Hermann Hesse once described this novel wonderfully. It's a bit lengthy but it's worth quoting:
"What is it that makes this "idiot" so impossible in the world of other people? Why does no one understand him, even though almost all love him in some fashion, almost everyone finds his gentle- ness sympathetic, indeed often exemplary? What distinguishes him, the man of magic, from the others, the ordinary people? Why are they right in rejecting him? Why must they do it, inevitably? Why must things go with him as they did with Jesus, who in the end was abandoned not only by the world but by all his disciples as well?
"It is because the "idiot's" way of thinking is different from that of the others. Not that he thinks less logically or in a more childlike and associative way than they – that is not it. His way of thought is what I call "magical." This gentle "idiot" completely denies the life, the way of thought and feeling, the world and the reality of other people. His reality is something quite different from theirs. Their reality in his eyes is no more than a shadow, and it is by seeing and demanding a completely new reality that he becomes their enemy."