He started, and stood still. She snatched his hand and pressed it tight. “No, this was not an apparition!”

“Rather! She showed me each one of them herself. About the razor, too, do you remember, ha-ha!” “She’s mad!” cried Myshkin, wringing his hands. “Who knows about that? Perhaps not,” Rogozhin said softly, as though to himself. Myshkin did not answer. “Well, good-bye,” said Rogozhin. “I’m going away to-morrow too: don’t remember evil against me! And I say, brother,” he added, turning quickly, “why didn’t you answer her question: are you happy or not?” “No, no, no!” cried Myshkin with unspeakable sadness. “I should think not, indeed,” laughed Rogozhin maliciously and he went away without looking back.

Part 4

In real life, extremely few bridegrooms jump out of windows just before their wedding, for, apart from other considerations, it’s not a convenient mode of escape.

Yet the question remains! What is an author to do with ordinary people, absolutely “ordinary,” and how can he put them before his readers so as to make them at all interesting? It is impossible to leave them out of fiction altogether, for commonplace people are at every moment the chief and essential links in the chain of human affairs; if we leave them out, we lose all semblance of truth. To fill a novel completely with types or, more simply, to make it interesting with strange and incredible characters, would be to make it unreal and even uninteresting. To our thinking a writer ought to seek out interesting and instructive features even among commonplace people.

More meta writing. Commentary by Dostoyevsky that is practically apart from the story but important for understanding it.

There is, indeed, nothing more annoying than to be, for instance, wealthy, of good family, nice-looking, fairly intelligent, and even good-natured, and yet to have no talents, no special faculty, no peculiarity even, not one idea of one’s own, to be precisely “like other people.” To have a fortune, but not the wealth of Rothschild; to be of an honourable family, but one which has never distinguished itself in any way; to have a pleasing appearance expressive of nothing in particular; to have a decent education, but to have no idea what use to make of it; to have intelligence, but no ideas of one’s own; to have a good heart, but without any greatness of soul; and so on and so on.

Nothing is easier for “ordinary” people of limited intelligence than to imagine themselves exceptional and original and to revel in that delusion without the slightest misgiving.

Some have only to meet with some idea by hearsay, or to read some stray page, to believe at once that it is their own opinion and has sprung spontaneously from their own brain. The impudence of simplicity, if one may so express it, is amazing in such cases.

Gavril Ardalionovitch Ivolgin belonged to the second category. He belonged to the class of the “much cleverer” people, though he was infected from head to foot with the desire for originality. But that class, as we observed above, is far less happy than the first; for the clever “commonplace” man, even if he occasionally or even always fancies himself a man of genius and originality, yet preserves the worm of doubt gnawing at his heart, which in some cases drives the clever man to utter despair.

He was a young man of violent and envious cravings, who seemed to have been positively born with his nerves overwrought. The violence of his desires he took for strength. His passionate craving to distinguish himself sometimes led him to the brink of most ill-considered actions, but our hero was always at the last moment too sensible to take the final plunge. That drove him to despair. He could perhaps have made up his mind to anything extremely base to attain what he dreamed of. But as fate would have it, he always turned out to be too honest for any great meanness.

“If you go in for usury, do it thoroughly—squeeze people, coin money out of them, show will-power, be a king among the Jews.”

Ironic phrase... King among the Jews

Ganya looked more intently than ever at his sister. “Have you found out something more?” he asked. “Nothing unexpected, anyway. I found out that it’s all a fact. My husband was nearer the truth than either of us; it’s turned out just as he predicted from the beginning.

Dostoyevsky fills us in as we go. Again, the question of why... Why skip over a week and why stop at this day? Why narrate these conversations but not others?

You know how insanely shy and bashful she still is. When she was a child she would creep into a cupboard and sit there for two or three hours, simply to escape seeing visitors. Though she has grown such a maypole, she is just the same now. You know, I believe there really is something in it, even on her side. They say she is laughing at the prince from morning till night, so as to hide her feelings; but she must manage to say something on the sly to him every day, for he looks as though he were in heaven, he is beaming.

“You are a regular schoolboy, you don’t understand anything. You think all this might injure you in Aglaia’s eyes? You don’t know her. She’d refuse the most eligible suitor and run off delighted with some student to starve in a garret—that’s her dream! You’ve never been able to understand how interesting you would have become in her eyes, if you had been able to bear our surroundings with pride and fortitude.

“Well, even she would be a coward about a scandal, in spite of all her romantic notions. It’s all up to a certain point, and every one draws the line somewhere. You are all alike.”

“But how does he know? Tell me that, pray. The prince and Lebedyev made up their minds to tell nobody; Kolya knows nothing.”

aaaand again. we get several references to the theft of money without any kind of direct explanation.

And how eager he is to score off me now! He looks upon me as his personal enemy, I’ve seen that a long time—why and with what object, since he is dying, I can’t make out. But I’ll get the better of him. You will see that I’ll score off him, not he off me!”

I must own that, like a fool, I talked to him freely at first. I thought that, simply to revenge himself on the prince, he’d work in my interests. He is such a sly beast!

And he heard about that theft from his mother, the captain’s widow. If the old man did bring himself to it, it was for that woman’s sake.

“I don’t hate him, I despise him!” Ganya pronounced proudly. “Well, yes, I do hate him then, I do,” he shouted suddenly with extraordinary fury, “and I’ll tell him so to his face, even if he lies dying on his bed! If you’d read his confession—good Lord, the naïveté of its insolence!

And you’re only an envious man, torn in two with coughing and dying of spite and infidelity.

“He shouldn’t steal,” cried Ganya, almost spluttering with anger. Suddenly his eyes met Ippolit’s. Ganya positively shook. “As for you, sir,” he shouted, “you ought to remember, anyway, that you’re in another person’s house and . . . enjoying his hospitality, and not to irritate an old man who has obviously gone out of his mind.”

“Because you are an abject creature, because you worried people for half an hour, thinking to frighten them by shooting yourself with an unloaded pistol, making such a shameful exhibition of yourself, you walking mass of jaundiced spite who can’t even commit suicide without making a mess of it!

Two or three times to-day I have been reproached with accepting your hospitality. That’s unfair. By inviting me to stay with you, you tried to entrap me yourself, you reckoned I should want to pay out the prince.

I hate you, Gavril Ardalionovitch, simply because—this will perhaps seem marvellous to you—simply because you are the type, the incarnation, the acme of the most insolent and self-satisfied, the most vulgar and loathsome commonplaceness. Yours is the commonplaceness of pomposity, of self-satisfaction and Olympian serenity. You are the most ordinary of the ordinary! Not the smallest idea of your own will ever take shape in your heart or your mind. But you are infinitely envious; you are firmly persuaded that you are a great genius; but yet doubt does visit you sometimes at black moments, and you grow spiteful and envious. Oh, there are still black spots on your horizon; they will pass when you become quite stupid, and that’s not far off; but a long and chequered path lies before you! I can’t call it a cheerful one and I’m glad of it.

But his noble-hearted efforts to overcome his failings did not usually last long. The general was besides of a too “impulsive” character, though in his own peculiar fashion. He could not stand for long his empty mode of life as a penitent in his family and ended by revolting.

Don’t let us forget that the causes of human actions are usually immeasurably more complex and varied than our subsequent explanations of them. And these can rarely be distinctly defined.

The best course for the story-teller at times is to confine himself to a simple narrative of events. And this is the line we will adopt in the rest of our account of the present catastrophe with the general; for, do what we may, it is absolutely inevitable we should bestow rather more space and attention than we had originally proposed on this person of secondary importance in our story.

I believe I may take the opportunity of congratulating you on . . . the fulfilment of your heart’s desire.” “What heart’s desire?” Myshkin was disconcerted. Like many people in his position he fancied that nobody saw, guessed, or understood anything about him. “Never mind, never mind! I would not wound your most delicate feelings.

