Dostoevsky Notes From Underground Analysis

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McKenzi Higgins Dostoevsky in Translation March 10, 2014 Paper Prompt #1 Dostoevsky’s noteworthy literary works each contain similarities in theme, character development, and purpose when analyzed beyond face value. Dostoevsky’s early life and ideals, intertwined with life-changing events that shifted his ideologies, and critiques of fellow Russian writers during his time period lay the groundwork for Dostoevsky’s recurring arguments for the way which Russian society would be best-off, as well as ways in which the people of Russia would be suited to live the most fulfilling, non-corrupt lives. Through themes involving hyper-consciousness, calling into question free will, and suffering in isolation, Dostoevsky’s “Underground Man” serves as a character who exemplifies everything Dostoevsky believes is wrong with the belief in a Russian society perfected by laws, mathematics and science. The tragic ending of The Idiot manifests itself as product of the continual struggle of its characters throughout the book, namely through the downfall of the traditional Russian family, the mockery of Christ-like qualities, and the tensions between good and evil members of society. Both Notes from Underground and The Idiot speak to Dostoevsky’s critique of the rising popularity and prominence of utopianism and socialism ideals in Russian society. In Notes from Underground, the Underground Man serves as a critique to the idea of a utopian society achieved through reason and rationality. Dostoevsky links the Underground Man to the idea of consciousness, explaining that his hyper-consciousness is what contrasts and alienates from the rest of society. The Underground Man explains that this consciousness is linked to intelligence, and that... ... middle of paper ... ... characters in The Idiot provide a way for Dostoevsky to describe the internal struggle of those in transitioning to a rational, socialist society. In describing Myshkin’s view of Nastassia, Dostoevsky shows readers particular tensions and struggle. Nastassia, throughout the book, is characterized according to the eyes she is seen through-damaged in the eyes of society, perfect in the eyes of Myshkin, and hopeful, yet vengeful in her own. These tensions of good and evil characteristics show her yearning for, yet rejection of, Christ, exhibited through her rejection of Myshkin, and her acceptance, yet disgust of Rogozhin. Nastassia serves as a symbol of rational egoism, following how things “should” be according to her previous life-events with Totsky. She mourns the life she could have had, when no person is forcing her to live a certain way, namely with Rogozhin.
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