The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky Book Analysis Essay

  • Category: Books,
  • Words: 500 Pages: 2
  • Published: 14 September 2021
  • Copied: 190

In The Idiot, Ippolit in his article explains that he started to live after knowing that he is going to die after two weeks. “Why did I actually begin to live, knowing that it was no longer possible for me to begin; why did I try, knowing that there was no longer anything to try?”(Dostoevsky 392). Ippolit says that he was not living before he knew he was going to die. What does it mean to live? It means to value and be in each moment of existence. Each moment is not to be taken for granted, which becomes clear when the date of death is known. But why wait for certainty of death to live?

The certainty of death gives birth to the value of life. Ippolit, in the state where he knows of his death after two weeks, values his life dearly. “I knew positively that I had consumption and it was incurable … But the more clearly I understood it, the more convulsively I wanted to live; I clung to life and wanted to live whatever the cost.”(Dostoevsky 392) Death has created and gave value to his life (the immediate need to not spend it “lazily”). Therefore, the idea of life has changed for Ippolit. Life has become valuable, and all this new change in how he views life is because of the certainty of his death. In this new value of life, there is surrender to existence. Ippolit is forced, by the certainty of his death, to be present and notice minor things that he did not notice before. “every minute, every second, I must and am forced to know that even this tiny fly that is now buzzing near me … it participates in this banquet and chorus, knows its place, loves it and is happy, while I alone am a castaway, and only in my pusillanimity did not want to understand it till now!”(Dostoevsky 412-413) Ippolit directly challenges his existence in a world where he finds that man is isolated alone in his “unfitting” character that does not conform with harmonies of nature. Ippolit realizes that a simple thing as a fly conforms with the grand scheme of things. But he also realizes that he does not go with the grand scheme of things. He realizes that a fly can hold that much life. A fly knows its place and simply exists and that is a most alive being.

If under circumstances as Ippolit, where he knows and is certain of his death, life is lived with new dearness and value, why wait for death? There seems to be no reason why actual living, as discussed in this paper, should not start while not knowing the certainty of death. It may be said that being certain of death is a requirement for all that Ippolit realizes about life. But let this paper be a testimony that the experience of being in Ippolit’s shoes is not required. There is no need to wait for death to give life a dear place and profound meaning. Why not start to live now? Let life be joined with the world and let a man be a fly and know his place that he had relinquished.


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