“Prince! I am anxious to gain for myself a position of respect. . . . I am anxious to respect myself and . . . my rights.” “A man animated by such a desire is deserving of respect, if only on that ground.”

The general talked for ten minutes, heatedly, rapidly, as though he could not get out his crowding thoughts quickly enough. Tears positively shone in his eyes towards the end, yet it was nothing but sentences without beginning or end, unexpected words and unexpected ideas, bursting out rapidly and unexpectedly and stumbling over one another.

Myshkin winced again. It became clear to him that every one had suddenly begun to expect something of him, that every one looked at him, as though wanting to congratulate him with hints, smiles, and winks.

“I am leaving Lebedyev’s house, because, dear prince, because I have broken with that man. I broke with him yesterday evening and regret I did not do so before. I insist on respect, prince, and I wish to receive it even from those, upon whom I bestow, so to speak, my heart. Prince, I often bestow my heart, and I am almost always deceived. That man is not worthy of what I gave him.” “There’s a great deal in him that’s extravagant,” Myshkin observed discreetly, “and some traits . . . but in the midst of it all one can perceive a good heart, and a sly, and sometimes amusing intelligence.” The nicety of the expressions and the respectfulness of the tone flattered the general, though he still looked at Myshkin sometimes with sudden mistrustfulness.

Myshkin is an apologist

“I understand. An innocent lie, however crude, to raise a laugh, does not wound a human heart. One man will tell a lie, if you like, simply from friendship, to please the man he is talking to; but if there’s a suspicion of disrespect, if he means to show just by such disrespect that he is weary of the friendship, there’s nothing left for a man of honour but to turn away and break off all connection, putting the offender in his proper place.”

“Most certainly, and it all happened as simply and naturally as possible, in reality; set a novelist to work on the subject, he would weave in all sorts of incredible and improbable details.”

More meta writing commentary from dostoevsky

Myshkin states his main object is to calm the general. Keep him from getting hysterical. Kind of all he can do. Can't fix crazy... Can only control crazy.

He realized too that the old man had gone away enraptured at his success; yet he had a misgiving that he was one of that class of liars with whom lying has become a blinding passion, though at the very acme of their intoxication they secretly suspect that they are not believed, and that they cannot be believed. In his present position the old man might be overwhelmed with shame when he returned to the reality of things.

Perhaps, like a sharp-sighted woman, she had divined what was bound to come to pass in the immediate future; perhaps, disappointed at her dream (in which, however, she had never really believed) passing off in smoke, she was too human to be able to deny herself the gratification of instilling added bitterness into her brother’s heart, by exaggerating the calamity, even though she loved him sincerely and felt sorry for him.

On the other hand, Myshkin, too, though he was perfectly right in assuring Lebedyev that he had nothing to tell him, and that nothing special had happened to him, may have been mistaken. Something very strange certainly was happening to all of them; nothing had happened, and yet, at the same time, a great deal had happened.

of keeping up the family name which had fallen low in the eyes of the world, that was, looking at it from that point of view, because they knew what the world was; the world was the world, but still the prince was not without fortune if it was only a middling one; he had . . . and, and, and” (prolonged silence, and a complete collapse). When Lizaveta Prokofyevna heard her husband’s words, her anger was beyond all bounds.

At this reflection the mother’s heart shuddered, bleeding and weeping, though, at the same time, something quivered within it, whispering to her, “In what way is the prince not what is wanted?” And that protest of her own heart was what gave Lizaveta Prokofyevna more trouble than anything.

In reply to their mother’s impatient questions, the sisters answered in detail to begin with that “nothing special had happened during her absence,” that the prince had come, that for a long time, quite half an hour, Aglaia had not come down to see him, that afterwards she came down and at once asked Myshkin to play chess; that the prince did not know how to play and Aglaia had beaten him at once; that she was very lively and had scolded the prince, who was horribly ashamed of his ignorance; she had laughed at him dreadfully, so that they were sorry to look at him. Then she suggested a game of cards, “fools.” But that had turned out quite the other way. The prince played fools in masterly fashion, like a professor; Aglaia had even cheated and changed cards, and had stolen tricks from under his very nose, and yet he had made a “fool” of her five times running. Aglaia got fearfully angry, quite forgot herself, in fact; she said such biting and horrid things to the prince that at last he left off laughing, and turned quite pale when she told him at last that “she wouldn’t set foot in the room as long as he were there, and that it was positively disgraceful of him to come to them, especially at night, past twelve o’clock, after all that had happened.”

Lizaveta Prokofyevna was completely confounded by this account. One might ask why? But she was evidently in a morbid state of mind. Her apprehension was aroused to an extreme point, above all, by the hedgehog. What did the hedgehog mean? What compact underlay it? What was understood by it? What did it stand for? What was its cryptic message?

Moreover, the luckless Ivan Fyodorovitch, who happened to be present during the inquisition, spoilt the whole business by his reply. In his opinion there was no cryptic message in it, and the hedgehog “was simply a hedgehog and nothing more—at most it meant a friendly desire to forget the past and make it up; in a word it was all mischief, but harmless and excusable.”

Again Dostoyevsky provides us a microcosm for the book itself. The hedgehog...

“But what a man, when you think of it!” “God bless her if such is her fate!” said Lizaveta Prokofyevna, crossing herself devoutly. “It must be her fate,” the general agreed, “and there’s no escaping fate.”

He would have said that he wasn’t worthy of her asking his forgiveness. Who knows, perhaps he did notice the meaning of the words, “absurdity which cannot have the slightest consequence,” but, being such a strange man, perhaps, he was relieved at those words. There is no doubt that the mere fact that he could come and see Aglaia again without hindrance, that he was allowed to talk to her, sit with her, walk with her was the utmost bliss to him; and who knows, perhaps he would have been satisfied with that for the rest of his life.

“She looks at him and can’t take her eyes off him; she hangs on every word he utters, she catches everything,” Lizaveta Prokofyevna said afterwards to her husband. “But tell her that she loves him and you’ll have the walls about your ears.” “There’s no help for it, it’s fate!” said the general, shrugging his shoulders. And long afterwards he kept repeating the phrase which pleased him.

“I thought they invited you with other views.” “Aha! You are by no means so simple as you are reputed to be! Now is not the time, or I’d tell you something about that wretched Ganya and his hopes. They’re undermining your position, prince; they’re doing it mercilessly and . . . it’s quite pitiful to see you so serene. But, alas! you can’t help it!” “That’s a funny thing to pity me for!” laughed Myshkin; “do you think I should be happier if I were less serene?” “Better be unhappy and know the truth, than be happy and live . . . like a fool.

“But I am sorry that you repudiate that manuscript, Ippolit; it is sincere, and you know that even the most absurd points in it, and there are many of them” (Ippolit scowled), “are redeemed by suffering, because to confess them is suffering and . . . perhaps great manliness. The idea that animated you must have had a noble foundation, however it may seem. I see that more clearly as time goes on, I swear I do. I don’t judge you. I speak to say what I think, and I’m sorry that I didn’t speak at the time.”

I am waffling on whether I think the Prince is really an idiot or not. He is willfully ignorant - and selectively blind and forgetful.

Well now, come, tell me what do you think would be the best way for me to die? . . . To make a virtuous ending of it as far as may be, that is? Come, tell me!” “Pass by us, and forgive us our happiness,” said Myshkin in a low voice.

Myshkin was in a fever all night. Strange to say, he had been feverish for several nights running. That night, when he was half delirious, the thought occurred to him: what if he should have a fit to-morrow before every one? He had had fits in public. He turned cold at the thought. All night he imagined himself in a mysterious and incredible company among strange people. The worst of it was that he “kept talking.” He knew he ought not to talk, but he went on talking all the time; he was trying to persuade them of something. Yevgeny Pavlovitch and Ippolit were of the party, and seemed extremely friendly.

