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Did Raskolnikov Intend to Kill in Crime and Punishment?

The character of Raskolnikov is an fascinating a single in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. A failed visualization of the Ubermensch initially, there is leagues much more depth to the character, not only in a psychological way but in the context of his personal creation and purpose in the narrative. By hunting at how Raskolnikov’s psychosis develops in Crime and Punishment, the reader can see that he begins to betray his own Marxist ideals. This is crucial since Crime and Punishment is not just a riveting crime novel, it’s also a personal statement by author Fyodor Dostoevsky about the failure of Marxism itself and how religious redemption and reform is what Russia actually needs in order to see a prosperous future.

Raskolnikov is established as a character with a lot of mental flaws even just before he commits his crime. The novel begins with vivid descriptions of how much Raskolnikov suffers “in isolation”, setting the stage for his character and actions and permits us to get inside his head right away. The reader is assaulted with gross specifics about his surroundings and can infer that a disturbed person like Raskolnikov is a product of his disturbed surroundings. In Dostoevsky’s vision of St. Petersburg, “The heat in the street was terrible…the unbearable stench from the taverns…an expression of the deepest disgust gleamed…in the young man’s refined face” (Dostoevsky 6). Such a horrible place has brought on Raskolnikov to come to hate life exponentially more. So was the mindset of the average Russian young adult at the time, swept away by the broad and poorly defined ideals of Karl Marx. It is here, so early in the exposition, that the reader finds that Raskolnikov is 1 of these individuals. As noted by Chijioke Uwasomba, “There appears to be as well considerably of uncertainty and indeterminacy in the behavior of these characters” (Uwamsoba 15). Dostoevsky is saying that Raskolnikov is not the only victim of a flawed society. It’s also crucial to note that when Raskolnikov is forced out of this murky, dark, and oppressive city and put into a Siberian prison away from society, that is when he starts to recover. George Gibian says that this natural location “reawakened in him the feelings of his youth, through which he came close to avoiding his crime and to locating regeneration with out possessing to pass via the cycle of crime and punishment” because he is away from an oppressive society and is rather locked up in a chamber alone with his own thoughts. (Gibian 1)

This abhorrence of a ‘flawed’ society sets Raskolnikov up to be a Marxist and a Nihilist. Marxism is the belief in a superior mass led government which consists of the labor theory of value, dialectical materialism, the class struggle, and dictatorship of the proletariat till the establishment of a classless society although Nihilism is the belief that life has no purpose, that existence is suffering, and that to survive is to try to find out which means in the suffering. As the reader has successfully entered the mind of this strange man, we find out of his beliefs. Nevertheless, these views are seriously warped. Raskolnikov requires it upon himself to interpret becoming a nihilistic Marxist as believing to be superior amongst commoners. He asks, “What if a man is not truly a scoundrel…we make the guidelines. Ourselves, there’s no natural laws.” (Dostoevsky 24), he’s testing the waters for his thesis that he is excused of society’s laws since they’re inferior to him. Raskolnikov idolizes Napoleon Bonaparte. Thus, it is easy to believe that simply because Napoleon killed to obtain greatness, it’s okay for Raskolnikov himself to do so. (Uwamsoba 143).

Raskolnikov endures a number of horrific nightmares, every single a single core to his character improvement. None are as crucial as his very first, a dream in which a mare is beaten to death. Raskolnikov’s dream about the mare signifies the shift of Raskolnikov from a schizoid mess to a maniac with potentially homicidal intentions. Could his killing truly be predestined or did this dream spark his inner violent intentions? Chijoke Uwamsoba believes that “the savage beating of the mare in his dream foreshadows his personal axe murder” (147). His axe murder is even more horrific than the mare’s death and is just as shaking to his psyche. The mare’s fictional death is what sets the stage, but the pawnbroker’s death is what finishes the show, casting Raskolnikov’s fate to turn out to be increasingly deranged and lost. It is essential to note that Raskolnikov’s dreams “are tied collectively by violence” (146). This very first dream, in distinct, impacts him in a way that parallels his future guilt of his future killing. This is also the initial act of violence in the novel, a single that only exists inside of Raskolnikov’s subconscious. Now fueled with a passion for murder, Raskolnikov, justified or not, has set the stage for his psychosis.

Raskolnikov states that his intentions are strictly Marxist. Raskolnikov’s intent to murder is based on a warped sense of Marxism. He believes killing the pawnbroker is morally justified. just due to the fact he is the ‘Ubermensch’ (Dostoevsky 40). Raskolnikov sees the pawnbroker as “a vermin who is portion of a class sucking him and his like” (147). He was furious at her social status and hated her by association, believing that her elite status is killing all of his potentials. This is portion of a Marxist ideology, for the Proletariat to go against the Bourgeoisie. Raskolnikov gives five motives for his murder. “First…because he was poor and needed cash. This motive is the social justification from poverty. Then he argues that he wished to benefit society, that the old woman was useless and would have let her money rot. This motive is utilitarian. Gennaro Santangelo says that these 1st two are coupled simply because “they exist on the level of the consciousness” (Santangelo 1). Santangelo also believes that Raskolnikov’s basis for his neurosis is due to incestuous desires, even though this detracts from his overall objective as a character. (Santangelo 1).

Even so, it is possible he utilizes the broad blanket of Marxism to hide his personal intentions. According to Thomas Fiddick, it is completely reasonable that “Raskolnikov may well also be noticed as an intellectually motivated psychopath” and he just couldn’t face the truth that a man whom he regarded as so utilitarian superior could actually be a lowly petty criminal basket case (Fiddick 1). Though he calls himself so many names, he doesn’t quite comply with by means of with his own ideals. Stated by Kieran James, Raskolnikov’s ideals mirror Luzhin and Svidrigailov’s however he denounces them, showing that he in no way was truly subscribes to his preachings (James 4). In his climatic confession to Sonia, Raskolnikov tells her “that low ceilings and modest poky small rooms warp thoughts and soul.” (Dostoevsky 403).

