Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel “Crime and Punishment” brings the reader a glimpse into the mind of a criminal, tormented by the guilt of murder. Dostoevsky’s focal point of the novel does not lie within the crime nor the punishment but everything in between.
Dostoevsky also vividly depicts the life and conditions of poverty within the confines of St. Petersburg. Dostoevsky uses a unique and descriptive diction which takes the reader’s perspective and puts them in the mind of the murderer – Raskolnikov.
Raskolnikov “…pulled the axe quite out, swung it with both arms, scarcely conscious of himself, and almost without effort, almost mechanically, brought the blunt side down on her head.” In this violent and graphic scene of murder, Raskolnikov commits murder upon Alyona Ivanova. The result from the blow of the axe was gruesomely detailed Dostoevsky described “The blood gushed as from an overturned glass, the body fell back.”(75) As these graphic violent scenes would contribute to the main theme of the story it also contributed to the theme of poverty. Raskolnikov is living in poverty and he sees murder as the only solution to his desperate situation. His second murder involved the pawnbroker’s sister – Lizaveta. Just as violent and gore-filled as his first murder, his second murder delivered death in a single blow; “The axe fell with the sharp edge just on the skull and split at one blow all the top of the head”.(77) These two gruesome murders will play to the main theme: the guilt of the crime. Raskolnikov also feels as if he is a superhuman or better than everyone else. His act of murder is due in part to his belief that he is above the law. However, when he discovers that he is not supe...
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...nd contribute to the main idea of the story: The courage to stand in the face of poverty and the guilt which follows a criminal’s misdeed.
“Crime and Punishment” in a way reflects upon today’s society in which the murderer is punished severely but courage above all else is admired. In today’s poverty filled streets, crime is not uncommon and today’s serial killers do not have the guilty plagued conscious that Raskolnikov had. Without such guild which makes us all human, one is to wonder whether we are losing our humanity. Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” has a profound effect on present and future generations as it stresses the importance of family and bonding. Raskolnikov’s confession to his murderers is a self sacrifice, one which will save his soul and conscious. Dostoevsky, portraits Raskolnikov’s punishment as a revival, where he is able to renew his life.
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