The Idiot - Study Guide Part III Ch. VI Summary & Analysis

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Part III Ch. VI Summary

Hippolite continues reading and talks of meeting Rogozhin. Rogozhin left a great impression on Hippolite and he recalls the religious painting in Rogozhin's hallway. One day, Rogozhin walked into Hippolite's bedroom, sat down and stared at him. His presence was not expected and frightens Hippolite so much he cannot speak. In the morning. Hippolite finds out it would have been impossible for Rogozhin to enter because the servants had locked all the doors.

Hippolite says he has a small pistol in his pocket and his aim is to shoot himself in the head at sunrise in Pavlovsk Park. He says the letter he has just read is his last Will and Testament. Suddenly Hippolite jumps up and declares it is now sunrise. No one knows what he is talking about until Vera runs up to Hippolite and says he is going to blow his head off. Everyone laughs and says he is lying.

Just as everyone is leaving, Hippolite turns to the Prince and says he wants a drink. Hippolite pours himself champagne, but with his other hand he reaches into his coat pocket. Keller runs to him, but he is too late. Hippolite pulls out a gun, aims it at is head and presses the trigger. To everyone's surprise, not the least Hippolite, the gun does not go off. On further inspection, Keller notes Hippolite forget to put in the caps. The Prince calls a doctor for Hippolite before going to the park bench to meet Aglaya. The Prince has been awake all night and he falls asleep. He dreams a woman approaches him, beckoning him to follow her. The Prince stays where he is because he has a horrible feeling she has committed a crime. A laugh behind the Prince wakes him. It is Aglaya.

Agalya tells the Prince he is the most honest and upright person she has ever met and she wants to run away with him. Her idea is for the Prince and Aglaya to become teachers somewhere in the countryside. When the Prince questions her motives for running away, she says she is tired of her family laughing at her. She asks the Prince about the love letter he sent her via Koyla. The Prince denies it was a love letter and repeats his earlier claim that he sent it in search of friendship. At this, Aglaya says she does not love the Prince, but loves Ganja. She says the day before she sat on the same bench with Ganja, and he proved his love for her by burning his hand with a candle. She says he kept his hand over the flame for five minutes. The Prince tells her he saw Ganja only a few hours ago and his hand is fine.

The conversation turns to Nastassya, and Aglaya gets the Prince to admit he came to Pavlovsk to win Nastasya back. Aglaya shows the Prince three love letters written by Nastassya persuading Aglaya to marry the Prince. Aglaya says if Nastassya does not stop sending the letters, she will get her father to admit Nastassya into a lunatic asylum. Madam Yephanchin surprises them by approaching the bench from behind. Aglaya tells her mother she is going to marry Ganja and then runs away. The Prince is about to leave when Madam Yepanchin stops him.

When the Prince gets back to the Yephanchin house, Madam Yephanchin does not know what to say. Like the Prince, she has not slept all night and feels exhausted. After a short while, the Prince goes back home to sleep on the veranda. Unfortunately, a succession of visitors interrupts him. First, Koyla comes and gossips to him about the party and where everyone slept and then Lebedev approaches him with what he says is a serious matter.

He tells the Prince he has lost 400 roubles. The Prince suggests that he had too much to drink and perhaps mislaid it. Lebedyev claims he has looked everywhere and thinks someone must have stolen it. The idea horrifies the Prince, and he asks Lebedev who he thinks would commit such a crime. Lebedev think it is Ferdyshchenko and states he is going to follow him to St. Petersburg.

The Prince reads the three letters Aglaya gave him. Each one is from Nastassya trying to persuade Aglaya to marry the Prince. The Prince walks home from the Yephanchin house and sees the woman from his earlier dream. It is Nastassya and this time it is no dream. She approaches the Prince, squeezes his hand and gets down on her knees. The Prince tells her to get up, and in reply, Natassya asks him if he is happy. Rogozhin appears and escorts Natassya away. He comes back to the Prince and asks him to answer Nastassya's question. The Prince says he is not happy, and Rogozhin goes away laughing, saying that is exactly what he thought the Prince would say.

Part III Ch. VI Analysis

Many readers will see this novel as overwrought, continuing with themes when they have appeared to have stopped communicating any real meaning. Madam Yephanchin still obsesses about the developing relationship between Aglaya and the Prince. The reader, as well as many of the characters, have known about Nastassya's letters to Aglaya since the middle of the second section, but still Aglaya informs the Prince of them as if it was a big secret. When the Prince reads the letters, they contain no more than what the reader would expect.

As mentioned before, the opening section has such a dramatic pace that the middle sections rambling style comes as a shock, and perhaps a disappointment. However, it is interesting how this structure fits in with the Prince's seizures. In the first section, the novel becomes increasingly frantic right up to the Prince's fit. Since his fit, everything has calmed down, and the Prince relaxes in the open spaces of Pavlovsk. There are problems such as Burdovsky, but these are mere distractions. At the beginning of this section, Hippolite's foreshadows that things are going to pick up again when he tells people of his dream, showing the Prince as a protector and Rogojin as an evil force. Aglaya further intensifies the narrative by showing that her feelings towards the Prince are very real. This all seems to come to a head when he has a seizure in front of the Yepanchin home in the next part. However, the fact this is only a mild seizure symbolizes the lack of intense feeling he has for Aglaya. When he reunites with Nastassya and Rogojin's crazy world in the final section, he falls into insanity.

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