The Idiot - Part IV Ch. VI-XII Summary & Analysis

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Part IV Ch. VI-XII Summary

The Yephanchins invite the Prince to a party to meet Princess Bielokonski. Aglaya comes to see the Prince about the party, talking so quickly, the Prince presumes she is nervous about him making fool of himself. She says she not only wants him to make a fool of himself, but he should break his mother's priceless vase to show he is clumsy. The Prince says he will do no such thing, and he does not appreciate her putting such thoughts into his head. In fact, he will sit as sit far away from the vase as possible. Before Aglaya leaves, she tells the Prince he should sit and say nothing.

A drunk Lebedev visits the Prince, claiming he has just had a moral slap in the face. The Prince questions him and it turns out he has just taken Madam Yepanchin a letter, but she threw it back at him and told him to leave. Lebedev is not making too much sense and talks about other letters, including one he sent to Madam Yephanchin about Nastassya. He is also currently in the possession of Aglaya's letter to Ganja, which he hands to the Prince. He tells the Prince to open the letter, but the Prince says he will give it straight back to Ganja.

The Prince heads off to the Yephanchin party. It is not a big party and the Prince loses his nervousness when he sees society people are not so bad. Initially he only answers questions put to him, but by the end of the chapter, he is becoming increasingly comfortable and on the verge of diving into one of his speeches.

General Yephanchin introduces the Prince to Ivan Petrovitch. He is a relation of the Prince's benefactor, Pavicheff, and the two of them begin a conversation. Petrovitch says Pavicheff converted to Catholicism before his death. The remark upsets the Prince, saying that is impossible. Pavicheff was a religious man and in the Prince's opinion, the Catholic Church is not Christian. The Prince continues into a discourse about religion. Earlier, the Prince had changed seats to sit nearer Petrovitch and unfortunately for the Prince, nearer the vase. As his speech becomes more rapid, the Prince sprays out his arms and knocks over the vase. Seeing it broken on the floor, he goes into shock.

Seeing him upset at such a trivial matter everybody laughs. Madam Yephanchin approaches the Prince and tells him it is no matter; it is only a vase. This cheers up the Prince and he starts talking about his nerves and how everybody is much nicer than he imagined. Again, his speech becomes agitated, but this time he stands up and starts walking to the middle of the room. Aglaya runs to him, catching the Prince as he falls into a seizure. At the end of the chapter, Madam Yephanchin decides the Prince is a bad match for her daughter.

The Prince's seizure is not one of his bad fits and the next day he is feeling much better. People come to visit, but their mood is strange and the Prince thinks something is wrong. The Yephanchin's arrive to tell the Prince they are still his friend. Aglaya does not say anything, but she smiles brightly at the Prince upon arriving and leaving. Just before Aglaya leaves, she manages to get a message across to the Prince via Vera. She wants the Prince to stay at his house until 7 pm.

Hippolite comes to see the Prince. As usual, he is trying to stir up trouble. He tells the Prince he saw Ganja and Aglaya in the park. The Prince says he does not want to know and kindly asks Hippolite to keep quiet on the subject. Hippolite says he has own business to discuss with the Prince. He tells Myshkin he has been busy arranging a meeting between Agalaya, Rogozhin and Nastassya that very evening.

When Agalaya comes to pick up the Prince, he already knows exactly where they are going. They walk to Daria Alexyevna's house. In the house, Aglaya shouts at Nastassya, exposing her many faults. Nastassya has very little to say in return, and at Aglaya's request, she banishes Rogozhin from the room. Aglaya then asks the Prince which of the women he loves. The Prince criticizes Aglaya for being so cruel towards Nastassya and Aglaya runs from the room. Myskin steps forward to stop Aglaya, but Natassya faints in his arms.

Rogozhin revives Nastassya with water. At first, she is confused, but when she realizes what has happened, she is happy. She asks Rogozhin to leave the house and for the Prince to stay.

