Prince Lef Mikolayevitch Muishkin is one of the great characters in Russian literature. Is he a saint or just naïve, an idealist or, as many in General Yepanchin’s society feel, an ‘idiot’? Certainly, his return to St Petersburg after years in a Swiss clinic has a dramatic effect on the beautiful Aglaya, youngest of the Yepanchin daughters and on the charismatic but wilful Nastasio Phillipovna. As he paints a vivid picture of Russian society, Dostoyevsky shows how principles conflict with emotions—with tragic results.
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