Essay on Guilt in Crime and Punishment

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Guilt in Crime and Punishment

In Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky tells a story of a young man that has been forced out of his studies at a university, by poverty. In these circumstances, he develops his theory of an extraordinary man (Frank 62). This conjecture is composed of the ideas that all great men must climb over obstacles in their way to reach their highest potential and benefit human kind. In Raskolnikov's life, the great obstacle is his lack of money, and the way to get over this obstacle is to kill a pawnbroker that he knows. The victim is a rich, stingy, and heartless old crone, and by killing her, taking this evil from the world, Roskolnikov does many great deeds for mankind (Jackson 99),(Kjetsaa 182). …show more content…

These visions that haunt him, are there to remind Raskolnikov that he has committed a sin.

"'What do you want?' Raskolnikov asked, going dead.
The man paused ….
…'What is this?' Raskolnikov cried out.
'I am guilty,' the man said softly.
'Of what?'
'Of wicked thoughts.'"( C&P, Pevear 356).

Raskolnikov believes that these are outside sources that are bothering him. But the truth is that he is inventing them himself. His punishment is his sickness and the terror given by the phantoms that are in constant pursuit of him.

When he does not see apparitions, he imagines that the people around him are not real. His savior, compassion-evoking friend, Sonia, is constantly being compared to a ghost. "Look at your hand!", Raskolnikov says, "Quite transparent. Finger's like a dead person's."( C&P, Pevear 316). When he sees her on the street he sees her as an apparition that flashes before him (C&P, Pevear 526). All that is good and pure is no longer real. Raskolnikov puts himself in seclusion from those that he knows and loves and that are pure and alive (Frank 98). The only way that he keeps in touch with Sonia, is that her presence is ghost-like, faint, and self-serving.

Raskolnikov's feelings of guilt can also be seen in his nightmares. In the novel, Dostoyevsky writes:

"In a morbid condition, dreams are often distinguished by their remarkably graphic, vivid, and

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