The Idiot Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What does Burdovsky want from Myshkin?

2. To whom does Aglaya ask Koyla to give the animal she's bought?

3. Where does Aglaya say she comes some mornings at 7 o'clock?

4. What does Ganja tell Varya he wants to do at the beginning of Part IV?

5. What does Hippolite say he is going to read?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Throughout the novel, characters communicate private messages through letters. Discuss the role of letters in the novel.

1) Why do characters use letters to communicate? What types of messages do the characters communicate through letters?

2) How do the intentions of letter-writers and the meanings interpreted by readers differ? Why? What does this say about communication in the novel?

3) How do letters being read by unintended audiences or not delivered affect the course of the story?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss how characters in the novel define themselves, and their relationships to others.

1) How does Rogozhin define himself in the novel? What is his perception of himself? How does his own self-perception lead him to violence against both Myshkin and Nastassya?

2) How does Nastassya define herself in the novel? How does her relationship with Totsky affect her self-perception? How does her view of herself affect her relationships with Rogozhin and with Myshkin?

3) How does Aglyana perceive herself? How do her parents' and sisters' attitudes affect her self-perception? How does her definition of herself affect her relationships with others, including her romantic relationships with Ganja and Myshkin? What leads her to the confrontation with Nastassya after Myshkin's seizure?

Essay Topic 3

Myshkin is often considered a Christ figure in the novel. Discuss Myshkin as a Christ figure.

1) What aspects of goodness does Myshkin embody? Does the author think these traits are truly, and always, good? How are these traits contrasted against the society of St. Petersburg?

2) Why does Myshkin end up insane at the end of the novel? How does this ending compare to the crucifixion of Christ? Does Myshkin in any way provide salvation, as a Christ figure?

3) In what ways is Myshkin dissimilar from Christ?

(see the answer keys)

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