Essay on A Nihilistic Analysis of Crime and Punishment

:: 1 Works Cited
Length: 4904 words (14 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A Nihilistic Analysis of Crime and Punishment

This paper provides an exhaustive analysis, from a Nihilistic perspective, of the novel, Crime and Punishment. The paper is divided into many sections, each with a self-explanatory title in capital letters, such as the section that immediately follows this sentence.


Katerina Ivanovna must deal with a man who drinks his life away while his family starves. Marmeladov recounts their suffering by first describing his loss of a job. He claims that, ". . .through no fault of mine but through changes in the office [I lost my place], and then I did touch it [alcohol]!" He attempted to educate his daughter, but what little knowledge she has amounts to nothing when she cannot even collect money from Ivan Ivanitch Klopstock, a man she sewed six shirts for. Katerina, fed up with her entire situation, screams at Marmeladov and eventually is driven to introduce her daughter to prostitution. Through the prodding of Darya Frantsovna, Sonia enters her first night of prostitution only to come home and collapse on her bed. Marmeladov recounts his drunken state as he watched Katerina kneel at her daughters bed and kiss her feet. Not only does Sonia's activity force her to sacrifice her own morals, but she also forced out of her family's apartment by Mr. Lebeziatnikov. Sonia must then continue her life of prostitution while living at the apartment of the Kapernaumovs'. The Kapernaumovs' are described as "very poor people, all with cleft palates." Marmeladov continually dwells on the fact that they all have cleft palates as he describes his daughters. This motif is used by Dostoevsky in order to bring out the theme of Sonia's own defamatio...

... middle of paper ...

...murders? Raskolnikov denies these accusations because confessing to them would be a show of submission to Porfiry. Dostoevsky wants Raskolnikov to be viewed as a respectable man who must decide his own path, to be led to confession through his own suffering.

Raskolnikov approaches his confession alone. Upon Reaching the crossroads, "He knelt down in the middle of the square, bowed down to the earth and kissed that filthy earth with bliss and rapture. He got up and bowed a second time." (Page 453, paragraph 2, line 1). Raskolnikov upon bowing and kissing the dirt feels a wild influx of pleasure, symbolic of religious retribution.

Works Cited

Dostoevsky, Feodor. Crime and Punishment. Trans. Jessie Coulson. Ed. George Gibian. New York: Norton, 1989.

Frank, Joseph. Dostoevsky: The Miraculous Years, 1865-1871. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995.

Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

This essay is 100% guaranteed.

