Raskolnikov expresses belief that some people are above the law. In fact, he published an article which established that some “extraordinary” people have the right to “step over certain obstacles”. Raskolnikov believes himself to be one of these extraordinary people. He wonders what it would be like if Napoleon, for example, had played by the rules. Would he have made such an impact on the world? It is this very utilitarian belief that drives Raskolnikov to kill Alyona Ivanovna, and consequently her sister Lizaveta as well. He believes that the pawnbroker Alyona Ivanovna is a louse, “a useless, nasty, pernicious louse.” By ridding the world of Alyona, he thinks he is helping many others.
Keeping this in mind, it comes as no surprise that Raskolnikov would feel utterly abhorred when Svidrigaïlov refers to them as “birds of a feather”(p.340; Part 4, Chapter 1). While Svidrigaïlov is rather keen of their shared similarities, such as their status as murderers, Raskolnikov willingly fails to realize these associations. Raskolnikov’s better side objects to the hedonistic behavior of Svidrigaïlov, decrying him as a man of the most abject nature. The dramatic irony lies in the fact that Raskolnikov desires to be an “extraordinary” man, the very epitome of Svidrigaïlov, a man he holds in no high regard. Despite their superficial variances and dissidences, Raskolnikov had slowly rendered himself into a facsimile of the man he detested, Svidrigaïlov. Although both men, whether knowingly or unknowingly, desire to transcend above the ordinary masses, it is only a matter of time before self-realization indicates the folly of their ways.
In order to understand Raskolnikov’s guilt, it is important to understand the religious influences at work in the time period and place he lived in. In St. Petersburg where Raskolnikov lives, there are strong Christian influences from the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Church condemns killing people with few exceptions. Although is not a devout believer, these influences are still at work in the book. It is clear that Raskolnikov is struggling to fight God away because, as he says that “once God’s will gets mixed up in it, nothing will be done” (389). He acknowledges that the guilt he has is God’s doing, and he struggles internally to get rid of it. The idea that he is not able to feel good about the murder that he knows improved society. He states that “what bothers [him] is this permission according to conscience” (253). Even though he wants to establish his own moral code, it is impossible for him to do so because of the influence of religion.
First, let me introduce you to the main character himself otherwise known as the murderer in this story. Raskolnikov is the main protagonist of the novel, making the story in his point of view. He is very alienated from society due to his
When Raskolnikov was a student he enjoyed the debate and human contact, but also strived for acceptance. He had a dual nature to himself, which could be characterized by his cold intelligence, which separated him from society, and his compassionate side. After Raskolnikov murdered Alyona and Lizaveta Ivanovna
Being the protagonist in Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov is subject to most ridicule and analysis for his moral ambiguity and outlandish views. After reading about his dreadful murder of Alyona and Lizaveta Ivanovna, many come to the conclusion that Raskolnikov is purely evil. His lack of guilt and belief of justification for his crime surely points readers in this direction. Raskolnikov remains convinced that he is superior and that it was his duty to kill such a worthless person. Although some may view this as evilness, others may perceive it as downright ignorant. His atypical way of thinking doesn’t necessarily make him evil, but that is how some comprehend it. At certain points in the story, we see Raskolnikov not as a deranged man, but instead as a compassionate human being. After the murder, we see him carrying out various charitable acts, perhaps as an attempt to atone for his unforgivable crime. For example, we see some good in him when he gives Sonya’s family twenty rubbles after Marmeladov passes on. We also see this when he attempts to rescue a drunk girl from a man by giving her money for a taxi. As much as Raskolnikov expresses that he was justified in his actions, through his mental and physical illnesses it is apparent that he feels some guilt about it. This guilt makes him seem at least a little bit more human. For these reasons, when all is said and done, it is difficult to determine
The protagonist, Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, a former student, decides to murder and rob an old pawn broker, Alyona Ivanovna, not due to his desperate need of money, but due to a theory he wants to test. Raskolnikov leaves no evidence which would lead the investigation to him; however, the police lieutenant in charge of the case, Porfiry Petrovich, a meticulous thinker, understands Raskolnikov’s theory and has a big role in influencing the student to confess. Between the murder and the confession, Raskolnikov undergoes a long and painful process of thought. His friend, Razumikhin Prokofych, along with a prostitute and his future significant other, Sonia Semyonovna Marmeladova, are part of the protagonist’s path. In the end, Sonia turns out to be Raskolnikov’s salvation as she helps him find redemption and start living
Raskolnikov murders an old pawnbroker woman for seemingly no reason at all. His sister and mother move to St. Petersburg following his sister's engagement to a man whom Raskolnikov was extremely displeased. Raskolnikov undergoes severe mental trauma, and falls ill after the
From declaring he wanted to become a Napoleon to wishing for financial independence to murdering for his own sake, he rattles off various motives, showing his obsessive rationalization (394-397). By presenting his conflicting intentions, Dostoevsky exhibits the chaos within Raskolnikov’s mind.
