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The Idiot

Quotes

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

"His mind and heart were flooded with extraordinary light; all torment, all doubt, all anxieties were relieved at once, resolved in a kind of lofty calm, full of serene, harmonious joy and hope, full of understanding and the knowledge of the ultimate cause of things."

In Part II, Chapter 5, Prince Myshkin describes an epileptic fit. He says that in the instant just before a fit, his conscience is plunged into darkness and he enjoys a momentary feeling of supreme feeling and understanding of life. At that point, he is able to sense all the harmony and beauty of life. In this sense, epilepsy places Prince Myshkin into a higher state of being, even if only for a brief while. The prince's particular ailment not only distinguishes him from others, but it also represents his higher sensibilities of the world and its most important values. In addition, it suggests that he has grasped a far more profound understanding of life and its meaning—joy and brotherly love, for instance—than any other characters in the novel.