Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky Describes Power and Masculinity

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Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky is a psychological novel from the 19th century in Russia. This novel gives us a sense of the social, political and economic turmoil which Russia and its people were living through during that time period. During this period of hardship people would take the decisions that they would consider necessary for survival and this novel exposes some of the decisions that people had to make to keep on living. The decisions taken by the individuals of this novel may be a result of despair or just an overdose of power and masculinity. The main character Raskolnikov makes his decisions because he has a high level of masculinity and power. When referring to masculinity is describing a men with the traditional characteristics that pertain to such, these characteristics include strength, boldness, aggressive, avoidance of femininity, pursuit of achievement and status amongst other characteristics. (Dictionary Reference) During Luzhin's (Dunya's fiancée) first encounter with Raskolnikov (Dunya's brother) as he leaves his soon to be brother in law's apartment, Raskolnikov could not hold back on his anger and disagreement with the arranged marriage. This disagreement that Raskolnikov has is a result of a letter he received from his mother which described the hardship her and his sister had lived and continued to live through. Also she briefly described the unique interest that Luzhin had over Dunya. Raskolnikov proceeded to express his feelings about the relationship Luzhin held with his sister. “that above all you were glad she was poor...because it's best to take a wife up from destitution, so that you can lord it over her afterwards...and reproach her with having been her benefactor.”(Dostoevsky, pp... ... middle of paper ... ...e, a little old-money lending crone who was of no use to anyone, to kill whom is worth forty sins forgiven, who sucked the life-sap from the poor – is that a crime?” (Dostoevsky, pp. 518) Raskolnikov is freely talking about the murder he committed and he does not see it a crime and saw it as doing society a favor by taking life away from the old lady. Crime and Punishment is a psychological novel that exposes a society in crisis and individuals who are victims of the environment and status. The main character Raskolnikov places us in a conflicted judgment as more characters are introduced and their hardships are exposed as well and they do not reach out to murder as a solution for their problems. So can we place him apart and say that his actions were a result of mental instability or was it his sense of masculinity and power that lead him to recourse to murder?

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