From there he was assigned to a Moscow hospital, where he served as military doctor, and in , he was appointed a senior physician. In he married Maria Nechayeva. The following year, he took up a post at the Mariinsky Hospital for the poor. Mikhail Dostoevsky and Maria Dostoevskaya born Nechayeva. He was raised in the family home in the grounds of the Mariinsky Hospital for the Poor, which was in a lower class district on the edges of Moscow.
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These are drowned or will be drowned, and the healed man, from whom the devils have departed, sits at the feet of Jesus. Background[ edit ] In late s Russia there was an unusual level of political unrest caused by student groups influenced by liberal, socialist and revolutionary ideas.
He focused on the group organized by young agitator Sergey Nechayev , particularly their murder of a former comrade—Ivan Ivanov—at the Petrovskaya Agricultural Academy in Moscow.
The political polemic and parts of the philosophical novel were merged into a single larger scale project, which became Demons. Dostoevsky was an active participant in a secret revolutionary society formed from among the members of the Petrashevsky Circle.
Young, educated, upright and sensible, Anton Lavrentyevich is a local civil servant who has decided to write a chronicle of the strange events that have recently occurred in his town. Despite being a secondary character, he has a surprisingly intimate knowledge of all the characters and events, such that the narrative often seems to metamorphose into that of the omniscient third person.
According to Joseph Frank , this choice of narrative perspective enables Dostoevsky "to portray his main figures against a background of rumor, opinion and scandal-mongering that serves somewhat the function of a Greek chorus in relation to the central action.
The narrator in this sense is present merely as an agent for recording the synchronisation of multiple autonomous narratives, with his own voice weaving in and out of the contrapuntal texture. He claims that government officials viewed him as a dangerous thinker, forcing him out of academia and into exile in the provinces, but in reality it was more likely that no one of note in the government even knew who he was. In a cynical but not entirely inaccurate critique of his father, Pyotr Stepanovich describes their mutual dependence thus: "she provided the capital, and you were her sentimental buffoon.
He is utterly dependent on Varvara Petrovna financially and she frequently rescues him from the consequences of his irresponsibility. When he perceives that he has been unjust or irresponsible in relation to her, he is overcome with shame to the point of physical illness. Varvara Petrovna Stavrogina is a wealthy and influential landowner, residing on the magnificent estate of Skvoreshniki where much of the action of the novel takes place. She supports Stepan Trofimovich financially and emotionally, protects him, fusses over him, and in the process acquires for herself an idealized romantic poet, modelled somewhat on the writer Nestor Kukolnik.
Generous, noble-minded and strong willed, Varvara Petrovna prides herself on her patronage of artistic and charitable causes. She is "a classic kind of woman, a female Maecenas , who acted strictly out of the highest considerations". Pyotr Stepanovich, on his arrival in the town, is quick to take advantage of her resentment towards his father.
Varvara Petrovna almost worships her son Nikolai Vsevolodovich, but there are indications that she is aware that there is something deeply wrong.
Nikolai Vsevolodovich Stavrogin is the central character of the novel. Shatov, on the other hand, once looked up to him as a potentially great leader who could inspire Russia to a Christian regeneration. Disillusioned, he now sees him as "an idle, footloose son of a landowner", a man who has lost the distinction between good and evil. According to Shatov, Stavrogin is driven by "a passion for inflicting torment", not merely for the pleasure of harming others, but to torment his own conscience and wallow in the sensation of "moral carnality".
He describes in detail the profound inner pleasure he experiences when he becomes conscious of himself in shameful situations, particularly in moments of committing a crime. He shows signs of caring for her, but ultimately becomes complicit in her murder. The extent to which he himself is responsible for the murder is unclear, but he is aware that it is being plotted and does nothing to prevent it.
In a letter to Darya Pavlovna near the end of the novel, he affirms that he is guilty in his own conscience for the death of his wife. The father and son are a representation of the aetiological connection Dostoevsky perceived between the liberal idealists of the s and the nihilistic revolutionaries of the s.
He manages to convince his small group of co-conspirators that they are just one revolutionary cell among many, and that their part in the scheme will help set off a nationwide revolt. Pyotr Stepanovich is enamored of Stavrogin, and he tries desperately, through a combination of ensnarement and persuasion, to recruit him to the cause.
