Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime And Punishment

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Napoleon, Caesar, Aristotle, Washington, Rockefeller. These men have been a part of history for thousands of years. They are remembered for their flaws and triumphs, for their personalities and actions. Whether for good or for evil, they are, and will be, remembered. But then the question arises, are these men special? Do they deserve the remembrance that has been given to them? Are these the men who should be our role models? These questions are a central theme of Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. In his novel, Dostoevsky gives a social commentary on the nature of man. He asserts that the best of humanity are those select few who are capable of great things, yet do them without complaint or arrogance. Following these standards, accomplishing the most does not necessarily mean that they are the best humanity has to offer.

Crime and Punishment tells the story of the killing of a pawnbroker, and the subsequent tale of how the killer, Raskolnikov, is able to finally accept what he did was wrong. In the novel, Raskolnikov is portrayed as a seemingly crazy young man with what appears to be random thoughts and feelings. Raskolnikov views himself as a genius and he thinks he is above the law. He views him self as a type of Napoleon, a man with great achievements. In contrast to Raskolnikov's self importance, stands Sonya. Sonya is the eldest daughter in the Marmeladov family; her family is very poor and has to support many children. To help her family financially, Sonya is forced to become a prostitute, as it is the only way she sees to provide money they need to survive. Yet, despite being at the lowest end of society, Sonya keeps her strong Christian faith and her ability to love for and care for others. By exploring the...

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...m of the society. Yet, she was, in fact, superior, because of her compassion and strong moral center. Through her goodness and kind soul, she was able to help Roskolonikov redeem himself by confessing his crime and accepting his punishment. Through the help of Sonya, he recognized that even his logic and superior mind did not justify his actions.

Dostoevsky is trying to give us a social commentary on the nature of our society. Dostoevsky believes that our current system of promoting action and ignoring morals is wrong. Why does Tiger Woods get the million dollar Nike contract when a nice old lady can barley afford enough to eat? Our society focuses on actions and accomplishments and ignores our compassion, love and soul. It is interesting to note that when we look for love, we focus on these moral issues. Maybe it is time to change what our society values.
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