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Essay on A Nihilistic Analysis of Crime and Punishment

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A Nihilistic Analysis of Crime and Punishment


This paper provides an exhaustive analysis, from a Nihilistic perspective, of the novel, Crime and Punishment. The paper is divided into many sections, each with a self-explanatory title in capital letters, such as the section that immediately follows this sentence.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MARMELADOV'S RECOLLECTION SCENE

Katerina Ivanovna must deal with a man who drinks his life away while his family starves. Marmeladov recounts their suffering by first describing his loss of a job. He claims that, ". . .through no fault of mine but through changes in the office [I lost my place], and then I did touch it [alcohol]!" He attempted to educate his daughter, but what little knowledge she has amounts to nothing when she cannot even collect money from Ivan Ivanitch Klopstock, a man she sewed six shirts for. Katerina, fed up with her entire situation, screams at Marmeladov and eventually is driven to introduce her daughter to prostitution. Through the prodding of Darya Frantsovna, Sonia enters her first night of prostitution only to come home and collapse on her bed. Marmeladov recounts his drunken state as he watched Katerina kneel at her daughters bed and kiss her feet. Not only does Sonia's activity force her to sacrifice her own morals, but she also forced out of her family's apartment by Mr. Lebeziatnikov. Sonia must then continue her life of prostitution while living at the apartment of the Kapernaumovs'. The Kapernaumovs' are described as "very poor people, all with cleft palates." Marmeladov continually dwells on the fact that they all have cleft palates as he describes his daughters. This motif is used by Dostoevsky in order to bring out the theme of Sonia's own defamatio...


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...murders? Raskolnikov denies these accusations because confessing to them would be a show of submission to Porfiry. Dostoevsky wants Raskolnikov to be viewed as a respectable man who must decide his own path, to be led to confession through his own suffering.

Raskolnikov approaches his confession alone. Upon Reaching the crossroads, "He knelt down in the middle of the square, bowed down to the earth and kissed that filthy earth with bliss and rapture. He got up and bowed a second time." (Page 453, paragraph 2, line 1). Raskolnikov upon bowing and kissing the dirt feels a wild influx of pleasure, symbolic of religious retribution.

Works Cited

Dostoevsky, Feodor. Crime and Punishment. Trans. Jessie Coulson. Ed. George Gibian. New York: Norton, 1989.

Frank, Joseph. Dostoevsky: The Miraculous Years, 1865-1871. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995.


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