“This letter must be sent off at once,” said Myshkin anxiously. “I’ll give it.” “But wouldn’t it be better, wouldn’t it be better, most highly bred prince, . . . to do this?” Lebedyev made a strange, expressive grimace. He fidgeted violently in his place, as though he had been suddenly pricked by a needle, and, winking slyly, made a significant gesture with his hands. “What do you mean?” Myshkin asked severely. “Wouldn’t it be better to open it?” he whispered ingratiatingly and, as it were, confidentially.

There was no doubt he must do something, he felt that. He looked once more at the address on the sealed letter. Oh, he had no doubt and no uneasiness on that side, for he trusted her. What made him uneasy about that letter was something different. He did not trust Gavril Ardalionovitch.

It could never have entered his head that all this simple frankness and nobility, wit, and refined personal dignity was perhaps only an exquisite artistic veneer. The majority of the guests, in spite of their prepossessing exterior, were rather empty-headed people, who were themselves unaware, however, that much of their superiority was mere veneer, for which they were not responsible indeed, as they had adopted it unconsciously and by inheritance.

And all this society Myshkin took for true coin, for pure gold without alloy. All these people were too, as though of set purpose, in the happiest frame of mind that evening, and very well pleased with themselves. They all without exception knew that they were doing the Epanchins a great honour by their visit. But, alas! Myshkin had no suspicion of such subtleties. He did not suspect, for instance, that, while the Epanchins were contemplating so important a step as the decision of their daughter’s future, they would not have dared to omit exhibiting him, Prince Lyov Nikolayevitch, to the old dignitary who was the acknowledged patron of the family.

When Myshkin heard the story afterwards, he felt that he had never heard anything like such brilliant humour and such marvellous gaiety and naïveté almost touching, on the lips of such a Don Juan as Prince N. If he had only known how old and hackneyed that story was, how it was known by heart, worn threadbare, stale, and a weariness in every drawing-room, and only at the innocent Epanchins’ passed for a novelty, for an imprompty, genuine and brilliant reminiscence of a splendid and brilliant man!

Atheism only preaches a negation, but Catholicism goes further: it preaches a distorted Christ, a Christ calumniated and defamed by themselves, the opposite of Christ! It preaches the Antichrist, I declare it does, I assure you it does!

To my thinking Roman Catholicism is not even a religion, but simply the continuation of the Western Roman Empire, and everything in it is subordinated to that idea, faith to begin with. The Pope seized the earth, an earthly throne, and grasped the sword; everything has gone on in the same way since, only they have added to the sword lying, fraud, deceit, fanaticism, superstition, villainy. They have trifled with the most holy, truthful, sincere, fervent feelings of the people; they have bartered it all, all for money, for base earthly power. And isn’t that the teaching of Antichrist?

It’s not only a theological question, I assure you it’s not! It concerns us much more closely than you think. That’s our whole mistake, that we can’t see that this is not exclusively a theological question! Why, socialism too springs from Catholicism and the Catholic idea! Like its brother atheism, it comes from despair in opposition to Catholicism on the moral side, to replace the lost moral power of religion, to quench the spiritual thirst of parched humanity, and to save them not by Christ but also by violence.

Russian atheists and Russian Jesuits are the outcome not only of vanity, not only of a bad, vain feeling, but also of spiritual agony, spiritual thirst, a craving for something higher, for a firm footing, for a fatherland in which they have ceased to believe, because they have never even known it! It’s easier for a Russian to become an atheist than for anyone else in the world.

“And did not you,” he went on, addressing Princess Byelokonsky, “receive me six months ago in Moscow, as though I had been your own son, when Lizaveta Prokofyevna wrote to you? And, exactly as though I had been your own son, you gave me one piece of advice which I shall never forget. Do you remember?” “Why are you in such a state?” said Princess Byelokonsky, with vexation. “You’re a good-natured fellow but absurd. If some one gives you a halfpenny you thank him as though he had saved your life. You think it praiseworthy, but it’s disgusting.” She was on the verge of being angry, but suddenly burst out laughing, and this time her laughter was good-humoured.

Now, I’m sitting with princes like myself, am I not? I wanted to get to know you, and it was necessary, very, very necessary! . . . I’ve always heard too much that was bad about you, more than what was good; of your pettiness, the exclusiveness of your interests, your stagnation, your shallow education, and your ridiculous habits. Oh, so much is said and written about you! I came here to-day with curiosity, with excitement. I wanted to see for myself and make up my own mind whether this upper crust of Russian society is really good for nothing and has outlived its time, is drained of its ancient life and only fit to die, but still persists in a petty, endless strife with the men . . . of the future, getting in their way and not conscious that it is dying itself.

“And what do I find? I find people elegant, simple-hearted, and clever. I meet an old man who is ready to listen to a boy like me and be kind to him. I find people ready to understand and to forgive, Russian, and kind-hearted, almost as kind and warm-hearted as I met there, and almost their equals. You can judge what a delightful surprise it is! Oh, do let me put it into words! I had heard so often and fully believed myself that society was nothing but manners, and antiquated forms, and that all reality was extinct. But I see now for myself that that cannot be so among us; that may be anywhere else but not in Russia.

I heard Prince N. tell a story just now. Wasn’t that simple-hearted, spontaneous humour; wasn’t it genuine frankness? Can such sayings come from the lips of a man . . . who is dead; whose heart and talent have run dry? Could the dead have treated me as you have treated me?

You know I’m contemptible sometimes, for I lose my faith. As I came here just now, I wondered: ‘How shall I talk to them? With what words shall I begin, so that they may understand a little?’ How frightened I was, but I was more frightened for you. It was awful, awful! And yet, how could I be afraid? Wasn’t it shameful to be afraid? What does it matter that for one advanced man there is such a mass of retrograde and evil ones? That’s what I’m so happy about; that I’m convinced now that there is no such mass, and that it’s all living material! There’s no reason to be troubled because we’re absurd, is there? You know it really is true that we’re absurd, that we’re shallow, have bad habits, that we’re bored, that we don’t know how to look at things, that we can’t understand; we’re all like that, all of us, you, and I, and they!

Oh, you know how to forget and to forgive those who have offended you and those who have not offended you, for it’s always more difficult to forgive those who have not offended one, and just because they’ve not injured one, and that therefore one’s complaint of them is groundless. That’s what I expected of the best people, that’s what I was in a hurry to tell you as I came here, and did not know how to tell you. . . .

He really was a rather good-hearted man; but one reason for the interest he had taken in Myshkin that evening was the part that the prince had played in the scandal connected with Nastasya Filippovna. He had heard something of the story and had been much interested by it, and would have liked indeed to ask questions about it.

At that point she stopped short, frightened at her words. But if only she had known how unjust she was to her daughter at that moment! Everything was settled in Aglaia’s mind. She too was waiting for the hour that was to decide everything, and every hint, every incautious touch dealt a deep wound to her heart.

All accepted this challenge, and confirmed their mother’s sentiments. They went out, but in this simple-hearted haste to say something kind and encouraging there lay hid a great deal that was cruel, of which Lizaveta Prokofyevna had no suspicion. In the words “as usual” and “mine at least”—there was again an ominous note. Myshkin began to think of Aglaia. It is true that she had given him a wonderful smile on going in and again on taking leave, but she had not uttered a word, even when the others had all made their protestations of friendship, though she had looked intently at him once or twice. Her face was paler than usual, as though she had slept badly that night.

