Study Guide

The Idiot Part 4, Chapter 8

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 4, Chapter 8

  • The next morning, the prince wakes up and is totally embarrassed about the night of the party. You know, the standard morning-after routine.
  • The Epanchins show up and act kind of odd, even though they are clearly trying to be as normal as possible.
  • Next, Vera Lebedev comes in to say that Aglaya sends a message: don't leave the house until 7 at night. Huh. That's kind of cryptic.
  • Then he gets a visit from Ippolit, who is still all up in everyone else's business and really doesn't seem like he's going to die off any time soon.
  • Ippolit tells Myshkin that that morning he met at the green bench with Aglaya, Ganya, and Varya. Wait, what?
  • According to him, Aglaya gave Ganya and his sister the kiss-off, and then asked Ippolit to arrange a meeting with Nastasya. Which, again, whaaaat?
  • Ippolit then apologizes for being mean to Myshkin, and, to make it up to him, tells him that the reason Aglaya wants him to stay put is that after she sneaks out of the house to go see Nastasya, she's going to swing by and pick him up to come with.
  • Myshkin thinks about the fact that all this scheming and planning shows that Aglaya isn't quite the innocent little girl everyone thinks she is.
  • Finally, she shows up, sees that he's ready to go, and realizes that Ippolit spilled the beans.
  • They make their way to the house where Rogozhin and Nastasya are staying and come inside.
  • The two women spend a long time sizing each other up.
  • After a while, Aglaya starts to explain why she is there. Mainly, she says, she wants Nastasya to leave her and Myshkin alone. She totally calls Nastasya out on the fact that even though those letters sound like she is being a big martyr and sacrificing herself to get Myshkin and Aglaya together, in reality, Nastasya is a drama queen who is way too addicted to her own drama. After all, all she really needed to do was just marry Rogozhin and go live somewhere else, and not make a big production out of it. But of course, if she had done that, she'd have to stop playing the victim—and she's way too self-involved to do that. Yeah, good call.
  • Nastasya answers back that the only reason Aglaya is there is because she is totally jealous and wants to make sure that Myshkin loves her more than Nastasya. Which, yeah, also good call. They really have each other pegged pretty well, don't they?
  • Aglaya then really lays into Nastasya saying that she should be working for a living, not sponging off Rogozhin—honest women don't live off of men.
  • At this, Nastasya goes nuts. She starts yelling that she could order Myshkin to come back to her immediately if she wanted to, and he would do it, since before she ran away from him he had promised to be with her forever.
  • Myshkin sees Nastasya's face contorted with crazy rage and her body start to faint and feels so sorry for her that he asks Aglaya to stop, and this is enough to show Aglaya that he really won't ever escape Nastasya's clutches. She is horrified at this, and leaves.
  • Nastasya then kicks Rogozhin out.
  • The chapter ends with Myshkin stroking Nastasya's hair and face like a child. It's not really clear who the child is in this description. What do you think?

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