Crime and Punishment: Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov Essay

Crime and Punishment: Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov Essay

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Throughout the novel of Crime and Punishment, and any work of fiction at that, the characters exhibit specific personality traits that dictate their make-ups, social interactions and behaviors. These characterizations control the overall development of the story. Characters’ personalities play a vital role in analyzing and understanding character development as well as underlying themes, especially in the novel at hand. Specifically, the central character Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov illustrates the conflict between good and evil in one’s personality. Raskolnikov’s personality conflict is so extreme in duality that he can be identified as both the protagonist and antagonist of this story. From this point comes the question of to what extent does the personality conflict of Raskolnikov dictate his beliefs, actions and therefore contribute to overall plot development?
Due to Raskolnikov’s contradictory nature, he demonstrates intense levels of egoism and self-absorption alongside madness and agony. These aspects lead him to commit heinous criminal actions which physically and emotionally hurt others. Ultimately, he commits the greatest damage to himself through a descent into madness which he disavows. Raskolnikov’s personality can be summed up by the meaning of “Raskol” in Russian which translates to “split”. Raskolnikov personifies an individual demonstrating antithesis in both his actions and thoughts. The author Fyodor Dostoevsky also incorporates symbolism of the number two throughout the story to further signify this duality of personality. Examples include Raskolnikov not eating for two
days, two children being saved from a burning house, and two gates and two courtyards at the house of the pawnbroker Alyona Ivanovna, wh...


... middle of paper ...


...ntually express remorse for his crime.
Raskolnikov's dual personality also is the primary force which drives the plot of this novel. The action and events occur as a result of the character’s personality driver. When the focus of his internal personality is egocentric, the external action reflects this viewpoint. His internal examination of consciousness leads the plot to moving in that direction. The plot of Crime and Punishment seems to be an external mirror which reflects the continual inner conflict of Raskolnikov's dual personality.



Works Cited

"Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov." Shmoop. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2014. .
Swinson, Stephanie. "Motives for Murder in Crime and Punishment." Watermarks 2002. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2014. .

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