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The Idiot

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Part II, Chapters 10–12

Part II, Chapters 6–9

Part II, Chapters 10–12, page 2

page 1 of 2
Summary

After tea is served, Hippolite speaks, occasionally interrupted by violent coughing. First, he tells Madame Yepanchin that Lebedev corrected Keller's article. She denounces Lebedev and his family. Then Hippolite says that he has spent a lot of time lying in bed and looking out the window, staring at the red brick wall of Meyer's house. Hippolite laments that he has only two weeks left to live and has not made a difference in the world or even left a memory.

At midnight the guests begin to leave. Although Prince Myshkin offers that Hippolite may spend the night, the young man leaves with his friends. Before doing so, Hippolite passionately cries that he hates the prince. As the Yepanchins and Radomsky descend the stairs of the veranda, a carriage drives by with two women inside. One of the women speaks rather informally to Radomsky and says that she took care of his I.O.U.s. Radomsky denies knowing the woman or having anything to do with her.

For three days the Yepanchins are angry with Myshkin for the disgraceful evening. On the next day Adelaida and Prince S. visit Myshkin. Prince S. asks Myshkin if he happens to know the identity of the woman who was in the carriage. Myshkin replies that the woman was Nastassya Filippovna. Prince S. then says that her words must be lies, as Radomsky does not know her well, nor can he have had any I.O.U.s, as he has a large fortune. When Myshkin is left alone, he feels saddened and cannot understand Nastassya Filippovna's reasons for shouting such things at Radomsky.

Ganya visits Myshkin and tells him that Nastassya Filippovna has been in Pavlovsk for four days and that she just met Radomsky four days ago. They cannot possibly be very close, but there may be some truth to the I.O.U.s. Ganya also tells the prince that Aglaya has fought with her family. These items of news upset Myshkin. Shortly after Ganya leaves, Keller visits the prince, confessing theft with the hope of then asking the prince for money. Myshkin gives Keller twenty-five rubles, and the man leaves.

Lebedev enters and speaks ill of Keller. The prince asks Myshkin about the affair with the carriage the night before. Lebedev admits that he told Nastassya Filippovna who Myshkin's guests were. The prince says he cannot understand why Nastassya Filippovna is trying to chip away at Radomsky's reputation. Lebedev begins his explanation with the words "Aglaya Ivanovna," but the prince interrupts him. Kolya arrives in the evening and tells the Prince of a scandal at the Yepanchins that involved Ganya; as a result, Varya has been asked to never come to the Yepanchin house again. Kolya then thinks Myshkin is jealous of Ganya.

The prince goes to St. Petersburg the next day. On his way back to Pavlovsk, he meets General Yepanchin and rides together with him in the train. The general firmly believes in Radomsky's words and thinks Nastassya Filippovna has made up the whole matter of I.O.U.s in an attempt to get back at the general for the events that occurred in Part I of the novel.

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Myshkin

by LittleLandmine, December 26, 2014

The young prince is supposed to symbolize the good. The image of "Christ", the kindness at his own expense. Though because of his epilepsy everyone takes advantage of his naiiveness, and he is looked at like an idiot. So I believe since Fyodor had epilepsy himself he was aware of the losing of knowledge, that can make one feel stupid, hence "the idiot." I know from having many seizures that over time they do affect our brain in various ways. I am not the only one to feel that way, but I never thought any book could incorporate that feeling a... Read more

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