Two weeks pass. In that time, Myshkin spends a good deal of time with Nastassya Filippovna, but frequently goes to the Yepanchins although he is refused entrance every time. The Yepanchins soon leave Pavlovsk, which is full of rumors and gossip about what happened. Myshkin and Nastassya Filippovna are engaged and prepare for the wedding.

Radomsky comes to visit the prince and blames him for having ruined Aglaya, a girl who loved him and who could not bear to share him with another woman. Myshkin insists that if he only saw Aglaya, she would understand him; he tries to convince Radomsky to go with him to see Aglaya. Radomsky tells Myshkin that it is impossible. He leaves with the opinion that the prince is a bit mad.


The dinner party at the Yepanchins reveals that the Prince is completely fooled by society. In his honesty and naïveté, he mistakes their affected politeness and concern for genuine, sincere friendship. High society is a perfect representation of polished superficiality that stands in complete opposition to the Prince's openness and sincerity in all of his relations and actions towards others.

The meeting of Aglaya and Nastassya Filippovna arguably marks the climax of The Idiot. After this point, the direction of the plot's action is irreversible. With this meeting perishes the last hope for the prince finding happiness with Aglaya. The meeting also seems like a necessary step in resolving Aglaya's insecurity and doubts about Nastassya Filippovna. Aglaya's reaction to the other woman is not a favorable one; she calls Nastassya Filippovna a vain, selfish woman who would be unhappier if she did not feel so much self-depreciation. While it is true that Nastassya Filippovna's dishonor is not her fault, she could have started an honest life once she had the chance, without so much drama. Aglaya believes Nastassya Filippovna would have been more honest if she left Totsky without theatrics.

Aglaya's characterization of Nastassya Filippovna is a unique one among the characters in the novel; we are invited to assess her words. Before hearing Aglaya's words, we are presented with two polar-opposite views of Nastassya Filippovna's situation: that of Myshkin and that of everyone else. The prince insists that she is blameless, a woman who is worthy of the highest respect and admiration as well as pity for her suffering. Most other characters dismiss her as a dishonorable creature, an insane woman, or both. Aglaya's assessment holds that while Nastassya Filippovna is indeed blameless for her dishonor, she has gone too far in her self-depreciation, which, according to Aglaya, arises from abundant self-love

Likewise, Nastassya Filippovna presents an intriguing characterization of Aglaya. Nastassya Filippovna says that Aglaya is afraid of her because Aglaya doubts the prince's true attachment to her. Nastassya Filippovna also says that she thought much higher of Aglaya physically, intellectually, and spiritually. Her revenge on Aglaya is that Myshkin will leave Aglaya immediately upon Nastassya Filippovna's request—which is in fact exactly what happens, although the prince does not truly cease to love Aglaya. Nastassya Filippovna's "revenge" calls into question the deepness of her love for Myshkin. If she knows that her actions will sacrifice the prince's happiness with Aglaya, do her actions mean that she does in fact love herself more than she loves him? Or is Nastassya Filippovna justified in her action because she no longer believes Aglaya is worthy of him? Alternatively, is she simply mad?