Study Guide

The Idiot Part 2, Chapter 6

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Part 2, Chapter 6

  • Lebedev sets Myshkin up in the guest room of his dacha, and then proceeds to annoy the heck out of him by not letting anyone come visit and by hovering around constantly asking if Myshkin needs anything.
  • Myshkin calls him out on it, finally, and Lebedev stops. He does tell Myshkin that Rogozhin has been calling to check up on his health, and that Nastasya wants to have a secret meeting with him. You know what, guys? Maybe this Lebedev character isn't the best person to be setting up secret meetings with, what with the shifty dodginess. We're just saying.
  • So anyway, in the meantime, here comes Ganya and his sister Varya with her new husband, Ptitsyn.
  • And at the same moment, Kolya leads in Mrs. Epanchin and her daughters.
  • Mrs. Epanchin is sort of bummed that Myshkin is looking fine and dandy and not like he's one foot in the grave. They give her some grief about it.
  • She then complains that Lebedev and General Ivolgin are kind of gross and probably drunk. Which? Yeah, good call.
  • Aglaya asks Lebedev to come by sometime and interpret the Apocalypse for her. This is apparently his hobby or something. He is totally psyched and promises to do it ASAP.
  • After everyone is done fussing and after General Ivolgin is shamed into leaving the room with his son Ganya, Aglaya suddenly says that Ganya sure is looking great these days.
  • This is awkward, but not as awkward as the next thing…
  • …as Kolya and the Epanchins, who are all still BFF, start joking around about "the poor knight," which is something the family has apparently taken from Don Quixote and made into an inside joke. The sense we get is that this is a nickname for Myshkin, but it's never made clear.
  • In any case, Aglaya explains that "the poor knight" is a character from one of Alexander Pushkin's poems. (Okay, brain snack time: Pushkin was THE poet in Russia. Basically, think Shakespeare-level, but in Russian and in the 18th century.)
  • Aglaya goes on to say that what makes "the poor knight" so special is that he is fully committed to one ideal—so much so that he devotes his life to it. (Which, you know, could be said about Myshkin, with his pitying love for Nastasya.) Aglaya says that at first she totally didn't get it, but now she does—and that she loves and really respects "the poor knight" and his life choices. Awww.
  • She then offers to recite the poem.

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