“You spoke of an interview with Nastasya Filippovna,” he murmured at last. “Hey, are you really unaware that Aglaia Ivanovna is going to meet Nastasya Filippovna to-day? And that for that purpose Nastasya Filippovna has been brought, through Rogozhin, from Petersburg, at an invitation of Aglaia Ivanovna and by my efforts, and is now staying with Rogozhin, where she stayed before, very near you, in the house of that woman

“Well, if not, she’s only to go down the steps, and go straight there, and she needn’t ever go home again. There are cases when one may sometimes burn one’s ships and not go home again. Life does not consist only of lunches and dinners and Prince S.’s. I fancy you take Aglaia Ivanovna for a young lady or a boarding-school miss. Wait till seven or eight o’clock.

He had been trying during those days not to think about it, he had dismissed oppressive ideas; but what lay hidden in that soul? The thought had worried him for a long time, though he had faith in that soul. And now all this must be settled and revealed that day. An awful thought! And again—“that woman!” Why did it always seem to him that that woman was bound to appear at the last moment, and tear asunder his fate like a rotten thread? That it had always seemed so he was ready to swear now, though he was almost delirious. If he had tried to forget “her” of late, it was simply because he was afraid of her. Did he love that woman or hate her? He had not put that question to himself once that day. His heart was clear on one point: he knew whom he loved. . . . He was not so much afraid of the meeting of the two, not of the strangeness, not of the unknown cause of that meeting, not of what it might lead to, whatever it might be—he was afraid of Nastasya Filippovna. He remembered a few days later that all through those feverish hours her eyes, her glance, were before him, her words were in his ears—strange words, though little remained of them in his memory, when those feverish hours of misery were over.

All he knew was that he only began to see things clearly that evening, when Aglaia came towards him on the verandah, and he jumped up from the sofa and went to meet her. It was a quarter past seven. Aglaia was entirely alone, dressed simply, as it seemed hastily, in a light burnous. Her face was pale as it had been that morning, and her eyes glittered with a dry, hard light. He had never seen such an expression in her eyes. She looked at him attentively.

Rogozhin, who had been waiting there, admitted Myshkin and Aglaia and closed the door behind them. “There’s no one in the whole house now, except us four,” he observed aloud, and looked strangely at Myshkin. In the first room they went into, Nastasya Filippovna was waiting. She too was dressed very simply and all in black. She stood up to greet them, but did not smile or even give Myshkin her hand. Her intent and uneasy eyes were fastened on Aglaia. The two ladies sat at a little distance from one another—Aglaia on a sofa in a corner of the room, Nastasya Filippovna at the window. Myshkin and Rogozhin did not sit down, and she did not invite them to do so. Myshkin looked with perplexity and, as it were, with pain at Rogozhin, but the latter still wore the same smile. The silence lasted some moments.

They looked at one another, no longer concealing their spite. One of them was the woman who had lately written those letters to the other. And now it all fell to pieces at their first meeting. And yet not one of the four persons in the room seemed at that moment to think it strange. Myshkin, who would not the day before have believed in the possibility of it even in a dream, now stood, gazed and listened as though he had foreseen this long ago. The most fantastic dream seemed to have changed suddenly into the most vivid and sharply defined reality. One of these women, at that moment, so despised the other, and so keenly desired to express this feeling to her (possibly she had come simply to do so, as Rogozhin said next day) that, unaccountable as the other was with her disordered intellect and sick soul, it seemed that no idea she had adopted beforehand could have been maintained against the malignant, purely feminine contempt of her rival. Myshkin felt sure that Nastasya Filippovna would not mention the letters of her own accord. He could guess from her flashing eyes what those letters must be costing her now; and he would have given half his life that Aglaia should not speak of them.

he is such a simple-hearted man and in his simplicity believed that he might be happy . . . with a woman . . . of such a character. What I was afraid of for him came to pass. You were incapable of loving him, you tortured him, you tortured him and abandoned him. You could not love him, because you were too proud . . . no, not proud, that’s a mistake, but too vain . . . that’s not it, either, it’s your self-love which amounts almost to madness, of which your letters to me are a proof. You couldn’t love a simple-hearted man like him, and very likely you secretly despised him and laughed at him. You can love nothing but your shame and the continual thought that you’ve been brought to shame and humiliated. If your shame were less or you were free from it altogether, you’d be more unhappy . . .” (Aglaia enjoyed pronouncing these too rapidly uttered but long prepared and pondered words—words she had brooded over before she had dreamed of the present interview; with malignant eyes she watched their effect on Nastasya Filippovna’s face, distorted with agitation).

“It’s nothing to me, though, laugh as much as you like. When I began to question him, he told me that he had ceased to love you long ago, that even the memory of you was a torture to him, but that he was sorry for you . . . and that when he thought of you, it always pierced his heart. I have to tell you, too, that I have never in my life met a man like him for noble simplicity, and boundless trustfulness. I understood from the way he talked that anyone who chose could deceive him, and that he would forgive anyone afterwards who had deceived him, and that was why I grew to love him . . .” Aglaia paused for a moment as though amazed, as though hardly able to believe her own ears that she could have uttered such words. But at the same time an infinite pride shone in her eyes.

“I have never declared either to him or to you that I love him,” Nastasya Filippovna articulated with an effort, “and . . . you are right that I did run away from him,” she added, hardly audibly. “Never declared it ‘to him or to me’!” cried Aglaia. “How about your letters? Who asked you to begin matchmaking and persuading me to marry him? Wasn’t that a declaration? Why do you force yourself upon us? I thought at first that you wanted to rouse in me an aversion for him by interfering with us, and so make me give him up. It was only afterwards that I guessed what it meant. You simply imagined that you were doing something wonderful and heroic with all these pretences.

Too hurriedly, too crudely, the contest had reached such an unexpected point, unexpected indeed, for when Nastasya Filippovna set off for Pavlovsk, she still had dreams of something different, though no doubt her forebodings were rather of ill than good. Aglaia was absolutely carried away by the impulse of the moment, as though she were falling down a precipice and could not resist the dreadful joy of vengeance. It was positively strange for Nastasya Filippovna to see Aglaia like this. She looked at her and seemed as though she could not believe her eyes, and was completely at a loss for the first moment.

Whether she were a woman who had read too much poetry as Yevgeny Pavlovitch had said, or simply mad, as Myshkin was convinced, in any case this woman—though she sometimes behaved with such cynicism and impudence—was really far more modest, soft, and trustful than might have been believed. It’s true that she was full of romantic notions, of self-centred dreaminess and capricious fantasy, but yet there was much that was strong and deep in her . . . Myshkin understood that. There was an expression of suffering in his face. Aglaia noticed this and trembled with hatred.

“Very likely, a respectable girl who works for her living. Why do you speak with such contempt of a housemaid?” “I don’t feel contempt for work, but for you when you speak of work.” “If you’d wanted to be respectable, you’d have become a washerwoman.” They both got up and gazed with pale faces at each other. “Aglaia, leave off! It’s unjust,” cried Myshkin, like one distraught. Rogozhin was not smiling now, but was listening with compressed lips and folded arms.

You wanted to find out for yourself whether he loves you more than me, or not, for you’re fearfully jealous . . .” “He has told me that he hates you . . .” Aglaia faltered. “Perhaps; perhaps I am not worthy of him, only . . . only I think you’re lying! He cannot hate me and he could not have said so. But I am ready to forgive you . . . seeing the position you’re in . . . though I did think better of you. I thought that you were cleverer and better looking even, I did indeed! . . . Well, take your treasure . . . here he is, he’s looking at you, he is quite dazed. Take him, but on condition that you leave this house at once! This very minute! . . .” She dropped into an easy chair and burst into tears. But suddenly there was a light of some new feeling in her face. She looked intently and fixedly at Aglaia, and rose from her seat.

