"There's more wealth, but there's less strength; the binding idea doesn't exist anymore; everything has turned soft, everything is rotten, and people are rotten."

In Part III, Chapter 4, Lebedev gives several verbose speeches on diverse subjects such as religion and moral corruption. At the end of one of such speech, he discusses moral corruption in the world, which he says has become rampant. It is ironic that Lebedev himself, one of the most corrupt characters in the novel—a drunkard, liar, and rogue—is the one who identifies the problem of moral corruption. Indeed, for him there are virtually no morals and without a rigid code of behavior. However, the problem of moral corruption within the novel extends much further than Lebedev's character. For example, Totsky is so rotten that he can seduce a young girl and feel no moral qualms about it afterward. Ganya is corrupt in his vain ambition for money and social status. General Yepanchin lusts after Nastassya Filippovna and presents her with expensive pearls in an attempt to win her. Burdovsky and his gang are nasty in their insolence and rude calumnies of the Prince. The novel is full of morally corrupt characters who are part of the symbolically rotten world. Throughout, the character of Prince Myshkin stands in sharp contrast to this corrupt world.