Wednesday, April 7, 2010
A Broken Vase
But one very curious fact was that all the shame and vexation and mortification which he felt over the accident were less powerful than the deep impression of the almost supernatural truth of his premonition. He stood still in alarm—in almost superstitious alarm, for a moment; then all mists seemed to clear away from his eyes; he was conscious of nothing but light and joy and ecstasy; his breath came and went; but the moment passed. Thank God it was not that! He drew a long breath and looked around.
Myshkin was more affected by the fact that he had a premonition that he would break the vase than he was by the actual breaking of the vase. Similarly, when Myshkin sees Natasya's body, he does not appear to be shocked at all and is more focused on consoling Rogozhin than showing concern for Natasya, despite how much he pitied her. Interestingly, before the incident with the vase, Aglaia jokingly encouraged him to break it, saying her mother loves it and would go out of her mind. When the actual event takes place, Aglaia shows more concern for Myshkin than the vase. By the end of the novel, Aglaia and Natasya are no longer friends but rivals and Aglaia likely did not show much emotion upon hearing of Natasya's death. In the end, Natasya is no more valuable than a broken vase.
Vase with Cover (above), William De Morgan.