Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

1580 Words7 Pages
Before the interactive oral, I noticed the numerous dreams and hallucinations in the novel Crime and Punishment, but I was not quite able to grasp the deeper meaning of some of the dreams and hallucinations. After this interactive oral, I see how important dreams are in this novel. They serve to illuminate the state of a character in a way that would not otherwise be clear.
During this interactive oral, it was pointed out that the dreams in this novel are very influential to a character’s state of mind and actions. We discussed the graphic dream in which Raskolnikov, as a child, watches a mare as it is beaten to death. This dream is interpreted by Raskolnikov as a cue to murder the old woman. The mare seems to be a parallel to the old woman because the spectators do not care about the mare, and she is beaten to death as a form of entertainment. Similarly, neither Raskolnikov, nor the rest of society cares for the old lady, so he views the murder as something that will benefit all of society. But in this dream, Raskolnikov, a young boy, is scarred and loses some innocence by seeing such cruelty. This may represent the murder of Lizaveta, who is just an innocent victim of Raskolnikov’s crime.
I have a new appreciation for the deeper meaning that dreams in the novel lend to the text. In our discussion, the dream in the epilogue was briefly mentioned. As I gave more thought to the passage, I realized that it seems to address the extraordinary man idea. The plague represents the extraordinary man who is all knowing and knows who to save and who to dispose of from society. As the plague spreads it kills off those who it deems unworthy. But the plague also causes “whole towns and peoples [to go] mad from the infection” as the...

... middle of paper ...

...he use of architectural imagery explores the notion of the extraordinary man. The extraordinary man theory allows for a sin to be committed and thus possess a level of immorality. However, the theory itself seems to ignore or discount the act as a sin. This asks the reader to ascertain whether this theory can be considered moral because an act is committed in an attempt to improve society or whether the theory is immoral because it overlooks a sinful act. The novel not only depicts the decisions and actions of characters, but it also shows the impact and consequences of those actions and decisions on society. Dostoevsky seems to comment on the importance of high moral standards and the futility of striving to become the extraordinary man.

Works Cited

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment, 1866. Trans. Constance Garnett. New York: Bantam-Random, 2003. Print.
Open Document