The Diary of a Madman


Nikolai Gogol

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The Diary of a Madman: January of the same year Summary & Analysis

Poprishchin writes that he cannot understand the customs of Spain. He writes that someone shaved his head, and that other people drip “cold water” on him. He wonders whether he has fallen into the hands of the “Inquisition.” He believes the lord chancellor might be the “grand inquisitor himself.” He then claims this is all a plot of “Polignac” a French politician.
Poprishchin recounts various scenes of abuse and torture as his alienation and insanity worsens. He believes the Inquisition is persecuting him, despite the fact that the Inquisition was a part of Spain’s history during the 1400s. Throughout the story Poprishchin’s madness has isolated him from the rest of the world; here, ironically, it offers a semblance of escape from the immense cruelty that has befallen him, as he attributes it not to meaningless torture but rather further evidence that his is really the king of Spain.
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