Pyotr Verkhovensky, according to Stavrogin, is "an enthusiast". This influence, in conjunction with constant undermining of authority figures like his father and the Governor, is ruthlessly exploited to bring about a breakdown of standards in society. When he was a child she took him and his sister Darya Pavlovna under her protection, and they received tutoring from Stepan Trofimovich. At university Shatov had socialist convictions and was expelled following an incident.
Having no money and not recognizing the ties of marriage, they parted almost immediately. He wandered Europe alone before eventually returning to Russia. Like the broader Slavophile movement, Pochvennichestvo asserted the paramount importance of Slavic traditions in Russia, as opposed to cultural influences originating in Western Europe, and particularly emphasized the unique mission of the Russian Orthodox Church. Shatov goes further by describing that mission as universal rather than merely Russian.
As a younger man Shatov had idolized Stavrogin, but having seen through him and guessed the secret of his marriage, he seeks to tear down the idol in a withering critique. Verkhovensky conceives the idea of having the group murder him as a traitor to the cause, thereby binding them closer together by the blood they have shed.
Alexei Nilych Kirillov is an engineer who lives in the same house as Shatov. Like Shatov, Kirillov has been deeply influenced by Stavrogin, but in a diametrically opposed way.
While inspiring Shatov with the ecstatic image of the Russian Christ, Stavrogin was simultaneously encouraging Kirillov toward the logical extremes of atheism - the absolute supremacy of the human will.
He believes that this purposeful act, by demonstrating the transcendence of this fear, will initiate the new era of the Man-God, when there is no God other than the human will.
Despite the apparent grandiosity of the idea, Kirillov is a reclusive, deeply humble, almost selfless person who has become obsessed with making himself a sacrifice for the greater good of humanity.
Other characters[ edit ] Lizaveta Nikolaevna Tushina Liza is a lively, beautiful, intelligent and wealthy young woman. She has become ambiguously involved with Stavrogin after their encounter in Switzerland and seems to oscillate between deep love and profound hatred for him. Liza becomes engaged to her cousin Mavriky Nikolaevich, but remains fixated on Stavrogin even after he openly acknowledges his marriage. She is the reluctant confidant and "nurse" of Stavrogin. Marya Timofeevna Lebyadkina is married to Nikolai Stavrogin.
Though childlike, mentally unstable and confused, she frequently demonstrates a deeper insight into what is going on, and has many of the attributes of a " holy fool ".
He receives payments for her care from Stavrogin, but he mistreats her and squanders the money on himself. He is loud, indiscreet, and almost always drunk. He considers himself a poet and frequently quotes his own verses. Although in awe of Stavrogin, he is a constant threat to maintaining the secrecy of the marriage. Stavrogin himself initially opposes the murder, but his later actions suggest a kind of passive consent.
Andrey Antonovich von Lembke is the Governor of the province and one of the principal targets of Pyotr Stepanovich in his quest for societal breakdown. Her vanity and liberal ambition are exploited by Pyotr Stepanovich for his revolutionary aims. Proceeding from unlimited freedom, I end with unlimited despotism. Equality of the herd is to be enforced by police state tactics, state terrorism, and destruction of intellectual, artistic, and cultural life. It is estimated that about a hundred million people will need to be killed on the way to the goal.
Bishop Tikhon is a monk and spiritual adviser recommended to Stavrogin by Shatov. He only appears in the censored chapter, but he has importance as the person to whom Stavrogin makes his most detailed and candid confession.
Part I[ edit ] After an almost illustrious but prematurely curtailed academic career Stepan Trofimovich Verkhovensky is residing with the wealthy landowner Varvara Petrovna Stavrogina at her estate, Skvoreshniki, in a provincial Russian town.
A troubled Varvara Petrovna has just returned from Switzerland where she has been visiting Nikolai Vsevolodovich. She berates Stepan Trofimovich for his financial irresponsibility, but her main preoccupation is an "intrigue" she encountered in Switzerland concerning her son and his relations with Liza Tushina—the beautiful daughter of her friend Praskovya.
Praskovya and Liza arrive at the town, without Nikolai Vsevolodovich who has gone to Petersburg. Varvara Petrovna suddenly conceives the idea of forming an engagement between Stepan Trofimovich and Dasha. Though dismayed, Stepan Trofimovich accedes to her proposal, which happens to resolve a delicate financial issue for him.
