Study Guide

The Idiot Part 2, Chapter 10

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 2, Chapter 10

  • Ippolit starts saying something, but Myshkin instead gets an earful from Radomsky. (Remember him? The Epanchin's brought him, and we get the sense that he's supposed to be marriage material for one of them.)
  • Radomsky predicts that Ippolit is going to confess something and then get so embarrassed that he'll pull some crazy stunt.
  • Myshkin tunes in just in time to hear that apparently Lebedev, his host, actually helped edit that crazy article accusing him of all sorts of horrible things.
  • Lebedev blusters and then acts sorry for himself, but Myshkin has already forgiven him. (Get it? He pretty much forgives everyone for all kinds of sins? Kinda like another dude from a long time ago? Yeah.)
  • Ippolit, meanwhile, starts rambling. He's all delirious and feverish and can't figure out how to get the words out.
  • He tells Mrs. Epanchin that he loves her, based on what he knows about her from Kolya. No, no, don't get any ideas—he's eighteen years old and loves her like a mom.
  • But he's saying all this with a mocking voice, and Mrs. Epanching gets kind of fed up.
  • General Epanchin is all, hey, you little jerk, she's only listening to you because you seem so sick, so stop your attitude.
  • Radomsky then butts in again, and tries to nail down Ippolit's political beliefs. It's hard because nihilism is sort of hard to pin down, and also because Ippolit isn't really in the best shape for a political debate. But still, Radomsky gets in a jab about how this belief system boils down to a simple "might makes right."
  • Then Ippolit starts waxing philosophical about death. We get the sense that he is pretty terrified to die. Which, he's eighteen, so that's understandable.
  • He starts crying and invites the General to his funeral, then says that the only reason he came there in the first place is to see some trees—in the city, there's no greenery.
  • Ippolit then gets hysterical and kind of paranoid, yelling at the totally silent people to stop laughing at him.
  • Finally, he completely freaks out, saying that Jesus Christ was pointless, since there's been so much bloodshed after he died, and also unleashing some pretty crazy hate and rage at Myshkin. (Okay, let's take a second and process this really quick. So, it's pretty clear that Jesus and Myshkin are getting connected here in Ippolit's ranting. Which, we already kind of figured out that connection, although it has never been confirmed by any other character before. But also, we can see that Ippolit's beliefs are sort of the opposite of all of Myshkin's beliefs, which makes Ippolit a kind of human Satan/Antichrist figure. Whoa, this just got heavy all of a sudden. Phew.)
  • No one really knows what to do with this tantrum-throwing teenager.
  • Someone obviously has to stay with him because he really is not ok, but at the same time the Epanchins kind of want to take Myshkin home with them.
  • But Myshkin is worn out by all of this stuff also, so the Epanchins leave with Radomsky.
  • On the way out, they're in for another nasty shock—it's some woman whose face we don't see.
  • She pulls up in a carriage and starts yelling to Radomsky not to worry about those debts they were talking about earlier—she's taken care of them.
  • She drives away, and he's all, um, I have no idea what she's talking about. Debts? What debts? I've never seen her before in my life.
  • Basically, he seems to be protesting a bit too much, and Mrs. Epanchin storms off.

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