Raskolnikov, in Dostoevsky's novel Crime and Punishment, is a complex character difficult to understand. He believes himself superior to the rest of humanity, and therefore he believes he has the right to commit murder. After he kills Alena Ivanovna, an old pawnbroker, Raskolnikov discovers his supposed superiority has cut him off from other people. He exists in a self-created alienation from the world around him. Raskolnikov mearly drifts through life, unable to participate in it anymore. It is only through Sonya that Raskolnikov is able to gradually regain his connection to humanity; she helps him to understand that, although he cannot be superior to others, she loves him regardless. Although he finds it difficult to reject his theory that certain individuals may commit acts not permitted ordinary people, Raskolnikov does accept that he is not such an individual, that he is ordinary. Through this realization and Sonya's love for him he finds the strength to confess to his crime and accept responsibility for it; this allows him to slowly began to rejoin the world around him.
It is initially difficult to understand why Raskolnikov plots to murder the old pawnbroker. As a compassionate person, Raskolnikov finds the idea of violence abhorrent. Contemplating the murder of Alena Ivanovna, he dreams of an incident from his childhood when several peasants beat a horse to death. He is horrified at the senseless brutality and cruelty of the peasants; after Mikolka, the owner of the horse, slams a crowbar into the mare and finally kills her, the young Raskolnikov runs to the body, sobbing, and kisses the mare, then tries to attack Mikolka. He asks his father, "Papa, why did t...
... middle of paper ...
...al of a man, of his gradual regeneration, of his slow progress from one world into another." Although dearly purchased, Raskolnikov has at last found inner peace.
Barnhart, Joe and Linda Kraeger. Dostoyevsky on Evil and Atonement: The Ontology
of Personalism in his Major Fiction. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1992.
Cameron, Norman, trans. Freedom and the Tragic Life: A Study in Dostoyevsky. By
Vyecheslav Ivanov. New York: Noonday Press, 1960.
Dostoevski, Feodor. Crime and Punishment. Trans. Jessie Coulson. Ed. George Gibian. New York: Norton, 1964.
Gibson, A Boyce. The Religion of Dostoyevsky. Philadelphia: Westmenster Press, 1973.
Morsm, Gary Saul. "How to Read. Crime and Punishment." Commentary 1992 June
O'Grady, Desmond. "Dostoyevsky Lives: Apostle of Interior Freedom." Commonweal November, 1994: 6-7.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- From the very first page of Crime and Punishment, there is an air of isolation. The novel opens to Raskolnikov leaving his apartment. While on his way out, he is in hopes of not meeting his landlady, who may demand payment for his long overdue rent. From here, it becomes evident early on that Raskolnikov does not truly wish to be in the company of others. He isolates himself from society. This is shown in Part II, Chapter II when Raskolnikov seeks out his friend, Razumikin. He goes to Razumikin’s apartment for no clear, apparent reason.... [tags: Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Literary Analysis]
1345 words (3.8 pages)
- Before and following Raskolnikov’s murder, he lives a life of anxiety and pride. Raskolnikov has no concern for anyone. But gradually Raskolnikov changes his attitude and actions. This alteration then leads him to confess and recognize his crime. This positive change is all thanks to Sonia. Throughout Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov meets with Sonia and at each meeting Raskolnikov advances in recovering his lost emotions. Sonia was necessary for Raskolnikov’s growth because without her Raskolnikov would have remained a prideful, miserable, man.... [tags: Love, Emotion, Feeling, Crime and Punishment]
1303 words (3.7 pages)
- 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]
1314 words (3.8 pages)
- 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]
2951 words (8.4 pages)
- 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)
- Raskolnikov's Dream in Crime and Punishment In Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov's dream about the mare can be used as a vehicle to probe deeply into his mentality to discover how he really feels inside. The dream suggests that Raskolnikov is a "split" man; after all, his name in Russian means "split". His personality has a cruel and thoughtless side as well as a caring, compassionate side. Through the dream and the symbols therein, a reader can cast Raskolnikov, as well as other characters from Crime And Punishment, into any of the various parts in the dream.... [tags: Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment]
606 words (1.7 pages)
- Sonia and Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment Sonia and Raskolnikov are two characters that interact with each other in the novel, Crime and Punishment. They interact on multiple levels, sharing several likenesses. Both of these characters are at-times self-sacrificing, both are struggling for meaning in a dreary existence, and both are generally unhappy people, but brighten and seem to enjoy each other's presence--even when Raskolnikov is berating her religion. What is self-sacrifice, for which these characters and so many people around the world engage in.... [tags: Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment]
490 words (1.4 pages)
- Crime and Punishment - My name is Raskolnikov It is obvious that Raskolnikov did not kill Alyona. Nikolai did. He confessed, didn't he. Sure, sure, I know what you're saying: Raskolnikov confessed too. But it is obvious that his confession was not a true confession. Raskolnikov had seen Nikolai's true confession, and was so moved that he decided he'd like to try confessing too. And one must not overlook the Christ symbolism in the novel. Raskolnikov is the obvious Christ-figure; he's poor, he's generous, he's schizophrenic.... [tags: Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment]
878 words (2.5 pages)
- Comparison of Raskolnikov and Svidrigailov in Crime and Punishment In his book Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky explores the paths of two men, Raskolnikov and Svidrigailov. These two men encompass many similar problems and obstacles throughout their lives. Both commit murders and are faced with the long and mentally excruciating journey of seeking redemption. They also share many characteristics of their personalities. The reason that the outcomes of their lives are so drastically different is due to the fact that they have completely different perspectives on life.... [tags: Crime and Punishment Dostoevsky Essays]
574 words (1.6 pages)
- The Two Personalities of Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment Raskolnikov, the main character of the novel Crime and Punishment by Feodor Dostoevsky, actually possesses two completely contradicting personalities. One part of him is intellectual: cold, unfeeling, inhumane, and exhibiting tremendous self-will. It is this side of him that enables him to commit the most terrible crime imaginable - taking another human life. The other part of his personality is warm and compassionate. This side of him does charitable acts and fights against the evil in his society.... [tags: Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment]
572 words (1.6 pages)