The Idiot short summary & analysis

The Idiot


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The Idiot - Fyodor Dostoevsky


The Idiot Analysis

Dostoyevsky is demonstrating a psychological compilation from individuals to society in his work named the Idiot. This book narrates the life of Prince Myshkin, Dostoyevsky is talking to the reader from time to time and Myshkin’s epilepsy experiences practically opens a window from the body of his period and the depressions around him.

The Idiot Short Summary

Prince Myshkin is a mental patient (He is having epileptic seizures). When he starts to get better, he goes back home to see the last person from his family. He is aware of the inheritance he got. Let’s hear this part from Aglaya, who he was madly in love with and almost married her:

“...let me show you like you are looking at a mirror... As a young adult you were homesick in Switzerland, you wanted to get back to the country you did not know but expected a lot, good or bad, you read a lot of books about Russia, you go back to your country, excited to do something! And the first day, they tell you, the knight, the heartbreaking story of a fallen woman! You see that woman the same day, ... you get mesmerised.” (page 735)

This fallen woman is Nastasya. Myshkin is impressed of Nastasya’s clean soul, even though class differences is felt at a high level (even talking to a maid is found strange). Nastasya says that she believes everyone is stealing at a house meeting and she cannot believe Myshkin’s emotions and is impressed.

In the rich coterie, Myshkin’s naiveness is spread like a “Poor Knight”. Everyone is making fun of him and they create a world in theirselves to see “The Idiot”. Myshkin is fighting with mills in a soil filled with loam. In this book there are several references to other books. For example, Woe from Wit, Don Quixote, La Dame Aux Camelias, Dead Souls...

Dostoyevsky’s Idiot was written as a four part and a conclusion. Conversations are predominant and we can see a lot of sequential sentences. Even though it is fluent, you have to read it fast and with high concentration because it is really long. Dostoyevsky speaks with the reader in some parts.

In the Idiot, there are more than 20 characters including nameless maids and wardens. In the book, there are a lot of side stories, with these stories, social decay is told and criticized. (In a part about guillotine a woman is being killed for fun. Myshkin chose a quick death instead of dying slowly.) In this decay, with Myshkin’s steps and love, he was sick of it.

The first part of the book, talks about the return of the Myshkin by train and searching the last person of his family. After that he fells in love with Nastasya and mets Rogojin. The second part is about the inheritance. The third and fourth part are about the pain that Nastasya caused to Myshkin and Rogojin and Nastasya’s names are in it. In the fourth part we also read the importance of ordinary people. In the conclusion part author who was very close to the reader, lets down all of his defences.

Myshkin has 779 pages long life and it shows the choices of a person reflecting into the society. Myshkin’s destiny is to be naive and honest; what would happen if Aglaya who was not allowed outside was also loving him or being an exact opposite character of him, Nastasya, even though she said that she loved him, she ran away with Rogojin, meets? And gambler Rogojin involves in this. Dostoyevsky is serving the reader an internal bleeding with a knife inside a book which came from underneath the breasts.

Dostoyevsky and Myshkin are both epileptic, reader and male... Myshkin is a man who knows a lot about books and who knows maybe he is the mirror self of Dostoyevsky. The society that throws Myshkin, could be hell? It will remain a mystery but if you are as “idiot” as Myshkin, your mental health might not be well. People who are drowning in gambling, building a wanton world are not only writers in this world.