Comparing Crime and Punishment and Notes from the Underground

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Crime and Punishment and Notes from the Underground Crime and Punishment and Notes from the Underground Fyodor Dostoyevsky's stories are stories of a sort of rebirth. He weaves a tale of severe human suffering and how each character attempts to escape from this misery. In the novel Crime and Punishment, he tells the story of Raskolnikov, a former student who murders an old pawnbroker as an attempt to prove a theory. In Notes from the Underground, we are given a chance to explore Dostoyevsky's opinion of human beings. Dostoyevsky's characters are very similar, as is his stories. He puts a strong stress on the estrangement and isolation his characters feel. His characters are both brilliant and "sick" as mentioned in each novel, poisoned by their intelligence. In Notes from the Underground, the character, who is never given a name, writes his journal from solitude. He is spoiled by his intelligence, giving him a fierce conceit with which he lashes out at the world and justifies the malicious things he does. At the same time, though, he speaks of the doubt he feels at the value of human thought and purpose and later, of human life. He believes that intelligence, to be constantly questioning and "faithless(ly) drifting" between ideas, is a curse. To be damned to see everything, clearly as a window (and that includes things that aren't meant to be seen, such as the corruption in the world) or constantly seeking the meaning of things elusive. Dostoyevsky thought that humans are evil, destructive and irrational. In Crime and Punishment, we see Raskolnikov caught between reason and will, the human needs for personal freedom and the need to submit to authority. He spends most of the first two parts stuck between wanting to act and wanting to observe. After he acts and murders the old woman, he spends much time contemplating confession. Raskolnikov seems trapped in his world although there is really nothing holding him back; he chooses not to flee and not to confess, but still acts as though he's suffocation (perhaps guilt?)In both novels defeat seems inevitable. Both characters believe that normal man is stupid, unsatisfied and confused. Perhaps they are right, but both characters fail to see the positive aspects of humans; the closest was the scene between the narrator of Notes from the Underground and Liza. In this scene he almost lets the human side show, rather than the insecure, closed off person he normally is.

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