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Raskolnikov’s Character Development in Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Ethics is defined as moral principles that govern a person or group’s behavior. Ethics have always played a crucial role in determining different kinds of cultures and what kind of reputation a certain group of individuals holds. In North American culture, we determine our ethics as being brought up by certain standards that determine what kind of person we ought to be. By contrast, other cultures have different approaches as to what is ethically “correct” or acceptable. Ethics incremented in Russian culture for example, contrast dramatically with classic American ideals. Trust is one of the biggest clashes between what differentiates the two cultures. In America, trusting each others peers, neighbors and colleagues is a norm that is so natural that when dishonesty arises, utter shock and disbelief are typical reactants. But Russian culture however, holds a belief of doubt that results in a lack of trust present in one’s private life. Youngsters are taught not to trust others around them and lie as a way of being. In the famously acclaimed novel Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Raskolnikov’s struggling internal conflicts portray his sudden epiphany of truth that changes his native ethical beliefs. Dostoevsky conveys Raskolnikov’s ongoing punishment to further exemplify a grander theme present in today’s world: the struggle of being human.
In 1860s Russia, major changes took place. Serfdom came to an end and drastic economic reforms were implemented. Raskolnikov’s home of St. Petersburg, once upon a time capital of Russia, represents the confusing mood that was felt throughout the country. His habitat is described as confined, depressing, stuffy and violent. Often, Raskolnikov’s mood and behaviors are parallel with the ...


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... end of the novel confesses to the crime. Dostoevsky purposefully chooses to have him confess in the end to demonstrate a lesson in humanity: that we are all human, have a conscious and are most often inexplicably driven by emotions. Dostoevsky shows through the development of Raskolnikov’s internal conflicts that it is human nature, to feel and be driven by certain ethical principles. Although these principles might differ from culture to culture and place to place, humanity is universal and carries a conduct of being that we all have. As ethics drive our conscious, individuals often forget basic principles of human nature that differentiate us from other species and make us individual in our complexity. Raskolnikov comes to this realization after a punishment that he would not have had, if he were not human.



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