Myshkin goes to Moscow to take care of business regarding his inheritance. He is not heard from for six months in Petersburg. It is rumored, however, that Nastasya and Rogozhin are in Moscow as well. It is also said that Nastasya decides to marry Rogozhin, then refuses and seeks Myshkin for comfort. Finally Myshkin returns to Petersburg. He visits Lebedyev and also Rogozhin. It is learned that while both Rogozhin and Myshkin were in Moscow, they shared some good conversations.
At Rogozhin's house, the two talk about Nastasya. Myshkin declares that he only ever loved Nastasya out of compassion, and also points out to Rogozhin that "it would be hard to distinguish your (Rogozhin's) love from hate." Rogozhin then says that Nastasya loves Myshkin, but she loves him so much that she doesn't want to corrupt him by being with him. Thus, she is turning to him (Rogozhin) out of spite. Attention is later drawn to a horrifying painting of a dead Christ hanging in Rogozhin's house. Looking at the painting, Myshkin says, "One could lose his faith looking at this painting." He then retells four encounters he had with faith. The first involves an atheist, the second involves a spiritual man who kills his friend for a watch. Upon hearing these two stories, Rogozhin comments, "One doesn't believe in God at all, and the other's so devout he cuts people's throats with a prayer." Myshkin continues, however, and tells about a silver cross he bought from a drunken soldier, and a mother nursing her child who said, "Well sir, just as a mother rejoices when she notices her baby smile for the first time, so does God rejoice every time he beholds from on high a sinner kneeling before him, praying with all his heart." Through these stories, the fundamental idea of Christ is displayed: the importance of faith. In Myshkin's words: "The essence of religious feeling has nothing to do with reasoning, or transgressions, or crimes, or atheism; it is something quite different and always will be, it is something our atheist will always gloss over and avoid discussing."
Rogozhin and Myshkin exchange crosses, becoming spiritual brothers. Rogozhin then takes Myshkin to see his old mother, who crosses the prince with three fingers. Myshkin then leaves and wanders absently until he finds himself at Nastasya Filippovna's house. She is not at home but Myshkin senses that Rogozhin has been following him the entire time. He is correct: Rogozhin has indeed been following Myshkin. Myshkin then returns back to his hotel, where Rogozhin attempts to murder the prince. But, just as Rogozhin's 7-inch knife is raised, Myshkin suffers an epileptic fit. This fit saves Myshkin's life.
Recuperating at Lebedyev's villa in Pavlovsk, Myshkin is visited by the Yepanchins and, during their visit, Aglaya recites the poem, "The Poor Knight," to Myshkin. It is suggested to the reader that Aglaya is in love with the prince, but she says she does not. In speaking of the poem, Aglaya remarks: "because the poem depicts a man who is capable of an ideal, and secondly, once having set up his ideal, capable of believing in it, and in that belief capable of devoting his whole life blindly to it." It must be reminded here that in creating Myshkin, Dostoevsky wished to portray the "ideal man." Aglaya later remarks: "The 'poor knight' is Don Quixote, but serious, not comic. At first I didn't realize and I laughed, but now I love the 'poor knight', but more than that, I applaud his exploits." It must also be noted that Aglaya changes the initials in the poem to be Nastasya's initials, a change that everybody picks up on.
Later, several young men unexpectedly arrive and demand to see Myshkin. Among these men is the consumptive Ippolit, the friend of Kolya. Before the Yepanchins, the young men demand money from Myshkin. They say he is not the true son of Pavlishtchev, but Burdovsky (one of the young men) is. They demand that Myshkin give Burdovsky his rightful inheritance.
Myshkin exposes the young men as frauds. He has known of Burdovsky's claim and has had Ganya verify the facts of the case. Myshkin says he will not give the men conscience money, but because Pavlishtchev did take an interest in Burdovsky, (the boy is the nephew of a woman Pavlishtchev was once in love with), he offers to give Burdovsky 10,000 rubles-approximately what Pavlishtchev spent on Myshkin's education and medical bills. Madame Yepanchin is aghast at such unnecessary extravagance and, after Ippolit damns the company, she gathers up her family and leaves.
As they leave, a carriage drives up and a voice shouts to Radomsky, an admirer of Aglaya Yepanchin, about some IOU's. Myshkin recognizes the voices as Nastasya Filippovna's.
After some time, Madame Yepanchin again comes to see Myshkin, upset over
a letter she discovered Myshkin wrote to her daughter. Myshkin declares
he wrote the letter as a brother, not as a lover. Madame Yepanchin then
reveals that Varya has brought Nastasya and Aglaya into contact.
The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb