Study Guide

The Idiot Part 4, Chapter 11

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 4, Chapter 11

  • Okay, this chapter is a doozy. Seriously, we recommend sitting down and taking this one slow. Well, at least the second part of the chapter, anyway.
  • The first part is Myshkin's mad dash around Petersburg to try to find Rogozhin and Nastasya.
  • At the Rogozhins' house, the servants tell him slightly conflicting stories about how Rogozhin either isn't there, or was there but isn't there now. So, a little suspect.
  • Then at a friend of Nastasya's house where she often stays when in Petersburg, her friends are all psyched to hear news of the wedding—and clearly haven't seen Nastasya or heard about the fact that she escaped with Rogozhin just before the wedding happened.
  • Myshkin quickly rushes back to Rogozhin's house again to see if he can make the servants talk this time.
  • As all of this is happening, the prince is more and more going out of his mind. We get the sense that he already knows what's up, and that his mind is just straight up shutting down rather than letting him consciously think about what he's about to find.
  • After another useless bout of nothing from the servants, Myshkin decides to get a hotel room for the night, and goes to the same place where he stayed before.
  • Again, he goes back to Rogozhin's. Nothing. He goes back to Nastasya's friend's house. Nothing. He checks out her old room there, and learns that she and Rogozhin used to play cards.
  • The prince walks back to his hotel, thinking about all the things that have happened. And really, it's been a lot of things for a pretty short amount of time, no?
  • Suddenly he realizes that maybe Rogozhin would come to him instead of him needing to find Rogozhin. He walks slowly out of his hotel, to the place where Rogozhin had threatened him with a knife that time. (Remember that? Good times.)
  • Right near that spot he hears a whisper in his ear. It's Rogozhin. Whoa.
  • Rogozhin says that Nastasya is at his house, but that they have to sneak into the house so the servants don't know that they are there, and Myshkin is all, okay, cool.
  • They go together but on opposite sides of the street so no one sees them together.
  • In the house, it's deadly quiet and Rogozhin is being really weird. Myshkin is like, so…where's Nastasya?
  • Rogozhin points into the bedroom, and when Myshkin comes in there. She's dead on the bed, under a sheet.
  • Rogozhin fesses up to killing her. Um, yeah, you think?
  • Myshkin starts shaking and Rogozhin worries about him having a seizure—they would immediately be found there. Myshkin tells him that the servants already know something is up anyway.
  • Rogozhin tells the prince that Nastasya came with him willingly, and was even all on board with tip-toeing in and keeping super-quiet because she was scared that Myshkin would catch up with them somehow.
  • He then suggests that he and Myshkin sleep there that night on some cushions on the floor, though he is starting to worry about the rotting corpse smell. He claims to have covered her in four bottles of the best disinfectant and some oil cloth—but still the smell is there.
  • Okay, this is getting into some really weird quasi-necrophilia type stuff here, no?
  • Myshkin asks if Rogozhin was planning to kill her all along. Rogozhin is like, huh, I have no idea. But he didn't bring the knife to the wedding with him, so maybe not. But he does volunteer the info that when he stabbed her there's was almost no blood—something Myshkin says is due to internal hemorrhage. Well, that's very helpful. Thanks for clearing that up—certainly it's the lack of blood that was the central question that was on everyone's mind at this point.
  • Rogozhin hears footsteps and they lock the door.
  • Myshkin asks for the deck of cards that Rogozhin and Nastasya used to play with, but when Rogozhin gets them, he suddenly realizes that he hasn't been talking about what he wanted to talk about, or acting in the way he wanted to act. (What do you think he that he wanted to be talking about?)
  • As night turns to morning Rogozhin starts to act more and more crazy, and less and less coherent.
  • Myshkin watches him with terror. Then he starts petting his face and hair as Rogozhin's mind wanders. (Remember how he did the same thing with Nastasya after she fell into his arms after that meeting with Aglaya?)
  • This is how the police find them.
  • Myshkin is no longer able to understand what is said to him or to speak. He has totally reverted to being in the near-catatonic state that he had been in Switzerland.

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