Study Guide

The Idiot Part 2, Chapter 3

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Part 2, Chapter 3

  • Myshkin decides to see if General Epanchin is around, since he would probably still have business in the city, but first, he goes to the house of—wait for it—Rogozhin.
  • The plot thickens. Okay, not really, all these characters are just constantly in each other's face, and we see this twist coming from a mile away.
  • Rogozhin lives in a gross, old, falling-apart house. They used to hang out regularly back in Moscow, but now haven't seen each other for three months.
  • They chitchat about the house. There's some weird hostility in the conversation, and both are pretty suspicious of each other. Why?
  • Yeah, good question. The novel is often kind of vague about people's thought processes, no?
  • So, anyhoodle, the chit chat: Myshkin wonders why Rogozhin's house is so gloomy and depressing and ominous, and Rogozhin wonders what on earth Myshkin is even doing there in the first place. Good question.
  • Rogozhin confesses that when Myshkin is around, he likes him, but as soon as he goes away, Rogozhin starts to get all paranoid about his motives.
  • And now, finally, the meat of the thing—Nastasya.
  • Rogozhin starts spilling the beans about their love triangle. Basically, Myshkin loves Nastasya, but not with real love—more with pity. Which, ugh, is just the worst. So no wonder she keeps running away from him. That, we guess, and the fact that when they were together they kept it totally platonic.
  • Meanwhile, when she's with Rogozhin, they are definitely getting it on, but we get the sense that it's more hate sex than love sex.
  • This is why she feels cheap and whore-like afterwards. Also, at one point Rogozhin beat the crap out of her, and then spent three days in her house on his knees not eating to earn her forgiveness. So, maybe not the healthiest relationship. You know, we're not professionals or anything, but we're just saying, maybe this isn't the way to go.
  • Nastasya ended up forgiving Rogozhin and then getting the upper hand in the relationship, briefly. But all along she and her friends have been stressed that he is kind of murderous-seeming and could easily kill her. Again, that might be a warning sign.
  • Myshkin is horrified by all of this and says that if his love is pity, then Rogozhin's love is just spite. Man. This is some disturbed stuff right here.
  • The conversation peters out after Rogozhin tells Myshkin that the real reason Nastasya hasn't married him yet (since secretly she enjoys being beaten) is that she is actually in love with Myshkin but feels like she is way gross and would pollute his life if they ever actually got together.
  • So, okay, just so we're clear: Rogozhin is a sadist, Nastasya is a self-hating masochist, and Myshkin is an asexual saint. And we guess that makes us voyeurs?
  • Myshkin starts playing with a huge new knife that is sitting on the table. Rogozhin is all stressed about this and takes the knife away from him.
  • Hint, hint. It's a big new knife. Not to be all spoilerific here, but maybe that's something to keep in mind for later.

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