One of the great features of many of Dostoevsky’s stories is that they often boil down to very simple — or at least succinctly-stated — philosophical ideas or questions. For Crime and Punishment that question might be, more or less “is anyone above common morality?” For The Gambler, it might be “is addiction stronger than love?”
In ‘The Idiot’, Dostoevsky explores the question “Where does the truly good man fit in society?” It follows the journey of the saintly Prince Myshkin, the titular idiot and, like Dostoevsky himself, an epileptic, as he returns to Russia after a decade-long convalescence in Switzerland. Because of his long seclusion and long bouts with darkness and “idiocy”, Myshkin is a perfect innocent — honest, trusting, forgiving and generous. In short, he is a good man, and the bourgeois society into which he is suddenly thrust simply has no idea what to do with him. Nor is he anywhere near prepared for the intrigue and hypocrisy of his new life.
People in this book make stupid choices, and their misery is primarily a result of these stupid choices. “The Idiot” refers not to The Prince’s intellectual capacity but to his inability to understand and emulate the manipulative, multi-layered social interactions of the society he enters upon returning to Russia. Because everything he does is simple and straightforward, he comes off as an “idiot”.
1.I am already loving the fact the next three months there is almost anything I can do and that too without a timetable.
2. This blog is not going to be book review blog I just wrote this post since I had nothing else to write about.(despite posts like this will continue) and I just hope Sukrit starts writing again soon.