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Author Fyodor Dostoevsky
Type of work Novel
Genre Aristocratic drama; character study; tragedy
Time and place written 1867–1869; Europe (Baden, Dresden, Geneva, Milan, Florence)
Date of first publication 1868–1869 in several issues of the Russian Messenger
Narrator Anonymous narrator; loses his omniscience as the novel progresses
Point of view Third person, selectively omniscient
Tone At times removed but usually psychologically intense
Setting (time) 1860s
Setting (place) Primarily St. Petersburg and Pavlovsk; interludes in and references to Yekaterinhof, Moscow, and Switzerland
Protagonist Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin
Major conflict Myshkin is torn between his romantic love for Aglaya Yepanchin and his compassionate love for Nastassya Filippovna
Rising action Myshkin proposes to Nastassya Filippovna; he realizes he does not love her; she leaves him for Rogozhin; Myshkin proposes to Aglaya
Climax The meeting of Aglaya and Nastassya Filippovna
Falling action Aglaya runs away and breaks all relations with Myshkin, who almost marries Nastassya Filippovna; Rogozhin kills Nastassya Filippovna; he and the Prince keep vigil next to her dead body
Themes The ideal human being; the clash between good and the real world; Russian Christianity and redemption
Motifs Beauty; light and dark; love
Symbols Money; Rogozhin's house; the monster in Hippolite's dream
Foreshadowing Myshkin says that if Rogozhin does marry Nastassya Filippovna, Rogozhin will likely kill her
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