Originally Posted by Hamlet53
I am not sure about your speculation about Trusotsky having not sexual relationship with his first wife. It is not until Trusotsky reads his wife's collection of letters that he realizes that she has cheated on him with Velchaninov and Bagautov. So unless Trusotsky was totally misinformed about the birds & bees . . .
I don't think he ever did not know about his wife cheating on him, and I think it was part of his own psychological make-up that he was able to convince himself that his daughter was actually his. He just wasn't able to support the delusion when he discovered the letter that spelled it out. I think it's at this point that he snapped and became so uncomfortably out-of-type for a period of time.
Something that your analysis made me think of is this. When the novel begins Velchaninov is a hypochondriac who seems to have lost any direction in life. Does his encounter with Trusotsky remind him of his superiority and give him the push he needs to resume life?
Not sure on this one. I was thinking about the conditions under which an alpha male becomes temporarily less so. I do think the financial problems he experienced may have unseated him somewhat. Also, this could have been a facet of his aging process. He wasn't all that he once was.
I think the transformation made have germinated with Trusotsky, but I wouldn't be surprised if it really bloomed when he was dragged to that house and it was made clear that he still enjoyed a dominance over men like Trusotsky.
Once of the things I think is telling is that Velchaninov never really appears terribly guilty over what he has done to Trusotsky. Instead there is almost an embarrassment - and I think this is an embarrassment for Trusotsky as now Velchaninov can't maintain his own delusion that Trusotsky was none the wiser.
Anyway - that's just an opinion. I'm not sure how well I would be able to support the argument that Trusotsky did not have a sexual relationship with his wife. But I am fairly certain that he would have known on some level about his wife and Velchaninov and I believe he would have at least suspected about the daughter.