The Prince is not participating in the scene at all. He's basically a non-actor. He loses Aglaya: but it is n't because he hesitates when she presents him with choice between Nastasya and Aglaya. He loses Aglaya because he isn't even participating in the scene here. He doesn't do anything before the question. He's checked out.

“Here he is! Look at him!” she cried to Aglaia, pointing to Myshkin. “If he doesn’t come to me at once, if he does not take me, and doesn’t give you up, take him for yourself, I give him up, I don’t want him.” Both she and Aglaia stood, as it were, in suspense, and both gazed like mad creatures at Myshkin. But he, perhaps, did not understand all the force of this challenge; in fact, it’s certain that he didn’t. He only saw before him the frenzied, despairing face, which, as he had once said to Aglaia, had “stabbed his heart for ever.” He could bear no more and he turned, appealing and reproachful to Aglaia, pointing to Nastasya Filippovna. “How can you! You see what an . . . unhappy creature she is!” But he could utter nothing more, petrified by the awful look in Aglaia’s eyes. That look betrayed such suffering and at the same time such boundless hatred that, with a gesture of despair, he cried out and ran to her, but it was already too late. She could not endure even the instant of his hesitation. She hid her face in her hands, cried, “Oh, my God!” and ran out of the room, Rogozhin followed to unbolt the street door for her. Myshkin ran too, but he felt himself clutched by two arms in the doorway. The desperate, contorted face of Nastasya Filippovna was gazing fixedly at him, and her blue lips moved, asking: “You follow her? Her?” She dropped senseless in his arms. He lifted her up, carried her into the room, laid her in a low chair, and stood over her in blank suspense. There was a glass of water on a little table. Rogozhin, coming back, took it up and sprinkled it in her face. She opened her eyes, and for a minute remembered nothing, but suddenly looked round her, started, cried out and threw herself in Myshkin’s arms. “Mine, mine!” she cried. “Has the proud young lady gone? Ha-ha-ha!” she cried in hysterics. “Ha-ha-ha! I gave him up to that young lady. And why? What for? I was mad! Mad! . . . Get away, Rogozhin. Ha-ha-ha!” Rogozhin looked at them intently, and did not utter a word, but took his hat and went away. Ten minutes later Myshkin was sitting by Nastasya Filippovna, with his eyes fastened upon her, stroking her head and cheeks with both hands, as though she were a little child. He sighed in response to her laughter and was ready to cry at her tears. He said nothing, but listened intently to her broken, excited, incoherent babble. He scarcely took it in, but smiled gently to her, and as soon as he fancied she was beginning to grieve again, or to weep, to reproach him or complain, he began at once stroking her head again, and tenderly passing his hands over her cheeks, soothing and comforting her like a child.

A fortnight had passed since the events narrated in the last chapter, and the positions of the persons concerned were so completely changed that it is extremely difficult for us to continue our story without certain explanations. And yet we must, as far as possible, confine ourselves to the bare statement of facts and for a very simple reason: because we find it difficult in many instances to explain what occurred. Such a preliminary statement on our part must seem very strange and obscure to the reader, who may ask how we can describe that of which we have no clear idea, no personal opinion. To avoid putting ourselves in a still more false position, we had better try to give an instance—and perhaps the kindly disposed reader will understand—of our difficulty. And we do this the more readily as this instance will not make a break in our narrative, but will be the direct continuation of it.

Author narrator using tale ending to experiment with POV

was already betrothed, had been captivated by a well-known cocotte; had broken with all his own friends and, regardless of everything, regardless of threats, regardless of the general indignation of the public, was in a few days’ time intending, with head erect, looking every one straight in the face, to be openly and publicly married here in Pavlovsk to a woman with a disgraceful past. The story became so richly adorned with scandalous details, so many well-known and distinguished persons were introduced into it, and so many fantastic and enigmatical shades of significance were given to it, while on the other hand, it was presented with such incontestable and concrete facts that the general curiosity and gossip were, of course, very pardonable.

Fact and rumor. Heresay information. narrator knowledge breaks down in parallel with Myshkin becoming feverish. See myshkins parlysi at the end of chapter eight. Now we will lose a direct track on some of the action. Maybe all.

It’s true that a great number of facts still remained unexplained.

That Keller, at his own ardent request, had been chosen for the prince’s best man, while Burdovsky, who accepted the appointment with enthusiasm, had been chosen to perform the same office for Nastasya Filippovna, and that the wedding day had been fixed for the beginning of July.


We know that, as long as the Epanchins remained at Pavlovsk, they did not receive him, and consistently refused to allow him to see Aglaia Ivanovna; that he would go away without saying a word and next day go to them again as though he had completely forgotten their refusal the day before, and, of course, be refused again. We know too, that an hour after Aglaia Ivanovna had run away from Nastasya Filippovna, perhaps even less than an hour after, Myshkin was already at the Epanchins’, confident, of course, of finding Aglaia there, and that his arrival had thrown the household into extreme amazement and alarm, because Aglaia had not yet returned home. And it was only from him the Epanchins had first learned that she had been with him to Nastasya Filippovna’s. It was said that Lizaveta Prokofyevna, her daughters and even Prince S. treated Myshkin on that occasion in a very harsh and hostile way; and that they had there and then in the strongest terms renounced all friendship and acquaintance with him, the more emphatically that Varvara Ardalionovna had suddenly made her appearance and announced to Lizaveta Prokofyevna that Aglaia had been in her house for the last hour in a fearful state of mind, and seemed unwilling to return home. This last piece of news affected Lizaveta Prokofyevna more than anything, and it turned out to be quite true. On coming away from Nastasya Filippovna’s, Aglaia would certainly sooner have died than have faced her family, and so she flew to Nina Alexandrovna’s.

“Ah, dear prince,” cried Yevgeny Pavlovitch, with warm-hearted regret. “How then could you allow . . . all that’s happened? Of course, of course, it was all so unexpected. I understand that you must have been at your wits’ end and you could not have restrained the mad girl; that was not in your power. But you ought to have understood how intense and how much in earnest the girl was . . . in her feeling for you. She did not care to share you with another woman and you . . . you could desert and shatter a treasure like that!”

But Myshkin did not die before his wedding, either awake or “in his sleep,” as he had predicted to Yevgeny Pavlovitch. Perhaps he did not sleep well and had bad dreams; but by day, with people, he was kind and seemed contented. At times he seemed lost in brooding, but that was only when he was alone. The wedding was being hurried on; it was fixed for about a week after Yevgeny Pavlovitch’s visit. With such haste his best friends, if he had any, could hardly have “saved the poor crazy fellow.”

“That Lebedyev is intriguing against you, prince, he is really. They want to put you under control. Can you believe it? with everything, your freedom and your money—that is, the two objects which distinguish every one of us from a quadruped! I’ve heard it, I’ve heard it on good authority! It’s the holy truth!”

But he, Lebedyev, did not lose heart, and took the advice of a shrewd lawyer, a worthy old man and a great friend of his, almost his patron. He had given his opinion that it was only possible if they had competent witnesses as to his mental derangement and unmistakable insanity, and still more persons of consequence to back them. Even then Lebedyev was not discouraged, and had, on one occasion, even brought a doctor—also a worthy old man, with an Anna ribbon—who was staying at Pavlovsk, to see the prince, simply, so to say, to see how the land lay, to make the prince’s acquaintance, and, not officially but in a friendly way, to let him know what he thought of him. Myshkin remembered the doctor’s visit. He remembered that Lebedyev had pestered him the evening before about his not being well, and when Myshkin positively declined medical aid, Lebedyev suddenly made his appearance with a doctor, pretending that they had both just come from Ippolit Terentyev, who was much worse, and that the doctor had something to tell Myshkin about the invalid.

