Crime And Punishment By Fyodor Dostoevsky: Passage Analysis

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In this passage, Raskolnikov is reflecting on the murder he had committed earlier in the novel, the murder of the pawnbroker and her innocent sister. This passage from Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, begins with Raskolnikov wondering “who [was] that man who sprang out of the earth,” who knew he was a murderer (Dostoevsky 274). He wonders if he has left “[a] clue” behind, which would explain how the man knew the truth (274). The accusation by the man torments him emotionally, and he wonders how he could have ever “t[oo] up an axe and shed blood” (274). This emotional torture leads to him doubting that he is a superman, something he completely believed in. When Dostoevsky refers to the “real [m]aster,” he is referring to Napoleon…show more content…
Bonaparte was still vastly respected after his death, which made him a superman, since his crimes did not resonate with society, his accomplishments did. Raskolnikov thinks Napoleon is made “not of flesh but of bronze” (274). Raskolnikov then compares his murder of the pawnbroker to the acts of Napoleon, and finds them ridiculous. Raskolnikov states “the old woman is of no consequence,” which Dostoevsky uses to signify how Raskolnikov truly does not believe killing her is a crime (274). Instead, Raskolnikov thinks that he “didn’t kill a human being, but a principle,” part of his superman theory where those who hurt society must be removed. At this point, Raskolnikov has realized that he is not a superman, because he is emotionally tormented by his crime, unlike the supermen he believes in. He was “only capable of killing,” he could not advance and help society by using her money for the greater good
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