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The Idiot

The Idiot

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Foil

Character Role Analysis

Aglaya/Nastasya

Almost every male character in the novel has to choose between these two ladies, who seem to be split on a Jem versus Pizzaz continuum. (Jem and the Holograms? Hello? How could you have forgotten this staple of 80's TV cartoons? Okay, Shmoop might be dating ourselves here with this callback.)

We've got Aglaya who is sexually pure, rich, and socially well placed. Then we've got Nastasya, who is definitely from the wrong side of the tracks, and who is a little too S&M for anyone's comfort. It definitely seems as though the novel wants to set them up as comparisons to each other. Except…well, are their personalities so very dissimilar? Isn't there something to Nastasya's idea that at a different time in a different place she could easily have grown up to be Aglaya?


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