Sergei Petrovich – a third-year student of the natural faculty. He is ugly, ugly, clumsy, ordinary. He does not succeed in romances with women, he has no close friends, although he craves for love and friendship with all his heart. Sergei Petrovich lives with a student Novikov, a talented, intelligent and generous man. Under the leadership of Novikov, Sergei Petrovich begins to read Nietzsche. In the teachings of the young man’s philosopher, the idea of the superman is most striking. However, until the end of the work “So said Zarathustra,” Sergei Petrovich never reads: he is weak in German, and who helped him translate Novikov is deported from Moscow. Sergei Petrovich is completely absorbed in the book, in Novikov he can see the features of the superman, and about himself he comes to the conclusion that he did not succeed in life, but, according to Nietzsche, death will be possible.
Sergei Petrovich does not want to be “a dumb material for the happiness of others,” and he can not achieve happiness himself. Sergey Petrovich decides to die. Having adopted this decision, he changes his way of life: he becomes more sociable, returns to studies and so on. The young man himself makes cyanide potassium himself, writes Novikov a letter explaining why he committed suicide. He does not immediately dare to drink poison, still arguing that even an unhappy life is better than eternal oblivion. However, remembering about the letter, he is frightened of being called a coward and bragging and drinks the contents of the bubble.