Dostoyevsky and the Problem of God Elissa Kiskaddon "Nothing is more seductive for man than his freedom of conscience.
Endowed with Christ-like spiritual attributes and professing a childlike, innocent belief in the possibility of achieving heaven on earth, Myshkin obliviously enters a Russian society corroded by avariciousness, moral corruption, and spiritual desolation. The ensuing action presents a starkly apocalyptic and pessimistic vision of how inconsequential goodness and humility are in the midst of a society on the verge of moral and spiritual disintegration.
Biographical Information Dostoevsky wrote The Idiot between andat a time when he endured dire financial and emotional difficulties. In an effort to avoid his numerous creditors, Dostoevsky and his wife fled Russia and traveled from city to city in Europe, trying to eke out a humble living.
During this gloomy period of poverty, the author suffered a number of serious bouts of epilepsy, which left him in a fragile emotional and physical condition.
Some critics and biographers have speculated that Dostoevsky endowed Myshkin with epilepsy in an almost cathartic attempt to come to terms with the circumstances of his own condition. Dostoevsky also continued to succumb to his obsession with gambling, which left Essay dostoyevsky desperate and penniless.
To that end, he began work on a novel which he had promised the journal Russian Messenger. When The Idiot appeared in serial form beginning inreaders responded with bewilderment to what they considered to be incomplete characters, an incoherent narrative structure, and a fantastical, unrealistic setting.
Given the initial reticence of the periodical subscribers, publishers were reluctant to purchase the book rights to the novel.
Indeed, readers and commentators alike considered The Idiot a step backward for Dostoevsky after the resounding popular success of his previous novel, Crime and Punishment Myshkin had been receiving treatment for epilepsy in a Swiss sanatorium, and now was on his way to visit his distant relatives, the Epanchins, in Russia.
At first, Myshkin is welcomed into the upper-class society as something of a curiosity, a penniless and childlike character upon whom the cynical group focuses with amusement.
Almost immediately upon arriving, Myshkin makes clear his dream to influence all of his acquaintances on the merits of living a life of honesty and humility.
Despite his good intentions, Myshkin succeeds in embarrassing and offending nearly everyone with whom he comes in contact, but his presence, however awkward, becomes tolerated when he receives a sizable inheritance from a distant relative.
Through his platonic admiration of Nastasya Filoppovna, Myshkin unwittingly makes himself a rival for her hand in marriage, sending her other suitor, Rogozhin, into a jealous rage.
Ippolit has died, Filippovna has been murdered, Rogozhin has been incarcerated, Aglaya runs away from Russia, and Myshkin regresses into a state of childlike idiocy. Dostoevsky represents him as a young man whose emotional and intellectual development has been arrested by the circumstances surrounding his illness.
Although physically he is a man, he has the innocent personality of a child. In this regard, Myshkin represents a Christ-like figure, a character of innate goodness, who believes that humility and brotherly love can transform the earth into a kind of heaven where all humankind can live in harmony.
Here, Dostoevsky carefully contrives an elaborate allegorical structure to accentuate the conflict between Myshkin and his acquaintances.
The author employs a vast array of images, proper names, geographic places, physical descriptions, and biblical references to evoke moral decay, social chaos, and a pessimistic vision of the current spiritual state of Russia.
Further, this spiritual decline signals an apocalyptic omen for Dostoevsky, and he integrates this idea into the fabric of his story as well.
Critical Reception From the time of the publication of The Idiot, readers and commentators alike have been highly dissatisfied with what they perceive as loosely drawn characters, an incoherent narrative, and an artificial structural unity in the work.
It has been suggested that these issues perhaps reflect the difficult circumstances under which Dostoevsky wrote his novel.
Indeed, in recent decades many critics have attempted to salvage the literary merits of The Idiot, arguing that while the novel might be structurally deficient, it is also rich in esoteric spiritual and philosophical insights.
In fact, one critic, Robert Hollander has perceptively argued that Dostoevsky ingeniously integrated the apocalyptic vision of the Book of Revelations into the structural framework of The Idiot to unify the characters and narrative action of the novel. Indeed, critics such as Janet G.
Tucker have argued that the time has come to move beyond the simplistic view that Myshkin is merely a one-dimensional, Christ-like character.Dostoevsky's canon includes novels, novellas, novelettes, short stories, essays, pamphlets, limericks, epigrams and poems.
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Essay Analysis Of Fyodor Dostoyevsky 's Crime And Punishment The protagonist, Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, in Fyodor Dostoyevsky 's Crime and Punishment is a . The Search for Dostoyevsky in Crime and Punishment Essay The Search for Dostoyevsky in Crime and Punishment Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky who is known as a great novelist wrote timeless classics such as The Idiot, Crime and Punishment, and The Brothers Karamazov, was not only a novelist, but a good psychologist who uncovered .
In Dostoevsky's The Idiot: A Critical Companion, edited by Liza Knapp, pp. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern .