The Diary of a Madman

by

Nikolai Gogol

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The Diary of a Madman: Date none. Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Poprishchin writes in his diary that he was walking “incognito” through the neighborhood, and did not tell anyone he was Ferdinand VIII, the king of Spain. He claims he does not want to reveal himself without first being presented at court.
The new diary entry date reflects Poprishchin’s increasing isolation and detachment from the real world. Alienated from anyone who might try to point out the inaccuracy of his delusions, he now wanders through town. He is still convinced he is the long-lost king of Spain, but refuses to tell anyone, as he wants to follow the proper customs—an absurd thought that suggests the absurdity of such social customs in the first place.
Themes
Social Class and Status Theme Icon
Insanity Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
Poprischin laments how he does not have proper royal attire. He wishes he could get a mantle from the tailors, but then decides he will make a new mantle himself. He locks the door so that no one can see him. He cuts up his uniform with scissors, so that he can make a new “style.”
Although Poprishchin is suffering from insanity, he is still attuned to social conventions. He believes, even in his delusional state, that a king must have proper royal attire befitting his nobility. His paranoia is so complete, however, that he hides himself away so that no one will watch him make his robes.
Themes
Social Class and Status Theme Icon
Insanity Theme Icon