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MonkeyNotes-The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
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This chapter unfolds the relationship between General
Yepanchin and Trotsky. Ivan Trotsky had enjoyed a relationship
with Nastasya but had got tired of her after a time. To acquire his
freedom, he approaches the General for help. He wants General
Yepanchin to persuade his secretary, Gavrila Ardalionovich, to
marry Nastasya and release him from bondage. The General
agrees to help him because Trotsky shows inclination to marry
one of his elder daughters. Thus the two men meet Nastasya and
tempt her with money if she marries Ganya. In the process of
putting forth Ganya’s case, the General falls for the charms of
Nastasya. He decides to gift the girl with a string of pearls and
win her favor.

Both Trotsky and Yepanchin use others for their gain. Trotsky
lavishes attention on Nastasya and provides her with the
comforts of life because he wants to have an affair with her.
Later when he turns his affection on someone else, he bestows
her with an endowment after marriage, so that she would start
life with another man and leave him alone. Trotsky befriends
Yepanchin because he is interested in one of the General’s elder
daughters and he wants Yepanchin to put pressure on Ganya to
marry Nastasya. For his selfish interest, he makes use of
Nastasya and Ganya.

General Yepanchin decides to help Trotsky because he is
interested in the latter marrying one of his daughters. He thus
forces Ganya to propose to Nastasya. He is not bothered about
the feelings of Ganya. Also he has a soft corner for Nastasya and
he feels he can flirt with the girl even if Ganya marries her.
However, he is disturbed that his wife is aware of his feelings for
Nastasya and is thus, afraid to confront Lizaveta. When the
Prince makes his appearance and introduces himself as a relative
of Lizavets, Yepanchin is happy not because he likes the Prince
but because he can now divert the attention of his wife from
himself to the Prince. General Yepanchin is as shrewd and
selfish as Trotsky is.

It is ironical that Trotsky wants to get rid of Nastasya and turns
to Yepanchin for help. Yepanchin convinces Ganya to marry
Nastasya with a view to release Trotsky from the girl. In the
process, he is attracted towards Nastasya and dreams of having
an affair with her. It is a complicated but interesting situation. It
compels the readers to browse through the next few chapters in
order to know the outcome of the situation.

The character of Nastasya Philippovna is revealed in this chapter.
In the first chapter, Rogozhin talks about Nastasya ’s beauty and
talent. In this chapter, the readers become aware of her sturdy
will and independent nature. She remains faithful to Trotsky but
when he thwarts her affections, she threatens to spoil his life.
Later, when Trotsky tempts her with a secure future with Ganya,
she does not commit herself since she is aware of the ulterior
motive of Trotsky. She wants to be convinced about the intention
of Ganya before marrying him. To achieve her purpose, she gets
in touch with the Yepanchin girls. Thus, Nastasya shows herself
as a beauty with brains and common sense.

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MonkeyNotes-The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky


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