Maximov is a "sponger": a former landowner, now impoverished, who relies on the kindness of others to get by. He's a silly old man who loves to drink, party, and tell stories, usually about his own humiliations. He's the guy people keep around so they don't have to party alone. After being passed off from one character to another, Grushenka takes pity on him and keeps him around as a kind of pet. Ivan's encounter with the devil is made all the more ridiculous because the devil is also described as a sponger, like Maximov.