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  The Gambler




The Gambler is a novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky about a young guy in the employment of a Russian General. The novella reflects Dostoevsky's own addiction to gambling, which was in more ways than one the inspiration for the book: Dostoevsky completed the novel under a strict deadline so he could pay off gambling debts.

Plot summary

The first-person narrative is told from the point of view of Alexei Ivanovich, a tutor working for a Russian family living in a suite at a German hotel. The patriarch of the family, The General, is indebted to the Frenchman De Grieux and has mortgaged his property in Russia to pay only a small amount of his debt. Upon learning of the illness of his wealthy aunt, "Grandmother", he sends streams of telegrams to Moscow and awaits the news of her demise. His expected inheritance will pay his debts and gain Madamoiselle De Cominges's hand in marriage.
Alexei is hopelessly in love with Polina and swears an oath of servitude to her. He told her while on a walk on the Schlangenberg that all she had to do was give the word and he would gladly walk off the edge. This leads to her asking him to go to the town's casino and place a bet for her. He refuses at first but, then he succumbs and ends up winning at the roulette table. He returns to her the winnings but she will not tell him the reason she needs money ...

Characters

Alexei Ivanovich
The General
Maria Fillipova
Polina Aleksandrovna
Antonida Vasilevna (Grandmother)
Madamoiselle Blanche De Cominges
Madame La Comtesse
Marquis De Grieux
Mr. Astley

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