Raskolnikov's Character Development in Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

1095 Words 5 Pages
Ethics is defined as moral principles that govern a person or group’s behavior. Ethics have always played a crucial role in determining different kinds of cultures and what kind of reputation a certain group of individuals holds. In North American culture, we determine our ethics as being brought up by certain standards that determine what kind of person we ought to be. By contrast, other cultures have different approaches as to what is ethically “correct” or acceptable. Ethics incremented in Russian culture for example, contrast dramatically with classic American ideals. Trust is one of the biggest clashes between what differentiates the two cultures. In America, trusting each others peers, neighbors and colleagues is a norm that is so …show more content…
Born an outsider, he strongly feels that he doesn’t belong in a society that imposes certain ethical values into him. He is struggling to fit in this “Russian” state of mind. Throughout the novel, Raskolnikov struggles to find his own way of being. Dostoevsky uses his dreams to portray his abnormal psychological mind. Before the crime, he recalls a dream where he witnesses the beating of a horse, “’ Papa! What did they…kill…the poor horse for!’ he sobs, but his breath fails, and the words burst like cries from his straining chest” (59). But as soon as this ends, Raskolnikov has an unexpected reaction that fuels him to commit a homicide. “’God!’ he exclaimed, ‘but can it be, can it be that I will really take an axe and hit her on the head and smash her skull…slip in the sticky, warm blood, break the lock, steal, and tremble, and hide, all covered with blood…with the axe…Lord, can it be?”(59) His self- doubt in this situation only serves to model how Raskolnikov wishes to follow a certain ethical conformity, present in his society. The fact that he is distraught in his dream but motivated in reality to kill the pawnbroker, demonstrates a disconnect in what he thinks is ethically correct, and what society’s ethical expectations of distrust and dishonesty are. Moreover, Raskolnikov endearing plans soon come into effect. Having subconsciously questioned what he believes to be ethically right in his dream, he reaches a state of
Open Document