The Rejection of Svidrigailov in Crime and Punishment


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The Rejection of Svidrigailov in Crime and Punishment    

 

Crime and Punishment    Raskolnikov would reject Svidrigailov because he knows that this man has designs against his sister. Dounia has been his main concern for the past couple chapters-he hounds Svidrigailov not because he enjoys his company, but he worries endlessly about his intentions. Svidrigailov and Raskolnikov at the bar engage in a conversation about Dounia and the interactions of her and he at the house of Marfa Petrovna. Raskolnikov is eventually duped by the base Svid., and he lets him be after he has jumped on a carriage and is speeding down the road-he is not going to the Islands though, he is coming back and has a meeting scheduled with Dounia. Svidrigailov, like Porfiry, employs tacit and devious tactics. Raskolnikov realizes this, and he resents Svidrigailov for this. There is another very important reason why Raskolnikov hates Svid. As Hobbes pointed out, if a person knows that another man knows the truth about a lie he is telling, or is in the position to find out such information, he will subsequently hate that person no matter what previous relation they were in. This hate and dislike can be repressed, but even then it still has the ability to come out in a deluge of rejection.

Raskolnikov, so far, has been able to repress his anger towards Svidrigailov and also Porfiry. He does scream at Porfiry to either arrest him or let him be, but he is much less outwardly forceful with his anger. Does Svidrigailov represent Raskolnikov's evil side? Does he embody the ideas and philosophies of Raskolnikov? Perhaps it is easy to say yes-to simplify this great work of a philosophy and psychological writing. It is much better to steer away from the trap though of simply saying that he is the representation of R.'s evil side. The story is much deeper than that. Svidrigailov molests, irks, and bothers young women who do not wish to be associated with him. He panders to their weakness and self-admittedly uses deception to win them for his own. This is not Raskolnikov. Raskolnikov is the man who conceives a theory-a theory that actually had the better of society as its aim-Svid. simply exists in a nihilistic atmosphere of vice and wanton behavior.

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Raskolnikov's actions, no matter how immoral, are at least thought out and conceived with care. These discrepancies prevent us from seeing Svid. as truly a manifestation of Raskolnikov's evil side. Svid. plays a much more important role. He serves to highlight Raskolnikov's good side. He serves to highlight the fact that Raskolnikov cares about his sister and is still worried about her, even though he realizes his fate is practically sealed. Raskolnikov must reject Svid. because he is evil-not because he represents the evil of Svidrigailov.

 

 


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