Study Guide

The Idiot Part 3, Chapter 3

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 3, Chapter 3

  • Everyone goes back to the Epanchins' house after the craziness at the vauxhall, and they are all shaken up. Myshkin sits outside on the terrace while the family freaks out inside the house.
  • After a while, Aglaya comes out on the terrace and makes a huge deal about not expecting to see Myshkin there.
  • She then starts talking about duels, and how Myshkin really needs to bone up on his pistol-firing. He's all, whaaaat? But also he's so psyched just to be sitting next to her that this is all he cares about.
  • General Epanchin comes out to go somewhere. Myshkin is way bummed to be forced to leave, but he goes with General Epanchin anyway.
  • The general rants about something, but we don't really know what because Myshkin isn't paying any attention to what he is saying.
  • Eventually, the prince tunes back in, and finds out that all that stuff Nastasya said about Radomsky's uncle was totally true. He did shoot himself, and he had been embezzling a ton of money. And, even more telling, Radomsky really did seem to resign his military commission as if he knew that something like this would eventually be discovered. So, yeah, not the world's most honest fellow, that guy.
  • Oh, and we also get some more interesting news. Turns out Radomsky already tried proposing to Aglaya a month earlier, and she turned him down flat. So Myshkin has that going for him, which is nice.
  • General Epanchin then starts complaining that Aglaya is way too obnoxious to her mother and to him. Basically, he's stressed that she's acting like a teenager.
  • And finally, one last reveal—Aglaya apparently told her mom and dad that Nastasya is doing her best to try to get Myshkin and Aglaya together. That's why she's put so much effort into making Radomsky look so bad.
  • The general ends by telling Myshkin how much the Epanchin family loves him, and then leaves.
  • The prince then pulls out a piece of paper—a note that Aglaya slipped to him on the terrace, when she was so way totally shocked—shocked!—to find him out there that she came outside with a pre-written note.
  • The note tells him yet again to come find her at the bench. Myshkin is on cloud nine.
  • He runs smack into Keller, who is all psyched to be his second. Wait, his second what? Oh, cripes, Keller also thinks that dude from the vauxhall is going to challenge him to a duel for holding his arms back from hitting Nastasya. Myshkin starts laughing about this and feverishly runs off into the park.
  • He wanders around in the park, falling deeper and deeper in love with Aglaya, until he suddenly sees Rogozhin. Dun dun dun. But, no knife this time.
  • They have kind of a weird conversation. It turns out that Myshkin sent Rogozhin a letter forgiving him for the whole knife thing, and saying that he just wants to be exchanged-cross-brothers again. Rogozhin isn't happy about being forgiven—actually it seems to make him hate Myshkin even more, which is a pretty subtle bit of psychological astuteness, there, Mr. Dostoevsky. Well, done, sir.
  • Myshkin again tells Rogozhin that he thinks that Nastasya is way crazy and needs professional help. Rogozhin is all, dude, she's totally sane, chill out.
  • Rogozhin also confirms that Nastasya wants to see Myshkin and Aglaya together. The two women have been writing each other letters, apparently, and she has promised to marry Rogozhin as soon as Myshkin is married.
  • Rogozhin is really confused by this, since he thinks Nastasya is still secretly in love with Myshkin herself. He tells Myshkin about the torments of being with someone that you don't totally trust. Apparently he's now having Nastasya followed by a detective to make sure she's not cheating on him.
  • Suddenly, Myshkin is like, oh, wait, I totally forgot, tomorrow is my birthday.
  • They decide to go to Myshkin's house to have a drink to celebrate.

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