In The Idiot, Dostoevsky wrestles with the idea of a “beautiful man.” He is aware of the immensity of the challenge, for entirely good and pure characters are few in literature. In the biblical story of Cain and Abel, for instance, Cain is far more interesting as a literary character than Abel because of his guilt; he has both an exterior and an interior life. Cain lives – to carry on his mark and become a founder of the first city, thus indirectly the founder of culture. Abel perishes – he has no line, no dialogue. He is a victim, and victims are usually silent. His victimization creates an impression of the transparency of his character; we suspect we know all there is to know about him. With Cain, we do not. His deeds and struggles are fascinating. He holds our attention. 1