Vanja Antonijevic's Reviews > The Idiot

The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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's review
Dec 28, 2007

it was amazing
Recommended for: Everyone who has previously read Dostoevsky
Read in November, 2004

The "Idiot" is probably my favorite Dostoevsky book, which would also make it one of my favorite books of all time. As mentioned in my other reviews, there are more entertaining books by Dostoevsky (ie. “Notes from Underground”), more psychologically insightful (ie. “Crime and Punishment”), more profound (ie. “Brothers Karamazov”), and more political (“Demons”). This book, however, may be Dostoevsky’s best blend of entertainment, human psychology, and deep symbolism.

This novel's plot involves the return of a naive man, called Prince Myshkin, otherwise known as "the idiot", to St. Petersburg, after spending time in a Swiss sanatorium. During his return, Myshkin is quickly able to form a friendship with a General, his wife, and three daughters.

The plot twists once Myshkin is thrown into a love triangle involving one of the general’s daughters, and a mysterious woman named Natashya Filippovna. This innocent, naive, child-like, and amiable "idiot" soon becomes thrown into a series of increasingly more terrible events.

The deeper meaning and symbolism behind the book's plot is the almost inescapable corruption of a morally ideal man, a sort of Russian Christ-figure, by a cruel society. Thus, even a god among men (in moral terms) is dismissed by society as a naive, blundering, "idiot", who people cannot wait to exploit.
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