Title Length Color Rating  
Rationalizing Radicalism in "Crime and Punishment" vs. "Demons" by Dostoevsky - Crime and Punishment and Demons by Dostoevsky are two novels that are directly reflective of the time that he spent in exile. Crime and Punishment was a precursor to Demons and laid the foundation for the psychological novel that would characterize these and a later novel by Dostoevsky. Dostoevsky was made aware of the problems with Nihilistic ideas while he was exiled in Siberia. Crime and Punishment was Dostoevsky’s first attempt at a psychological analysis of a person’s inner struggles to rationalize this radicalism....   [tags: Crime and Punishment, Demons, Dostoevsky, ] 1375 words
(3.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Evolution of the Existential Psyche of Raskolnikov through Crime and Punishment - The introspective and self-scrutinizing nature of Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment, allows for us to delve into the existential rationales that warrant and influence the decisions and courses of action that he carries out. It is crucial to explore the workings of Raskolnikov’s mind, to understand the motives by which he is compelled by to perform the heinous murder of Alyona the pawnbroker. By examining Raskolnikov’s psyche, characterization, and decision making processes, which are characterized by his constant schisms and dichotomies, we can gain an understanding of how the portrayal of existentialist ideals as represented by Raskolnikov, evolve through the plot of the novel....   [tags: Raskolnikov, Literary Analysis]
:: 1 Works Cited
1314 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Raskolnikov's Crimes Essay - In every age we live, there is a constant struggle between finding a cure to our neurosis with the advent of urbanization and finding qualities in nature that supersede our abilities in enhancing modern man. With that kind of chaos come various forms of behaviors and actions, most of which stem to arguments of good versus evil. Dostoevsky insists that men have the choice between good and evil every moment of their lives; no matter the circumstance, they have the choice between moral and immoral....   [tags: Literary Analysis Crime Punishment]
:: 7 Works Cited
1818 words
(5.2 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Analysis of Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky Essay - One of the aspects of Crime and Punishment that stands out is that it is much more than a simple crime story. It is in fact a great study of the mind of a murder. Raskolnikov is a terrifying but sympathetic main character precisely because he is just twisted enough, just ill enough, for the reader to believe anyone is capable of such atrocities. The jumping off point for Raskolnikov is his idea of extraordinary and ordinary people. Looking at his theory and applying it as a tool for analysis of Raskolnikov himself leads not only to a deeper understanding of this idea but also of Raskolnikov....   [tags: Crime and Punishment Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1488 words
(4.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Crime and Punishment: Avoiding Punishment is Futile Essay - Avoiding punishment is futile. Whether in the form of proper trials or through guilt, every person will come face to face with the consequences of their actions. Avoiding suffering only causes it to intensify. This is mainly demonstrated through Svidrigailov and Raskolnikov in the end of Crime and Punishment. Both men had been eluding their various torments and they realize the vanity of their avoidance after receiving crushing mental blows. Raskolnikov and Svidrigailov realize that the time has come to recognize suffering and responsibility for previous actions....   [tags: Crime and Punishment Essays] 1259 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky Essay - Slow slicing, or death by a thousand cuts, was a capital punishment in 900 A.D. China for those who committed brutal crimes, such as murder. In present day America, the use of lethal injection is one of many forms of capital punishment used to end the lives of an offender. It appears that people, throughout the centuries, have looked for a suitable way to punish a criminal. These punishments have a sole purpose, and that is to take the life of an offender. By taking the life of a wrong doer does not erase the crime nor does it help reform the criminal....   [tags: Crime and Punishment Essays] 765 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Crime and Punishment: Raskolnikov's Room -      Dostoevsky's 1865 novel Crime and Punishment is the story of an expelled university student's murder of an old pawnbroker and her sister. The idealistic ex-student, Raskolnikov, is ultimately unable to live up to his own nihilistic theory of what makes a "Great Man" and, overcome by fits of morality, betrays himself to the police. Exiled to Siberia, suffering redeems the unfortunate young dreamer. Crime and Punishment is similar in many ways to Balzac's Pere Goriot, especially in respect to questions of morality....   [tags: Crime Punishment Essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
2951 words
(8.4 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
The Limitations of Reason Exposed in Crime and Punishment Essay - The Limitations of Reason Exposed in Crime and Punishment   Dostoevsky's  Crime and Punishment illustrates an important idea. The idea is that "reason," that grand and uniquely human power, is limited in reach and scope.  Social critic Friedrich August von Hayek commented once that, ". it may be that the most difficult task for human reason is to comprehend its own limitations. It is essential for the growth of reason that as individuals we should bow to forces and obey principles we cannot hopefully to understand, yet on which the advance and even the preservation of civilization may depend." Such limitations imply that on life's most important questions - pa...   [tags: Crime Punishment Essays] 3051 words
(8.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Crime and Punishment and Raskolnikov's article, On Crime Essays - Crime and Punishment and Raskolnikov's article, "On Crime" Raskolnikov's article, "On Crime," is vital to the understanding of his beliefs. This article also has a profound effect on Crime and Punishment as a whole, the subject matter being one of the main themes of the novel. The idea of the "extraordinary man" is referred to literally throughout the book, but also notable is the subconscious effect the idea has on Raskolnikov. Sometimes Raskolnikov is not even aware of this influence. It is important to note originality, or the ability to "utter a new word," as a defining characteristic of the extraordinary man....   [tags: Crime Punishment Essays] 3487 words
(10 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Rejection of Svidrigailov in Crime and Punishment Essay - The Rejection of Svidrigailov in Crime and Punishment Crime and Punishment Raskolnikov would reject Svidrigailov because he knows that this man has designs against his sister. Dounia has been his main concern for the past couple chapters-he hounds Svidrigailov not because he enjoys his company, but he worries endlessly about his intentions. Svidrigailov and Raskolnikov at the bar engage in a conversation about Dounia and the interactions of her and he at the house of Marfa Petrovna....   [tags: Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment] 469 words
(1.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]