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The Idiot

The Idiot


by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Idiot Love Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

But the general never murmured later against his early marriage, never regarded it as the infatuation of an improvident youth, and respected his wife so much, and sometimes feared her so much, that he even loved her. (1.2.2)

Wow, what do you think about this game of emotional hopscotch? From respect to fear to love. Shmoop's kind of expecting the next step to lead to the dark side of the force.

Quote #2

"I long sought to meet Marie alone; and at last I did meet her, on the hillside beyond the village. I gave her the eight francs and asked her to take care of the money because I could get no more; and then I kissed her and said that she was not to suppose I kissed her with any evil motives or because I was in love with her, for that I did so solely out of pity for her […]. Just at this moment the whole troop of children saw us. […] I told them how unhappy Marie was, and after a while they stopped their abuse of her, and let her go by silently. Little by little we got into the way of conversing together, the children and I. I concealed nothing from them, I told them all. They listened very attentively and soon began to be sorry for Marie. […] Later, when everyone […] was angry with me for hiding nothing from the children, I pointed out how foolish it was, for they always knew things, only they learnt them in a way that soiled their minds but not so from me. […] They imagined that I was in love with Marie, and this was the only point on which I did not undeceive them." (1.6.15-19)

So if he's such a truth-teller, why does Myshkin withhold the info about not really being in love with Marie from the children? Is this manipulative? Is he engaging in the same kind of censorship that he disparages so much? Is he fooling others or fooling himself?

Quote #3

"She has promised to tell me tonight at her own house whether she consents or not," replied Ganya.

"We have been silent on this subject for three weeks," said his mother, "and it was better so; and now I will only ask you one question. How can she give her consent and make you a present of her portrait when you do not love her? […] how could you so blind her?"

Nina Alexandrovna's question betrayed intense annoyance. Ganya waited a moment and then said, without taking the trouble to conceal the irony of his tone:

"There you are, mother, you are always like that. You begin by promising that there are to be no reproaches or insinuations or questions, and here you are beginning them at once. We had better drop the subject […]. Besides, how do you know that I am deceiving Nastasya Philipovna?" (1.8.133-138)

Ganya might well have the most complicated feelings of any character in the novel. We find out that at one point, he really did love Nastasya, but then as soon as there was money on the table, he began to despise her. That's a little something called transference in psychology jargon. No, no, Shmoop's not really a doctor; Shmoop just plays one in this learning guide.

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