i was thinking this morning more about 'demons'...
so i don't think it's as simple a thing to say that shatov is the closest character to FD himself, but it does seem his sympathies lie with him. shatov used to be an anarchist rabble rouser, but then went to america, had his damascene moment, and now he's pro-Russia, but crucially, he's not pro-autocratic leader... he's the one who slaps stavrogin down publicly. and it's shatov who gets murdered in cold blood by the people who he innocently thinks are his friends.
you've then got stavrogin himself, who represents everything wrong in a sense, cos he's just a total fuckup, having his mad thoughts, being irresponsible in every sense of the word. so to me, he's someone quite close to the main queen character in 'the favourite' or george 3 in 'the madness of king george' ie someone with immense power, but they're not all there. i'm also reminded of top shagger bozza jozza in this regard.
and then finally, you've got the cummings character, pyotr, who's just so conniving and malevolent, you've almost got to admire the kahunas. But what an absolute cunt.
This triad of characters, the one with power but who doesn't know how to use it responsibly, the 'good' one who is not walking in the halls of power, and the maleficent one who moves in both worlds, seems to be what FD accomplishes so well, cos he clearly knew all these worlds?
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.
I am a sick man.... I am a spiteful man. I am an unattractive man. I believe my liver is diseased. However, I know nothing at all about my disease, and do not know for certain what ails me. I don't consult a doctor for it, and never have, though I have a respect for medicine and doctors. Besides, I am extremely superstitious, sufficiently so to respect medicine, anyway (I am well-educated enough not to be superstitious, but I am superstitious). No, I refuse to consult a doctor from spite. That you probably will not understand. Well, I understand it, though. Of course, I can't explain who it is precisely that I am mortifying in this case by my spite: I am perfectly well aware that I cannot "pay out" the doctors by not consulting them; I know better than anyone that by all this I am only injuring myself and no one else. But still, if I don't consult a doctor it is from spite. My liver is bad, well--let it get worse!
I have been going on like that for a long time--twenty years. Now I am forty.
I want now to tell you, gentlemen, whether you care to hear it or not, why I could not even become an insect. I tell you solemnly, that I have many times tried to become an insect. But I was not equal even to that.
I got to the point of feeling a sort of secret abnormal, despicable enjoyment in returning home to my corner on some disgusting Petersburg night, acutely conscious that that day I had committed a loathsome action again, that what was done could never be undone, and secretly, inwardly gnawing, gnawing at myself for it, tearing and consuming myself till at last the bitterness turned into a sort of shameful accursed sweetness, and at last--into positive real enjoyment! Yes, into enjoyment, into enjoyment! I insist upon that. I have spoken of this because I keep wanting to know for a fact whether other people feel such enjoyment? I will explain; the enjoyment was just from the too intense consciousness of one's own degradation; it was from feeling oneself that one had reached the last barrier, that it was horrible, but that it could not be otherwise; that there was no escape for you; that you never could become a different man; that even if time and faith were still left you to change into something different you would most likely not wish to change; or if you did wish to, even then you would do nothing; because perhaps in reality there was nothing for you to change into.