Comparing Crime in Beloved, Crime and Punishment, and Utopia

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Crime in Beloved, Crime and Punishment, and Utopia

To begin with an omniscient and philosophical frame of reference, crime

is only defined as crime by the society defining it. When a mass of human

beings coagulate to¬ gether and form a civilized society, they are bound to make

rules and laws to follow and bide by; for laws are one of the cornerstones of a

civilized society. If there were no laws, society would be uncivilized and in a

chaotic state of anarchy. These laws are decided and administered usually by

elected officials who act as leaders in the society. From the input of the

citizens, they make laws to run the society by. And when a person breaks the

law, that is defined as a 'crime'. For example, purposeful and alleged

manslaughter is a crime, because it is a law to not kill others; people are not

allowed to go cavorting around killing whomever they please, if they did,

civilization would fall. Laws and rules hold us to civilization.

Another way to define crime is through ethics and morals. Each person

on this Earth possesses a conscience; when we do something wrong, our conscience

makes us feel guilty, although some people feel less or more guilt than others

about certain acts; it varies individually. Based on this, one can define a

crime as the things that make us feel guilty, although some crimes do not make

us feel guilty. Some people do not feel any guilt when committing immoral acts;

these people are deemed psychopaths or sociopaths by society. For example, most

people do not feel guilty when they break the law by speeding, its just a way of

life these days, but with complex ideologies (stealing, killing), we feel guilt

if they are committed. Our consciences also hold us to civilization.

In Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, the laws are already defined in

Early Nineteenth century St. Petersburg, Russia. Henceforth, when one breaks a

law they have committed a crime and are eligible for arrest and punishment by

the upholders of law in society, the police. A particular act that is defined

as criminal is that of murder. Raskolnikov knows of this very well, for he has

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