© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Idiot

The Idiot


by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Idiot Power Quotes

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

Quote #1

General Epanchin lived in his own house near the Litaynaya. Besides this large residence—five-sixths of which was let in flats and lodgings—the general was owner of another enormous house in the Sadovaya bringing in even more rent than the first. Besides these houses he had a delightful little estate just out of town, and some sort of factory in another part of the city. In the old days, General Epanchin, as everyone knew, had participated in tax farming. Now he participated and had quite a considerable voice in several important joint-stock companies. He had the reputation of a man with big money, big doings, and big connections. He had made himself indispensable in several quarters, his own department of the government among others; and yet it was a known fact that Fedor Ivanovitch Epanchin was a man of no education whatever, and had absolutely risen from the ranks. (1.2.1)

We kind of forget this when we really get into the plot of the book, but this dude is rolling in it! And think about the influence and connections he must have! Well done, sir.

Quote #2

Ganya used to grind his teeth with rage over the state of affairs; though he was anxious to be dutiful and polite to his mother. However, it was very soon apparent to anyone coming into the house, that Ganya was the tyrant of the family. (1.8.2)

Ganya is totally one of those guys who immediately abuses any sliver of power he gets over anyone else. Seriously, just how lame of a person do you have to be to lord it over your own mom in a house you're not even paying for? Ugh.

Quote #3

"If I am admitted and tolerated here," he had said one day, "it is simply because I talk in this way. How can anyone possibly receive such a man as I am? I quite understand. Now, could I, a Ferdishenko, be allowed to sit shoulder to shoulder with a clever man like Afanasy Ivanovitch? There is one explanation, only one. I am given the position because it is so entirely inconceivable!"

But these vulgarities seemed to please Nastasya Philipovna, although too often they were both rude and offensive. Those who wished to go to her house were forced to put up with Ferdishenko. Possibly the latter was not mistaken in imagining that he was received simply in order to annoy Totsky, who disliked him extremely. Ganya also was often made the butt of the jester's sarcasms, who used this method of keeping in Nastasya Philipovna's good graces. (1.13.31-32)

Check out the layer upon layer of power plays here. Ferdishenko gets his power from being amusing to Nastasya, in whose presence lots of people want to be and therefore put up with the odious Ferdishenko. Nastasya also gets off on Ferdishenko annoying Totsky (and pretty much everyone else). And Ganya leverages the fact that he's willing to sit there and be the target of Ferdishenko's insults as a way of getting closer to Nastasya. That is one heck of a power onion!

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...