Dostoevsky left Raskolnikov, the eternal student, wrestling with life in his dark garret by the light of the tiny candle of philosophy; and turned aside to create The Idiot. The artistic function of most of the remaining characters is to serve either as a foil to Myshkin or as an illustration of his power to influence even the most unpromising material. The most significant of them is Ippolit, a youth of sixteen who knows himself to be slowly dying of consumption, and whose soul is divided between bitter revolt against this motiveless and meaningless sentence of pain and death and a normal youthful desire for bombastic self-assertion. In Crime and Punishment the atmosphere is one of torturing enquiry; in The Idiot, of triumphant conviction. Myshkin embodies the most perfect and the most satisfying expression in literature, visionary and fantastic though it may be, of the Russian ethical ideal.