They parted friends. On leaving Myshkin the doctor said to Lebedyev, if every one like that were to be put under control, who would be left to control them?

In reply to Lebedyev’s tragic description of the imminent event, the doctor shook his head slyly and cunningly, and observed at last that, even apart from the fact that “there’s nobody a man may not marry,” the fascinating lady, besides being of incomparable beauty, which alone might well attract a wealthy man, was also—so he, at least, had heard—possessed of a fortune that had come to her from Totsky and Rogozhin, pearls and diamonds, shawls and furniture; and therefore the dear prince’s choice, far from being a proof of peculiar, so to say, glaring foolishness, was rather a testimony to the shrewdness of his worldly wisdom and prudence, and therefore tended to the very opposite conclusion, completely in the prince’s favour, in fact. . . .”

Ah... so all of this betrothal and divorcing and cheating has a monetary aspect as well......!!!!

But Ippolit ended at last with the suggestion: “It’s for Aglaia Ivanovna I am afraid, you know; Rogozhin knows how you love her. It’s a case of love for love. You have robbed him of Nastasya Filippovna, he will kill Aglaia Ivanovna; though she’s not yours now, still you’d feel it, wouldn’t you?” He attained his object. Myshkin left him almost beside himself. These warnings about Rogozhin came the day before the wedding. Myshkin saw Nastasya Filippovna that evening for the last time before the wedding. But she was not in a state to reassure him. On the contrary, she had of late made him more and more uneasy. Till then, that is a few days before, when she saw him she made every effort to cheer him up, and was dreadfully afraid of his looking sad. She even tried singing to him; most frequently she would tell him everything amusing she could think of. Myshkin almost always pretended to laugh heartily. Sometimes he did really laugh at the brilliant wit and genuine feeling with which she sometimes told stories, when she was carried away by her subject, as she often was. Seeing Myshkin’s mirth, seeing the impression made on him, she was delighted, and began to feel proud of herself. But now her melancholy and brooding grew more marked every hour.

Myshkin found his bride shut up in her bedroom, weeping, in despair, in hysterics. For a long time she would hear nothing that was said to her through the closed door. At last she opened it, letting no one in but Myshkin, shut the door, and fell on her knees before him. (So at least Darya Alexeyevna, who managed to get a peep, reported afterwards.) “What am I doing? What am I doing? What am I doing to you?” she cried, embracing his feet convulsively. Myshkin spent a whole hour with her; we do not know what they talked about. Darya Alexeyevna said that they parted peaceably and happily an hour later. Myshkin sent once more that night to inquire, but Nastasya Filippovna had dropped asleep. In the morning before she waked, two more messengers were sent by Myshkin to Darya Alexeyevna, and it was a third messenger who was charged to report that “there was a perfect swarm of dressmakers and hairdressers from Petersburg round Nastasya Filippovna now; that there was no trace of yesterday’s upset; that she was busy, as such a beauty might well be, over dressing before her wedding; and that now, that very minute, there was an important consultation which of her diamonds to put on and how to put them on.” Myshkin was completely reassured.

The account of what followed at the wedding was given me by people who saw it all, and I think it is correct.

Vera Lebedyev and Kolya were in great alarm on Myshkin’s account. But they had a great deal to do in the house. They were arranging for a reception and refreshments in the prince’s room, though they hardly expected much of a gathering after the wedding. Besides the necessary persons who had to be present at the wedding, Lebedyev, the Ptitsyns, Ganya, the doctor with the Anna on his breast, and Darya Alexeyevna had been invited. When Myshkin asked Lebedyev why he had invited the doctor, “a man he hardly knew,” the latter replied complacently: “An order on his breast, a man who is respected, for the style of the thing.” And Myshkin laughed. Keller and Burdovsky, in evening suits, with gloves, looked quite correct, only Keller still troubled Myshkin and his supporters by a certain undisguised inclination for combat and cast very hostile looks at the sightseers who were gathering round the house.

Keller was irritated and hurried. Nastasya Filippovna got up, looked once more into the looking-glass, observed with a wry smile, as Keller reported afterwards, that she was “as pale as death,” bowed devoutly to the ikon, and went out on to the steps. A hum of voices greeted her appearance. For the first moment, it is true, there were sounds of laughter, applause, even perhaps hisses, but within a moment another note was heard. “What a beauty!” they explained in the crowd. “She’s not the first and she won’t be the last.” “She’ll cover it all up with the wedding ring.” “You won’t find a beauty like that again in a hurry. Hurrah!” cried those standing nearest. “A princess! For a princess like that I’d sell my soul,” cried a clerk. “ ‘One night at the price of a life!’ ” he quoted. Nastasya Filippovna certainly was as white as a handkerchief when she came out, but her great black eyes glowed upon the crowd like burning coals. The crowd could not stand against them. Indignation was transformed into cries of enthusiasm. The door of the carriage was already open, Keller had already offered the bride his arm, when suddenly she uttered a cry and rushed straight into the crowd. All who were accompanying her were petrified with amazement. The crowd parted to make way for her, and five or six paces from the steps Rogozhin suddenly appeared. Nastasya Filippovna had caught his eyes in the crowd. She rushed at him like a mad creature and seized him by both arms. “Save me! Take me away! Where you will, at once!” Rogozhin seized her in his arms and almost carried her to the carriage. Then in a flash he pulled out a hundred-rouble note and gave it to the driver. “To the railway station, and if you catch the train, there’s another hundred for you.” And he leapt into the carriage after Nastasya Filippovna and closed the door. The coachman did not hesitate for one moment and whipped up his horses. Keller pleaded afterwards that he was taken by surprise: “Another second and I should have come to, and I wouldn’t have let them go!” he explained, describing the adventure.

A rumour of what had happened reached the church with astounding rapidity. When Keller hurried to the prince, numbers of people whom he did not know rushed up to question him. There was loud talking, shaking of heads, and even laughter. No one left the church. Every one waited to see how the bridegroom would take the news. He turned pale, but received the news quietly, saying hardly anything. “I was afraid, but yet I didn’t think this would happen. . . .” And then, after a brief silence, he added: “However . . . in her condition . . . this is in the natural order of things.”

Myshkin came out of the church apparently calm and confident, so at least many people noticed and said afterwards. He seemed very anxious to get home and to be alone, but he was not allowed. He was followed into his room by several of the guests who had been invited—Ptitsyn, Gavril Ardalionovitch, and the doctor, who, like the others, seemed indisposed to go home. Moreover, the whole house was literally besieged by an idle crowd. From the verandah Myshkin could hear Keller and Lebedyev in angry dispute with some persons who were complete strangers, though they seemed to be of good position, and were bent on entering the verandah at any cost.

He remembered the porter’s words that Nastasya Filippovna did not often come. If she did not at any time come often, what would have induced her to stay at Rogozhin’s now? Comforting himself with these reflections, Myshkin reached the lodgings at last more dead than alive.

He remembered, however, that he must stop at a hotel and he hurried to Liteyny; there he was at once given a room. The waiter asked him if he would not have something to eat; he answered absent-mindedly that he would. Then, realising, was furious with himself at wasting half an hour over lunch; and only later on grasped the fact that he was not obliged to remain to eat the lunch that was served to him. A strange sensation gained possession of him in that dingy and stuffy corridor, a sensation that strove painfully to become a thought; but he still could not guess what that new struggling thought was.

