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Psychoanalysis in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment Essay

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Analyzing the mind of a sociopath has been one of the most important tasks that psychoanalysts face today. The more they know and understand the complexities of the disturbed, the more they hope to find treatments and eventually a cure for the illness that they believe can cause the ultimate violent criminal.

Perhaps Dostoevsky himself wanted to weigh in on the mind of the sociopath and the journey toward their violent lives. Due to his vivid description of Raskolnikov, Dostoevsky shows his readers first hand what a sociopath is like. First one must understand that there is no such affliction as sociopath. The technical name is antisocial personality disorder and there are certain criteria a person must meet in order to receive this diagnosis. It is reserved for the most violent criminal minds and therefore is taken very seriously by the psychiatric community. In order to be diagnosed, one must have been previously diagnosed as having a conduct disorder by the age of fifteen. This is what many refer to as the child version of antisocial personality disorder. “Along with depression and anxiety, the individual also exhibits an increase in antisocial behavior, aggression, destruction of property, and deceitfulness or theft” (Strickland). They may also act out against smaller things that they can control, such as smaller siblings and/or animals.

Once a person with conduct disorder turns eighteen and is considered to be a legal adult, they are re-evaluated and then diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology, 2nd Edition lists the criteria that psychologists use to base their diagnosis. They must meet three of the following.
1. fails to conform to social norms, as indicated...


... middle of paper ...


...order, examining Raskolnikov’s actions and personality, and taking a closer look at arrogance, we can assert that Raskolnikov is simply an arrogant man; viewing himself as superior to society. Raskolnikov’s actions were done through purely selfish motives and the mentality that he should not be punished, because the paramount of his actions benefited society. This is the profile of a man that is arrogant and selfish, not the profile of an individual suffering from a mental illness.


Works Cited

Dostoevsky, Feodor. “Crime and Punishment”. A Norton Critical Edition 3rd Ed.

Levinson, David. Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment Vol. III. Sage Publications. London, 2002.

Merriam-Webster. “Merriam-Webster Online”. http://www.m-w.com. December 18, 2005.

Strickland, Bonnie. The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology 2nd Ed. Gale Group. Detroit, 2001.


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