Even when Raskolnikov was asleep he received painful messages of others who were suffering, just as he was. In one particular instance, before the double-murder, Raskolnikov is brought back to the poverty he suffered throughout his childhood. He once again feels a great empathy toward the suffered, but this time
The main theme of Crime and Punishment is estrangement from society. In the beginning, Raskolnikov distances himself from the people of the world. “It was not that he was a cowed or naturally timorous person, far from it; but he had been for some time in an almost morbid state of irritability and tension. He had cut himself off from everybody and withdrawn so completely into himself that he now shrank from every kind of contact.” He was poor but because of his egotistic view of his importance and his feelings of superiority to everyone else he “had ceased to concern himself with everyday
If I could meet Dostoevsky I would ask him what his inspiration for Crime and Punishment was. Sometimes I wonder if the novel was written to give us insight to how Dostoevsky felt about the world. Maybe he is using the character Raskolnikov to portray a part of him who feels alienated from the world, and is torn apart
Therefore Amoia notes that, "as the implications of the deed unfold in his conscience, Raskolnikov attempts to jusitfy his actions as a 'rational' crime" (53). Though he understands that he will be able to escape the physical punishement for the crime, he has yet to comprehend the burden that comes with such an unethical action. Even when Porfiry suggests that the criminal who murdered the pawnbroker may run away but, "psychologically he won't escape" (287), Raskolnikov becomes infuriated and accuses Porfiry of trying to scare him. However, Raskolnikov fails to understand the meaning behind Porfiry's words perhaps because he still chooses not to rely on his conscience and confess to the crime.While the superiority complex sets him apart from the society in the beginning, his piercing conscience distances him from people later on in the novel. He refuses to speak to Razumuikhin or to his family. It only before he goes to jail, that he decides to see his mother. Even when he does so, he is relieved that Dunya is not in the room. He later admits to Dunya that he doesn't, "even remember why [I] even went" to meet his mother. His conscience does not allow him to face his loved ones and eventually, he tries to isolate himself from society. While Raskolnikov tries to alienate himself from his own conscience, he is alienating himself from humanity in general.
Raskolnikov lives an ordinary life as an ordinary man. He is a good man and has a good heart, but he soon commits a crime that will forever change his life. Raskolnikov is a good man; I believe he is kind, generous, and selfless. Now, how are all of these positive traits found in a murderer? I think was caught in a psychotic moment, his mental state was not all there, and he had a dream, he made a plan, and he committed this terrible crime. A good example of Raskolnikov being a kind hearted person, and selfless is when he sees a young girl at the end of the street, he sees by her a rough looking man staring at her. He starts to get very worried what this man might do to this young girl. He goes down the street to get this young girl, and he pays for a taxi to get her home. This was so generous, and small yet so impactful. Raskolnikov cared about what might happen to this young girl, and did something about it. This showed how selfless Raskolnikov is, and what a kind heart he has. I think this shows Raskolnikov’s true character. From here, he makes some terrible decisions, and is engulfed by guilt, but I believe he is a generous, kindhearted person. In this book, Crime And Punishment, Raskolnikov goes from being an ordinary man with an ordinary life to a murderer, tortured by guilt, haunted by the memory of his crime, and him finding himself again in society after the murders.
Throughout the novel, Crime and Punishment by Fydor Dostoyevsky, the author uses characters who are alienated from society, to highlight values of society they are rejected from. Sonia Marmeldov, becomes alienated from society mainly for going into prostitution at a young age and then for falling in love with a murderer. The murderer, Raskolnikov, also faces rejection for his actions, and he later goes to trial where people stick up for him.