Dostoevsky 's Crime And Punishment

713 Words3 Pages
Introduction “Sometimes, though, he is not at all morbid, just cold and inhumanely callous; it’s as though he were alternating between two characters” (Dostoevsky 206). In Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, the protagonist is depicted as struggling between two mental states – one of normality, and one that demonstrates extreme manic tendencies. In the past, scholars have mentioned schizophrenia as the cause of Raskolnikov’s behavior; however, bipolar disorder, characterized by increased speech, racing thoughts, delusional thinking, manic episodes, distractibility, agitation, and inflated grandiosity (Davision et al 124), is the fundamental cause of his perverse way of thought and the situations that he places himself in. In cases of bipolar disorder, an individual will experience periods of extreme elation known as manic episodes. These periods will alternate with periods of normality and periods of severe depression to form an unpredictable emotional cycle (Davision et al 123). Dostoevsky then, uses precise descriptive language to depict – and thus suggest – that his central character, Raskolnikov, suffers from bipolar disorder. Raskolnikov’s Impulsive Manner Raskolnikov’s abnormal behavior consists of many different characteristics; and yet, his impulsive actions, and his habit of talking to himself are traits that readers become aware of early on in the novel and allow the author to portray and progress Raskolnikov’s character quickly. The language that is used to describe this impulsiveness is abrupt in order to create a sense of urgency in scenes. When another character is “alarmed by his expression” (Dostoevsky 189), his expression “reveal(s) an agonizingly poignant emotion, and at the same time something ... ... middle of paper ... ...w readers the ways in which the human mind can sink and begin to decay. Racing Thoughts “He was conscious of a terrible inner turmoil. He was afraid of losing his self-control; he tried to catch at something and fix his mind on it, something entirely irrelevant, but he could not succeed at all” (Dostoevsky 96). Racing thoughts, which are a symptom of bipolar disorder, are established through Dostoevsky’s prose by his use of repeated words. These words include: idea, fixations, and thoughts, and are generally followed by words such as tangled and swarmed, which indicate the chaos that is occurring within Raskolnikov’s mind. Furthermore, the idea that Raskolnikov “become(s) conscious that his ideas (are) sometimes in a tangle” (Dostoevsky p. 6) displays the effect of these thoughts on his person. Dostoevsky introduces this idea at the beginning of the novel with:
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