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Thursday, March 4, 2010

What is Love?

After reading Part I, one question that may come to mind is, are any of the characters mentioned so far capable of love?
  • Myshkin-Yes, but only on a limited basis.  The story of Marie as well as his interaction with Nastasya Filippovna show that he does not know how to love but can sympathize with others and can believe that others are genuinely good.  He exhibits the purest form of love possible.
  • Ganya-Is willing to marry someone her does not love and give the one he truly does love all for money.  One wonders if he can truly love Aglaia if he will willing to allow his pride and love of money prevent him from being with her
  • Rogozhin-Seems to view Natasya as a possession that he must have.  Nastasya willingly runs off with him because she cannot ruin him, suggesting he is already corrupt.
  • Totsky-The seducer of Natasya who wants to marry an Epanchin daughter.  His treatment of Natasya and willingness to pay Ganya to be rid of him suggest he is not capable of true love.
  • General Epanchin-Though married, he gives Natasya expensive pearls, suggesting he may have had his eye on her as well.  Natasya later returns those pearls.
  • General Ivolgin-Married as well, but has a mistress he visits and gives her money. 
  • Natasya-Does not love herself and cannot love anyone else.  Events from her youth have caused her to view love pessimistically.
The above painting is Love and Life (1885) by G.F. Watts

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