Past Tense

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As Timon would say, “’You got to put your past behind you,’” (The Lion King). These wise words spoken by an animated meerkat also ring true in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, written almost one hundred and thirty years before even the idea of small talking mammals occurred to anyone. Dostoevsky’s novel follows the trials and tribulations of a poor ex-student, Raskolnikov, as he struggles with an internal battle of ethics. Throughout Raskolnikov’s struggle, his interactions with other characters and the characters themselves display different aspects of humanity, including regret and a longing for redemption. All characters have regrets in Dostoevsky’s novel, and most seek redemption or “atonement for [their] faults or defects” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). When people hold onto past faults, they forfeit their chance of redemption.

Svidrigailov, in holding onto his failures with Dunia, forfeits his chance of redemption. His first attempt at seducing Dunia fails when she writes a letter that “reproached him with great heat and indignation for the baseness of his behavior in regard to Marfa Petrovna,” (35). Even after this blatant rejection from Dunia, Svidrigailov insists on vying for her love and continues to fail. His defect is his adulterous lifestyle, and by continuing to vie for Dunia’s love, he cannot see that his ways are adulterous. He therefore loses all chance of atoning for his adultery and forfeits his redemption. Much later in the novel, Svidrigailov confesses that the thought of being with Dunia “‘has haunted [his] dreams,’” and to further prove his ceaseless longing, he speaks endlessly about Dunia to her brother, Raskolnikov. Only a desperate man would hold onto and continue to dream about a woma...

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...g back, they cannot see the dangers that lie ahead of them. As the dim witted but warm hearted warthog Pumbaa says, “You got to put your behind in your past,” and keep your front aimed at the obstacles ahead and just let the places where you tripped remain distant memories.

Works Cited

Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment. Trans. Constance Garnett. New York: Barnes & Noble Classics, 2007. Print.

Mecchi, Irene, Jonathan Roberts, and Linda Wolverton. "The Lion King (1994) - Memorable Quotes." The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 26 May 2010. .

“Redeeming – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary.” Dictionary and Thesaurus – Merriam-Webster Online. Ed. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, 2010. Wed. 26 May 2010. ,>