Does Raskolnikov's Death According To The Philosophy Of Existentialism

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According to the philosophy of existentialism, man lives individually and controls his life through a series of decisions. In Lazarus Laughed, Eugene O’Neill exemplifies this in stating, “Life is for each man a solitary cell whose walls are mirrors.” This play, heralded as being a brazen reply to Nietzsche’s belief that “God is dead,” deals with existentialism in this adaptation of the rising of Lazarus. In this adaptation, O’Neill shows Lazarus returning from death to the living, but Lazarus tells the spectators that death does not exist as there is only God’s laughter. This play, written in the twentieth century, focuses on the story of Lazarus, a story alluded to in Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment as it is also representative …show more content…

Literally Raskolnikov lives in an extremely small apartment, while figuratively he isolates himself from society, friends and family through a combination of mental and physical obstacles. Although the novel represents Raskolnikov as a fairly isolated person initially, his isolation only worsens thorough his plotting and execution of the murder of the pawnbroker Alyona Ivanovich. After murdering Alyona in Part I, the punishment for his crime begins in Part II. Raskolnikov states, “‘Surely it isn't beginning already! Surely it isn't my punishment coming upon me? It is!’" as he begins to mentally war with the potential consequence of what he has done (Dostoyevsky 74). This realization of his execution of his interpretation of the Ubermensch as not yielding the intended consequences haunts Raskolnikov. He is sent into fevers and illness as a result of his guilt regarding his crime, which further isolate him into his “cell” as he goes into his mind. Raskolnikov thinks and dreams, with many of his dreams symbolizing the realities of his conscience. Unlike Meursault, Raskolnikov reflects upon himself in his isolation throughout the novel. His conscience weighs heavy with the thoughts of his crime. Raskolnikov believes that “‘the old woman was a mistake perhaps, but she is not what matters! The old woman was only an illness...I was in a hurry to overstep...I didn’t mean to kill a human being’” (Dostoyevsky 217). Raskolnikov ponders his actions through the time of the crime to his sentence in Siberia, eventually realizing that he does not embody the Ubermensch he so desperately wanted to become. Raskolnikov only reaches this level of self reflection after following Christianity, a concept rejected by Meursault that leads to his inability to fully recognize his true

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