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Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Sacrifice

Part III remains in Pavlovsk and begins with the suggestion that Aglaia has begun to develop feelings for Myshkin, feelings which likely started during her recitation of The Poor Knight.  Though Madame Epanchin seems to be the only one to recognize her daughter's change in heart, circumstances later reveal that Aglaia had refused an offer from Radomsky a month earlier and has been in communication with Natasya, who reappears in this section.  Natasya wants Myshkin to marry Aglaia and refuses to marry Rogozhin until their marriage.

Though Myshkin states he has no feelings for Aglaia, Natasya is convinced that the two must marry, though she herself loves Myshkin.  Suddenly, Myshkin and Natasya have reversed roles from earlier in the novel:  whereas Myshkin had been willing to sacrifice himself to loving Natasya, now Natasya is willing to make sacrifices.  Her sacrifice is twofold:  she is sacrificing her love for Myshkin by giving him to another that won't "ruin" him; also by promising to marry Rogozhin, she is giving herself to a man she believes will kill her.  Nevertheless, she places Myshkin's well-being above her own.

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