Function of Stavrogin’s Image in F. M. Dostoevsky’s Novel “Demons”

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2018, Vol. 4. №3

Function of Stavrogin’s Image in F. M. Dostoevsky’s Novel “Demons”

For citation: Kladova N. A. 2018. “Function of Stavrogin’s Image in F. M. Dostoevsky’s Novel ‘Demons’”. Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates, vol. 4, no 3, pp. 131-139. DOI: 10.21684/2411-197X-2018-4-3-131-139

About the author:

Natalia A. Kladova, Cand. Sci. (Philol.), Lecturer of Russian Language and Literature, Forward-School (Moscow);


This article analyzes the function of the Stavrogin’s image in the novel by F. M. Dostoevsky “Demons”. This analysis led us to the idea that the main storyline is not determined by the socio-political content; there is a deep moral and philosophical subtext in the work. Therefore, the article complements the traditional interpretation of the idea of Dostoevsky’s novel related to the realities of the historical time; it allows to look at the artistic thought of the author in a somewhat different, non-standard way.

This work shows that the event line, which binds the plot into a single semantic whole, is associated with the hero’s repeated attempt to create a family union. None of the families succeeded, with neither Maria Lebedkina or Mary Shatova or Lisa, or Dasha — Stavrogin was not able to connect spiritually with any of them. In detail, we analyze the episodes of the relationship of Nikolai and Marya Timofyevna, because they are thoroughly imbued with the gospel allusions that indicate the internal essence of the hero, his spiritual poverty, the inability to accept Christ as the moral centre of the existing world. The son of Lebyadkina is the metaphorical “One” who gave the world hope for salvation. Nikolai spiritually renounces his rebirth, and therefore renounces the invisible presence of Christ in the world. In addition, as a father figure, Stavrogin is replaced by another hero — Shatov.

The family is perceived by Nikolai from the standpoint of earthly laws, while the sacred was hidden for him — the Orthodox essence of the family union. This reflected the deep inner drama of Stavrogin and — more broadly — the drama of society, in the view of the writer Dostoevsky.


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