by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Prince Lev Nikolaevich Myshkin Timeline and Summary
- Myshkin arrives in Petersburg from Switzerland.
- On the train, he meets Rogozhin and Lebedev and tells them about being an orphan, being fostered by Pavlichev, suffering from epilepsy, and spending many years at a Swiss clinic.
- In Petersburg, he finds the Epanchins, to whom he is distantly related, and is immediately endeared to the family through his weird truthfulness.
- He gets a job with General Epanchin, rents an apartment from Epanchin's employee Ganya, and learns about Nastasya's backstory and her birthday party that night.
- Myshkin crashes the party, is stunned into pity-love by the suffering he sees in Nastasya's eyes, and proposes marriage to her with the reveal that he has a sizeable inheritance.
- The next six months, he lives with Nastasya on and off, always platonically.
- After she leaves him for good, Myshkin comes back to Petersburg and hangs out with Rogozhin for a bit, exchanging crosses in a blood-brothers style of arrangement.
- Later the same day, he is attacked by a jealous Rogozhin, who almost stabs him. Myshkin has an epileptic seizure which prevents the stabbing.
- The prince then goes off to Pavlovsk, a nearby resort town.
- He rents a room from Lebedev, and makes friends with his daughter Vera. He also again befriends the Epanchin family and starts visiting them daily—enough to fall in love with Aglaya.
- Soon after, Myshkin gets a visit from Burdovsky, who claims to be the son of the prince's benefactor and has designs on Myshkin's money.
- After Ganya debunks the Burdovsky nonsense, Myshkin takes in Ippolit, a nihilist with tuberculosis who has a huge grudge against the world.
- The prince soon listens to Ippolit's long confession-suicide note and stops him from killing himself.
- There is an unspoken understanding that Myshkin and Aglaya are engaged, though he is preoccupied with the thought that she is receiving letters from Nastasya.
- The Epanchins have a party to show Myshkin off to their society friends. He acts inappropriately, breaks a vase, and has a seizure—but still, the engagement is on the table.
- Myshkin is roped in by Aglaya into coming with her to meet with Rogozhin and Nastasya.
- At the meeting, he is disturbed by the fact that he feels a lot of love for both women, but loves them differently. After Nastasya faints, he runs to her side, and seemingly rejects Aglaya in the process.
- Myshkin again proposes to Nastasya and wedding preparations are under way despite everyone being against this terrible mismatch.
- After Nastasya runs off on the day of the wedding with Rogozhin, Myshkin follows them to Petersburg.
- He spends a day trying in vain to track them down, but that night is found by Rogozhin and is taken to his house.
- There, Myshkin sees the corpse of Nastasya and learns the story of how she pretty willingly went to her death.
- He spends the night with Rogozhin, slowly losing his mind more and more. When the police find them the next morning, he is back to a near-catatonic state.
- With the help of Kolya and Radomsky, Myshkin goes back to the Swiss clinic. The doctor pronounces his condition permanent and incurable.