The Prince arranges to marry Nastassya. All his friends denounce him and accuse him of causing Aglaya's current ill health. Radomsky comes to visit the Prince and points where the Prince has gone wrong. The Prince explains he tried to run after Aglaya, but Natassya prevented him from doing so. He tells Radomsky he is in love with Aglaya and asks Radomsky to give her a letter. Radomsky refuses and leaves.

General Ivolgin dies after a second stroke. His death reconciles the Prince with his friends. At the funeral, the Prince sees Rogozhin.

Keller meets with the Prince and tells him Lebedyev is conspiring to put Myshkin into a mental hospital. When the Prince sees Lebedev, he openly admits that was the case, but his attempt failed. Earlier in the week he had told the Prince he was ill and sent for a doctor. Lebedev wanted the Doctor to declare the Prince insane, but the doctor said he had never met anyone saner in his life.

Hippolite's mother summons the Prince. She tells him Hippolite wants to see him. Hippolite warns the Prince about Rogozhin. Rogozhin knows the Prince is still in love with Aglaya, and Hippolyte says Rogozhin is capable of killing Aglaya just to get at the Prince. Meanwhile Nastassya is becoming increasingly unstable. She thinks Rogozhin is watching her from the garden.

However, on the day of the wedding, Nastassya is happy enough, laughing with her maids of honor. When she approaches the church in her wedding dress, everyone proclaims how beautiful she looks. She is just about to enter the church when Rogozhin runs to the front of the crowd. Nastassya runs to him and begs Rogozhin to take her away. Immediately Rogozhin calls for a carriage and they head off to St Petersburg.

The Prince takes the news philosophically, surprising the guests with his good humor. After the wedding, he goes home and asks Vera to wake him up in the morning, so he can take the first train into St. Petersburg. In the morning he heads off, promising Vera he will come back that evening.

The Prince goes to Rogozhin's house, but the servant says she has not seen him. However, the Prince catches up with Rogozhin's porter who confirms Rogozhin was at the house all night. He tells the Prince that Nastassya was not with him. From here, the Prince goes to Nastassya's flat, but she is not there. He goes back to Rogozhin's home and he again has no luck. After going back and forth for a while he decides if Rogozhin wants him, he will come and find him.

Rogozhin finds the Prince at the hotel and takes him back to his house. When they enter, Rogozhin tells him to be quiet and leads the Prince up to his room. The prince asks where Nastassya is, and Rogozhin tells him she is on the bed behind the curtain. Rogozhin pulls back the curtain to reveal Nastassya's dead body. The Prince asks if Rogozhin murdered her and he says yes, claiming if he cannot have her, no one can. The Prince accepts Rogozhin's invitation to stay the night beside Nastassya's body. During the night, Rogozhin shouts, cries and paces up and down the room, while the Prince calms him down by stroking his cheek and speaking soothingly. In the morning, Rogozhin's brother breaks into the room to find Rogozhin unconscious with fever and the unresponsive Prince sitting motionless beside him.

Rogozhin suffers from brain fever for two months afterwards before a judge sends him to Siberia for 15 years. The Prince goes back to the hospital in Switzerland. He recognizes nobody and spends his time staring into space. Aglaya runs off with a Polish Count.

Part IV Ch. VI-XII Analysis

Fate is the drive for all three main characters, and they believe too much in being themselves to change it. From very early in the book, the Prince says Rogozhin will murder Nastassya, and even Nastassya know this is the case. Before her weeding day, she fears Rogozhin is in the garden ready to pounce. Rogozhin himself is so aware of his urge to murder that his dark thoughts communicate themselves to other characters. In this section, Hippolite warns the Prince that Rogozhin could murder Aglaya to get back at the Prince. It is interesting that Hippolite says this as he is another character driven by fate. He knows he is going to die and consequently has stopped trying to fit in. The other characters, and particularly the Yephanchins, distant themselves from the unfolding tragedy, showing their fear of life and anything that contradicts their secure life style. The Prince, Rogozhin and Nastassya are not made for such pretense and their self destruction comes willingly, realizing life for them cannot be any different.

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(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
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