The Idiot - Part III Ch. I-V Summary & Analysis

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Part III Ch. I-V Summary

As Madam Yephanchn marches the Prince to her house, thoughts rush through her mind. She wonders in particular about Aglaya, and if Aglaya is serious about either the Prince or Ganja. She mentions a letter that someone sent, saying Aglaya has been in contact with Natassya Flippovna.

The Prince sits at the Yephanchin's table looking very pale. Aglaya sits in the corner, and the Prince can feel her black eyes on him. Radomsky argues against Russian liberalism and claims the liberals are against Russia. He asks the Prince's opinion on the matter and he agrees with Radomsky. However, his serious words lead to the others making fun of him. Radomsky claims he did not expect a serious answer. Alexandrai asks Myshkin why, if he sees things so clearly, did he let Burdovsky take advantage of him. Madam Yephanchin steps into the conversation and tells the room that Burdovsky did not take advantage and the Prince has a letter to prove it.

At this point Koyla enters and tells the Prince that Hippolite has arrived at his house. The Prince stands up to leave, but the Yephanchins invite him for a walk in the park.

Just before they leave, the Prince approaches Radomsky and tells him he likes him in spite of everything. Radomsky does not know what he is talking about and laughs. In reply, the Prince says he is not feeling well, yet he continues anyway in the same vein, prompting Madam Yephanchin to ask if this is how his fits begin. The Prince reassures her he is not going to have a fit, but says he does not deserve such good friends. Aglaya stands up and screams at the Prince, asking why he bothers to speak to them and that he is worth more than everyone put together. She finishes her rage by saying she will never marry him. The Prince tells her the thought never crossed his mind and much to everyone's relief Aglaya laughs.

Finally, they head towards the park and Aglaya insists the Prince walks with her. They pass a green bench and Aglaya says this is where she comes some mornings at 7 o'clock. The statement makes the Prince feel uncomfortable. They reach an entertainment complex and sit to watch a band. In the near distance, three women approach them. One of the women is Nastassya Filippovna. She walks up to Radomsky and tells him his Uncle has shot himself. Radomsky's officer friend says Nastassya deserves to be whipped. Nayasya takes a stranger's cane and hits the officer around the face. The office goes to hit her back, but Myshkin steps in and grabs him from behind. At this point Rogozhin appears and takes Nastassya away. The police arrive soon after and everyone goes home.

The Prince walks back to the Yephanchin's house and waits on the veranda while they argue inside. After a while, Aglaya comes out feigning surprise at Myshkin's presence. She talks enthusiastically about duels and tells the Prince exactly how to load a gun. The General comes out onto the veranda and requests the Prince's company in another room. When they are alone, the General asks him about Nastassya Filippovna, and the Prince says she is insane. After their conversation, the Prince opens a letter given to him by Aglaya. It asks him to meet her at the bench the following morning.

The Prince goes for a walk in the park and meets Keller. Keller tells him the officer wants to face the Prince in a duel; however, the Prince laughs at such a suggestion. He goes to the green bench and sits down. Moments later, Rogozhin approaches and says Nastassya wants to see him. The Prince and Rogozhin have a lively conversation about Nastassya and the night Rogozhin tried to kill the Prince. Finally, the Prince invites Rogozhin back to his house for a party. Rogozhin says the Prince is not acting himself.

The Prince approaches his house with Rogozhin. When they get there, the house is already full. They have heard it is the Prince's birthday and they have all come to celebrate. Radomsky immediately asks for a word with the Prince. When they are alone, he tells him the duel with the officer is off, though the Prince never really knew that is was on. Radomsky then asks for the Prince's friendship, which the Prince immediately grants.

The Prince and Radomsky walk back to the party in time for a speech by Lebedev. He goes on a drunken discourse about humanity, which then leads into a debate. Lebedev demands everyone's attention again and says he has a story to tell. The tale is about monks turning to cannibalism during famines.

Hippolite wakes up suddenly and asks how long he has been asleep. Someone tells him seven minutes. Hippolite shows shock at this as he feels like he has been asleep for hours. He tells everybody he dislikes the Prince, though not as much as he did five months ago. At this point, Hippolite has everyone's attention and he tells them he has a letter to read. The Prince tells him to read it tomorrow and Hippolite tosses a coin. It comes up heads, which means he has to read it now.

Hippolite's letter starts with a retelling of a dream. He dreamt he saw a Scorpion in his room. He screamed for help and his sister came in, took the Scorpion between her teeth and bit down. When he woke up the Prince stood over his bed.

No one is impressed with his dream and the Prince tells Hippolite to stop reading. He ignores his pleas and continues. He reads out what it feels like waiting to die. He says nothing holds any importance.

Part III Ch. I-V Analysis

While the Prince is at Pavlovsk, Dostoevsky develops his role as a Christ-like figure. Continuously the other characters come to him with their problems, seeking advice. In this section, both Radomsky and the General talk to the Prince about Nastassya Flippovna. Though unusual for the Prince, he exclaims Nastassya is insane. However, this seems to be the only way the Prince can justify her behavior, which the others see as plain vindictiveness. By calling her insane, the Prince is asking his friends to forgive Nastassya as he forgives her.

The Prince's forgiving attitude is one of his main characteristics and both his strength and his downfall. Already he has forgiven Lebedev for helping write the scandalous letter, Burdovsky for trying to extort his inheritance and Ganja for treating him so shabbily at the beginning. This means everyone thinks they can do or say anything in his presence.

Initially in Pavlovsk, people such as Lebeyev and Keller come to him asking him for forgiveness almost as if his words will cleanse their soul. People such as Madam Yephanchin become annoyed at his attitude and start acting badly towards him, knowing he will forgive. For example, Madam Yephanchin is constantly blaming the Prince for Aglaya's problems, when it is obviously her daughter's naivety is to blame. However, in some ways she is not completely wrong in blaming him. The Prince's forgiving nature is getting as destructive as Rogozhin's dark temper and Nastassya's mood swings, allowing problems to develop that only the Prince can stop. Ironically for such a perceptive person, this is almost unforgivable for the Prince to allow such behavior from others. At the end of this section he meets Rogozhin and still, despite the attempted murder, refers to him as brother and invites him to his party. All the time he knows if does not give up his friendship with both Rogozhin and Nastassya, something very bad will happen.

This section contains 1,291 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
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