Prince Myshkin

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Prince Lev Nikolaevich Myshkin (Князь Лев Никола́евич Мы́шкин) is the protagonist of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel The Idiot. Dostoyevsky wanted to create a character that was "entirely positive... with an absolutely beautiful nature",[1] someone who was like Christ. According to Joseph Frank, the character of Prince Myshkin approaches "the extremest incarnation of the Christian ideal of love that humanity can reach in its present form, but he is torn apart by the conflict between the contradictory imperatives of his apocalyptic aspirations and his earthly limitations."[2]

Prince Myshkin has been in Switzerland for the last four years, at a sanatorium for treatment of his epilepsy. At age 26, having recovered his health, and in possession of a legal document suggesting entitlement to a significant inheritance, he returns to Russia. In St. Petersburg, his purity and guilelessness lead many to the false conclusion that he is an "idiot". In fact he possesses an incisive intellect, deep emotional intelligence, and a wisdom that surpasses all the other characters in the novel.


  1. ^ Frank, Joseph (2010). Dostoevsky A Writer in His Time. Princeton University press. p. 577. ISBN 978-0-691-12819-1. 
  2. ^ Frank, Joseph. Dostoevsky a writer in His Time. p. 577.