Having finished ‘The Insulted and Injured’ and pondered for a week, I sense I’m missing something vital. Towards the end of the novel, unexpected relationships are unveiled. Ivan Petrovitch had unwittingly been guardian to the legitimate daughter of Prince Valkovsky. If Alyosha and Nellie are brother and sister, how is this thunderbolt important to the plot? Except for Prince Valkovsky, most of the characters have been insulted and injured. In particular, old grandfather Smith and Nikolay Sergeyitch have been grievously so, as have their daughters, Nellie’s mother and Natasha. Ultimately, the wicked Prince Valkovsky triumphs: he remarries well, his troublesome first wife and daughter are dead, he has outwitted his detective, Masloboev, and his puppet son will marry the rich Katya. Aside from the prince himself, all are probably worse off. Has evil simply triumphed over good?
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