He went out of the hotel at last, hardly knowing what he was doing; his head was in a whirl. But where was he to go? He rushed off to Rogozhin’s again.

he asked who played. They told him that Nastasya Filippovna used to play every evening with Rogozhin at Fools, Preference, Millers, Whist, Your own Trumps—all sorts of games, and that they had only taken to playing cards lately, after she came back from Pavlovsk, because Nastasya Filippovna was always complaining that she was bored, that Rogozhin would sit silent all the evening and did not know how to say a word, and she would often cry; and suddenly the next evening Rogozhin had taken a pack of cards out of his pocket; then Nastasya Filippovna had laughed, and they began playing. Myshkin asked where were the cards they used to play with? But the cards were not forthcoming; Rogozhin used to bring a new pack every day in his pocket and took it away again with him.

He could not have explained if he had probed his own thought why he should be suddenly so necessary to Rogozhin, and why it was so impossible that they should not meet. But the thought was an oppressive one. “If he is all right, he will not come,” Myshkin went on thinking; “he is more likely to come if he is unhappy; and he is certain to be unhappy.”

Fifty paces from the hotel, at the first crossing some one in the crowd suddenly touched his elbow, and in an undertone said in his ear: “Lyov Nikolayevitch, follow me, brother, I want you.” It was Rogozhin. Strange to say, Myshkin began telling him joyfully, gabbing at a great rate and hardly articulating the words, how he had just expected to see him at the hotel in the corridor. “I’ve been there,” Rogozhin unexpectedly answered. “Come along.” Myshkin was surprised at his answer, but did not wonder till two minutes later at least, when he realised it. When he reflected on the answer, he was alarmed and began to look intently at Rogozhin, who was walking almost half a step in front of him, looking straight before him, not glancing at anyone they passed, making way for other people with mechanical care. “Why didn’t you ask for me at my room . . . if you have been at the hotel?” asked Myshkin suddenly. Rogozhin stopped, looked at him, thought a little, and as though he did not take in the question, said: “I say, Lyov Nikolayevitch, you go straight along, here to the house, you know? But I’ll walk on the other side. And mind that we keep together. . . .” Saying this, he crossed the road to the opposite pavement, stood still to see whether Myshkin were walking on and seeing that he was standing still, gazing at him open-eyed, motioned him towards Gorohovy and walked on turning every moment to look at Myshkin and sign him to follow. He was evidently reassured by Myshkin’s understanding him and following him on the other side of the pavement. It occurred to Myshkin that Rogozhin wanted to keep a look out, and not let some one pass him on the way, and that therefore he had crossed to the other side, “Only why didn’t he say whom he has to look out for?” So they walked for five hundred paces, and all at once, for some reason, Myshkin began trembling. Rogozhin still kept looking back at him, though not so often. Myshkin could not stand it and beckoned to him. Rogozhin at once crossed the road to him.

“Is Nastasya Filippovna in your house?” “Yes.” “And was it you looked at me behind the curtain this morning?” “Yes.” “How, was it you? . . .” But Myshkin did not know what more to ask or how to finish his question. Moreover, his heart was throbbing so violently that he could scarcely speak. Rogozhin, too, was silent, and he still gazed at him as before, that is, as it were, dreamily. “Well, I am going,” he said suddenly, preparing to cross the road again, “and you go by yourself. Let us go separately in the street . . . that’s better for us . . . on different sides. . . . You will see.” When at last they turned on opposite sides of the road into Gorohovy and began to approach Rogozhin’s house, Myshkin’s legs began to give way under him again, so that it was almost difficult for him to walk. It was about ten o’clock in the evening. The windows in the old lady’s part of the house were still open as before; in Rogozhin’s they were all closed, and in the twilight the white curtains over them seemed still more conspicuous. Myshkin approached the house from the other side of the pavement. Rogozhin from his side of the pavement went straight up the steps and beckoned to him. Myshkin crossed over and joined him. “The porter doesn’t know that I’ve come home now. I said this morning that I was going to Pavlovsk, and I left word at my mother’s too,” he whispered, with a sly and almost pleased smile. “We’ll go in and no one will hear.”

He had not spoken above a whisper since they were in Liteyny. In spite of all his outward composure, he was inwardly in a state of intense agitation. When they went into the drawing-room, on their way to the study, he went to the window and mysteriously beckoned to Myshkin.

“Where is . . . Nastasya Filippovna?” Myshkin articulated breathlessly. “She is . . . here,” Rogozhin brought out slowly, after a moment’s delay. “Where?” Rogozhin raised his eyes and looked intently at Myshkin. “Come along. . . .” He still talked in a whisper and not hurriedly, but deliberately, and still with the same strange dreaminess. Even when he told him about the curtain, he seemed to mean something quite different by his words, in spite of the spontaneousness with which he spoke. They went into the study. There was some change in the room since Myshkin had been in it last. A heavy green silk curtain that could be drawn at either end hung right across the room, dividing the alcove where Rogozhin’s bed stood from the rest of the apartment. The heavy curtain was closely drawn at both ends. It was very dark in the room. The white nights of the Petersburg summer were beginning to get darker and, had it not been for the full moon, it would have been difficult to make out anything in Rogozhin’s dark rooms with the windows curtained. It is true they could still see each other’s faces, though very indistinctly. Rogozhin’s face was pale as usual; his glittering eyes watched Myshkin intently with a fixed stare. “You’d better light a candle,” said Myshkin. “No, no need,” answered Rogozhin, and taking Myshkin’s hand he made him sit down on a chair; he sat opposite, moving his chair up so that he almost touched Myshkin with his knees. Between them, a little to one side, stood a small round table.

“Sit down, let’s stay here a bit,” he said, as though persuading Myshkin to stay. “I seemed to know that you would be staying at that hotel again,” he began, as people sometimes approach an important subject by beginning about quite irrelevant trifles. “As soon as I got into the corridor I thought, what if he is sitting waiting for me, just as I am for him at this very moment? Have you been to the teacher’s widow?” “Yes,” Myshkin was hardly able to articulate from the violent throbbing of his heart. “I thought of that, too. There’ll be talk, I thought . . . and then I thought again: I’ll bring him here for the night, so that we may spend this night together.” “Rogozhin! Where is Nastasya Filippovna?” Myshkin whispered suddenly, and he stood up trembling in every limb. Rogozhin got up, too. “There,” he whispered, nodding towards the curtain. “Asleep?” whispered Myshkin. Again Rogozhin looked at him, intently as before. “Well, come along then! . . . Only you . . . well, come along!” He lifted the curtain, stood still, and turned to Myshkin again.

“Come in,” he nodded, motioning him to go within the curtain. Myshkin went in. “It’s dark here,” he said. “One can see,” muttered Rogozhin. “I can scarcely see . . . there’s a bed.” “Go nearer,” Rogozhin suggested softly. Myshkin took a step nearer, then a second, and stood still. He stood still and looked for a minute or two. Neither of them uttered a word all the while they stood by the bedside. Myshkin’s heart beat so violently that it seemed as though it were audible in the death-like stillness of the room. But his eyes were by now accustomed to the darkness, so that he could make out the whole bed. Some one lay asleep on it, in a perfectly motionless sleep; not the faintest stir, not the faintest breath could be heard. The sleeper was covered over from head to foot with a white sheet and the limbs were vaguely defined; all that could be seen was that a human figure lay there, stretched at full length. All around in disorder at the foot of the bed, on chairs beside it, and even on the floor, clothes had been flung in disorder; a rich white silk dress, flowers, and ribbons. On a little table at the head of the bed there was the glitter of diamonds that had been taken off and thrown down. At the end of the bed there was a crumpled heap of lace and on the white lace the toes of a bare foot peeped out from under the sheet; it seemed as though it had been carved out of marble and it was horridly still. Myshkin looked and felt that as he looked, the room became more and more still and death-like. Suddenly there was the buzz of a fly which flew over the bed and settled on the pillow. Myshkin started. “Let’s go.” Rogozhin touched his arm. They went out, and sat down on the same chairs, facing one another again. Myshkin trembled more and more violently, and never took his questioning eyes off Rogozhin’s face.