Matters are further complicated by the arrival of a mysterious "crippled woman", Marya Lebyadkina, to whom Nikolai Vsevolodovich is also rumoured to be connected, although no-one seems to know exactly how. A hint is given when Varvara Petrovna asks the mentally disturbed Marya, who has approached her outside church, if she is Lebyadkina and she replies that she is not.
Varvara Petrovna takes Marya and Liza who has insisted on coming with them back to Skvoreshniki. At this point the butler announces that Nikolai Vsevolodovich has arrived. As he is talking, Nikolai Stavrogin quietly enters. Varvara Petrovna stops him imperiously and, indicating Marya, demands to know if she is his lawful wife.
He looks at his mother impassively, says nothing, kisses her hand, and unhurriedly approaches Marya. She agrees and they leave. In the din that breaks out after their departure, the strongest voice is that of Pyotr Stepanovich, and he manages to persuade Varvara Petrovna to listen to his explanation for what has occurred.
According to him, Nikolai Vsevolodovich became acquainted with the Lebyadkins when he was living a life of "mockery" in Petersburg five years earlier. The downtrodden, crippled and half mad Marya had fallen hopelessly in love with him and he had responded by treating her "like a marquise". Under interrogation from Pyotr Stepanovich, Captain Lebyadkin reluctantly confirms the truth of the whole story.
He departs in disgrace as Nikolai Vsevolodovich returns from escorting Marya home. Nikolai Vsevolodovich addresses himself to Dasha with congratulations on her impending marriage, of which, he says, he was expressly informed.
An enraged Varvara Petrovna tells Stepan Trofimovich to leave her house and never come back. In the uproar that follows no-one notices Shatov, who has not said a word the entire time, walking across the room to stand directly in front of Nikolai Vsevolodovich. He looks him in the eye for a long time without saying anything, then suddenly hits him in the face with all his might.
It is Shatov who lowers his eyes, and leaves, apparently crushed. Liza screams and collapses on the floor in a faint. Part II[ edit ] News of the events at Skvoreshniki spreads through society surprisingly rapidly. The main participants seclude themselves, with the exception of Pyotr Stepanovich who actively insinuates himself into the social life of the town.
After eight days, he calls on Stavrogin and the true nature of their relations begins to become apparent. There was not, as some suspect, an explicit understanding between them. Rather Pyotr Stepanovich is trying to involve Stavrogin in some radical political plans of his own, and is avidly seeking to be of use to him. Stavrogin, while he seems to accept Pyotr Stepanovich acting on his behalf, is largely unresponsive to these overtures and continues to pursue his own agenda.
The primary object of his visit is to consult his friend Kirillov, who also lives at the house. Stavrogin has received an extraordinarily insulting letter from Artemy Gaganov, the son of a respected landowner—Pavel Gaganov—whose nose he pulled as a joke some years earlier, and has been left with no choice but to challenge him to a duel.
He asks Kirillov to be his second and to make the arrangements. Stavrogin proceeds to Shatov, and once again the background to the events at Skvoreshniki begins to reveal itself. In the past Stavrogin had inspired Shatov with exhortations of the Russian Christ, but this marriage and other actions have provoked a complete disillusionment, which Shatov now angrily expresses.
Mizilkree Stavrogin continues on foot to a distant part of town where deomns intends to call at the new residence of the Lebyadkins. All are slaves and equal in their slavery. It is important to emphasize the philosophical and socio-political content of the dialogues The Demons is a thought-provoking book that captures the attention of the reader by the richness of detail, the engaging and differentiated narration. Demons — NO spoilers 23 98 Aug 15, Shocked by some of the antics in the quadrille and the degenerating atmosphere in the hall, Andrey Antonovich lapses back into his authoritarian persona and a frightened Julia Mikhaylovna is forced to apologise for him. Mar 16, brian rated it liked it.
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These are drowned or will be drowned, and the healed man, from whom the devils have departed, sits at the feet of Jesus. Background[ edit ] In late s Russia there was an unusual level of political unrest caused by student groups influenced by liberal, socialist and revolutionary ideas. He focused on the group organized by young agitator Sergey Nechayev , particularly their murder of a former comrade—Ivan Ivanov—at the Petrovskaya Agricultural Academy in Moscow. The political polemic and parts of the philosophical novel were merged into a single larger scale project, which became Demons. Dostoevsky was an active participant in a secret revolutionary society formed from among the members of the Petrashevsky Circle.