“I notice you are trembling, Lyov Nikolayevitch,” Rogozhin said at last, “almost as much as you did when you had your illness. Do you remember, in Moscow? Or as you had once before a fit? I can’t think what I should do with you now. . . .” Myshkin listened, straining every effort to understand, and still his eyes questioned him. “Was it . . . you?” he brought out at last, nodding towards the curtain. “It was I,” Rogozhin whispered, and he looked down. They were silent for five minutes. “For if,” Rogozhin began, continuing suddenly as though his speech had not been interrupted, “you are ill, have your fit and scream, some one may hear from the street or the yard, and guess that there are people in the flat. They’ll begin knocking and come in . . . for they all think I am not at home. I haven’t lighted a candle for fear they should guess from the street or the yard. For when I am away, I take the key and no one ever comes in to tidy the place for three or four days in my absence. That’s my habit. So I took care they shouldn’t find out we are here. . . .”

I came in with her yesterday quite secretly, as we did just now. I’d been thinking on the way that she wouldn’t care to come in secretly, but not a bit of it! She whispered, she walked on tiptoe, she drew her skirts round her, and held them in her hand that they might not rustle. She shook her finger at me on the stairs—it was you she was afraid of. She was mad with terror in the train, and it was her own wish to stay the night here. I thought of taking her to her lodgings at the widow’s—but not a bit of it! ‘He’ll find me there as soon as it’s daylight,’ she said, ‘but you will hide me and early to-morrow morning we’ll set off for Moscow,’ and then she wanted to go somewhere to Orel. And as she went to bed she kept saying we’d go to Orel. . . .”

They’ll begin questioning me, I shall say it was me, and they’ll take me away at once. So let her lie here now beside us, beside you and me. . . .” “Yes, yes!” Myshkin agreed warmly. “So we won’t confess and let them take her away.” “Not on any account!” Myshkin decided. “Certainly not.” “That’s what I decided, lad, not to give her up on any account to any one! We’ll keep quiet all night.

“Just as they did that time . . . at Moscow?” “On account of the smell, brother. And you see how she is lying . . . You must look in the morning when it’s light. What’s the matter, can’t you stand up?” Rogozhin asked with apprehensive wonder, seeing that Myshkin was trembling so much that he could not get up. “My legs won’t move,” muttered Myshkin, “it’s from terror, I know. . . . When the fear is over I shall get up.”

my mother has got jars of flowers, heaps of flowers, and they have such a delicious smell; I thought of bringing them in, but Pafnutyevna would have been suspicious, she is inquisitive.” “She is inquisitive,” Myshkin assented. “Shall we buy nosegays and put flowers all round her? But I think, friend, it will make us sad to see her with flowers round her!”

“Listen!” said Myshkin uncertainly, as though he were looking for what he meant to ask and at once forgetting it again, “listen, tell me what did you do it with? A knife? The same one?” “The same one.” “There’s something else; I want to ask you something else, Parfyon . . . I want to ask you a great many questions, all about it . . . but you had better tell me first, to begin with, so that I may know; did you mean to kill her before my wedding, at the church door . . . with a knife?”

“No, never. All I can tell you about the knife is this, Lyov Nikolayevitch,” he added after a pause, “I took it out of a locked drawer this morning, for it all happened this morning, about four o’clock. It had been lying in a book all the time. . . . And . . . and . . . another thing seems strange: the knife went in three or four inches . . . just under the left breast . . . and there wasn’t more than half a tablespoonful of blood flowed on to her chemise, there was no more. . . .”

“Steps! Do you hear? In the drawing-room. . . .” They both began listening. “I hear,” said Myshkin decidedly. “Footsteps?” “Footsteps.” “Shall we shut the door or not?” “Shut it . . .” They shut the door and both lay down again. They were silent for a long time.

Anyway, when after many hours the doors were opened and people came in, they found the murderer completely unconscious and raving. Myshkin was sitting beside him motionless on the floor, and every time the delirious man broke into screaming or babble, he hastened to pass his trembling hand softly over his hair and cheeks, as though caressing and soothing him. But by now he could understand no questions he was asked and did not recognize the people surrounding him; and if Schneider himself had come from Switzerland to look at his former pupil and patient, remembering the condition in which Myshkin had sometimes been during the first year of his stay in Switzerland, he would have flung up his hands in despair and would have said as he did then, “An idiot!”

For two months Rogozhin was prostrate with inflammation of the brain, and he was tried as soon as he recovered. He gave straightforward, exact, and fully satisfactory evidence on every point, in consequence of which from the very first Myshkin’s name was not brought into the case. Rogozhin was taciturn during his trial. He did not contradict his adroit and eloquent counsel, who proved clearly and logically that the crime committed was a consequence of the brain fever which had set in long before its perpetration, as a result of the troubles of the accused.

Lebedyev, Keller, Ganya, Ptitsyn, and many of the other persons of our story go on living as before and have changed but little. There is scarcely anything to be said about them. Ippolit died in a state of terrible excitement somewhat sooner than he had expected, a fortnight after the death of Nastasya Filippovna. Kolya was greatly affected by what had happened; he attached himself more closely than ever to his mother. Nina Alexandrovna is uneasy at his being too thoughtful for his years; he may become an active and useful man.

Yevgeny Pavlovitch took the warmest interest in the luckless “idiot’s” fate and by his care and efforts Myshkin was taken back to Dr. Schneider’s in Switzerland. As Yevgeny Pavlovitch has gone abroad and intends to spend a long time in Europe, openly declaring that he is a superfluous man in Russia, he visits his sick friend at Schneider’s pretty often, at least once every few months. But Schneider frowns and shakes his head more ominously every time; he hints at a permanent derangement of the intellect;

Contrast to Ganya... mirrors but opposites

We have alluded to these letters chiefly because they contained news of the Epanchins, and especially of Aglaia. Of her Yevgeny Pavlovitch wrote in a rather disconnected letter from Paris that after a brief and extraordinary attachment to an exile, a Polish count, she had suddenly married him against the wishes of her parents, who had only given their consent at last because there were possibilities of a terrible scandal. Then after almost six months’ silence Yevgeny Pavlovitch gave his correspondent a lengthy and detailed account of how, on his last visit to Dr. Schneider’s, he had met there Prince S. and all the Epanchin family (except, of course, Ivan Fyodorovitch who was kept in Petersburg by business). It was a strange meeting; they had all met Yevgeny Pavlovitch with extraordinary delight; Adelaïda and Alexandra were unaccountably grateful to him “for his angelic kindness to the unhappy prince.” Lizaveta Prokofyevna wept bitterly at the sight of Myshkin in his afflicted and humiliated condition. Obviously everything had been forgiven him. Prince S. had made a few just and true observations. It seemed to Yevgeny Pavlovitch that Adelaïda and he were not yet in perfect harmony, but that inevitably in the future Adelaïda would spontaneously and ungrudgingly allow her impetuous temper to be guided by Prince S.’s good sense and experience. Moreover, the painful experiences the family had been through, especially Aglaia’s recent adventure with the exile, had made a profound impression upon her.

Everything that the family had dreaded in giving Aglaia to the Polish count had within six months come to pass, together with fresh surprises of which they had never dreamed. It turned out that the count was not even a count, and if he were really an exile, it was owing to some dark and dubious incident in the past. He had fascinated Aglaia by the extraordinary nobility of his soul, which was torn with patriotic anguish, and fascinated her to such a degree that even before she married him she became a member of a committee for the restoration of Poland and had, moreover, visited the confessional of a celebrated Catholic priest, who gained a complete ascendancy over her mind.

There was, in fact, a great deal to say, but Lizaveta Prokofyevna, her daughters, and even Prince S. had been so much distressed by all this “terrible business,” that they were...