Raskolnikov blames his killing of the pawnbroker on the truth that he was psychologically compelled to do so, after once more blaming his own surroundings and property for bringing him up disturbed. This disturbed psyche has also created him envious not only is he envious of the pawnbroker’s wealth, but due to the fact of the fact that Raskolnikov felt he “could not place himself in the mystic structure of man’s internal relationships and some entity outdoors self–hence his character was split.” (Santangelo 1). Even his name “Raskol”, means “split” in Russian. Since of the fact that Raskolnikov is a hypocrite, he becomes increasingly distraught, paranoid, and mad. The justification for his killing was not 1 he subscribed to. He did not think of his own clear mind, but rather his actions have been “performed in a masterly and most cunning way, while the direction…is deranged…like a dream” (Dostoevsky 197). This leads to Raskolnikov successfully destroying himself. The “Punishment” in the title is not his eventual arrest, but rather his self-suffering and pitying. Raskolnikov was never a sensible man as many critics have mistaken. He is “severely wounded psychologically exposing himself to extreme individualism and consequent dementia” (Uwamsoba 146).

Throughout the time period Crime and Punishment was written, Marxism was spreading across Russian, becoming adopted and misunderstood by many susceptible people believing that Marx’s excellent society was in fact a cry to destroy the upper class in order to redeem their lowly selves. Hence, Raskolnikov’s actions are these of twisted interpretations of Marxism, twisted by his personal psychosis. Raskolnikov admits to Sonia that the guilt is killing him, along with the paranoia of Svidrigailov and Porphyrius suspecting him. (Uwamsoba 144). Despite this, “Even in prison…Raskolnikov nevertheless holds inflexibly to the thought that the murder is justifiable. And however his whole becoming, according to Alfred Bem, his complete moral nature is shaken precisely by the moral aspect of the murder” (Bem 1). He’s gone so far into the rabbit hole that he completely refuses to escape. This echoes and even mirrors the fate of Russia. Russia was going through an practically existential crisis similar to Raskolnikov’s, and it seemed that Marxism was the answer. In reality, the twisted minds of Communist leaders we know such as Stalin sparked Russian’s downfall. Dostoevsky knew what he was writing about when he wrote Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment. He isn’t just some crazy coot, he’s a personification of Dostoevsky’s fears of Russia.

Raskolnikov is nevertheless a fascinating character to dive into, and he is so significantly far more complex than just an author stand-in. As clarified by Diane Telgen, Raskolnikov “is schizophrenic…socially withdrawn, reclusive, alone, and seems to be unable to…form…social relationships” (Telgen 1). The only two characters he really has a connection with are his sister and Sonia, both of the opposite sex. It can be inferred that he can not connect with his own gender. Not even around his supposed greatest pal Razumikhin does he seem at ease. Razumikhin is the foil to Raskolnikov, getting outgoing and friendly even though Raskolnikov is reclusive and hateful. He ends up winning the adore of Raskolnikov’s sister while she fades out of his narrative as he leans towards Sonia. Sonia also acts as a foil to Raskolnikov, becoming kind and religious. Raskolnikov becomes so desperate for belonging following his crime that he throws off the façade of Marxism and Nihilism to be accepted by her, and more importantly God. Raskolnikov giving to the irrational customs of religion contradicts the truth that he spent the majority of the novel attempting to make a point about how rational of a getting he is (Gibian 1). A victim of underdeveloped mentality and sense of belonging, Raskolnikov ultimately ends his childish temper tantrum and finds a spot in this world he hated so.

Raskolnikov is Dostoevsky’s foil to the radical movements that plagued Russia. For the duration of this time period, each aspect of Russian society was known as into query by rationalists, Marxists, and nihilists revolutionaries. Fyodor Dostoevsky “intended to show how destructive [these political ideals] was…for mankind” by making a basket case textbook definition of how these ideals manifested in a fragile and broken thoughts lead to practically nothing but self-suffering and pitying. Raskolnikov’s proclaimed motive in the exposition is to prove “he is beyond great and evil, a ‘superman’ whose ‘will to power’ was on element with that ‘Anti-Christ” ” (Fiddick 1). This mirrors the ideas of nihilism, specifically these spoke by famed philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. The concept of the “Ubermensch”, the “superman”, the supreme human, is meant to be observed as an ultimate and benevolent teacher for mankind, but Raskolnikov interprets it as becoming a self-imposed title of superiority. What Dostoevsky is attempting to say is that “following the ‘superman’ theory…leads to death, destruction, chaos, and misery’ (Telgen 78). Even though Raskolnikov does not physically die, his soul and spirit are slain by his own tormented psyche, causing him to destroy other folks even though spiraling down in a state of chaos and self-imposed misery. “Raskolnikov…reacts in horror at his personal crime” showing that these psuedo-Marxists and Nihilists are not even ready to face their own philosophies (Telgen 78). He does not have the guts to see the impact of his lead to, his own ideologies preached so challenging by himself realized in flesh and blood. When Raskolnikov turns himself in to Petrovitch, Petrovitch commends the truth Raskolnikov sees “all the attraction of life” as practically nothing and says he is “an ascetic, a monk, a hermit!” with “a book, a pen behind [his] ear, a learned research”, going on to say there is “a fantastic numerous Nihilists about nowadays…and indeed it is not to be wondered at”, ultimately straight up asking Raskolnikov if he is a Nihilist (Dostoevsky, 538). Raskolnikov responds with a muttered “N-no…”, he has realized that his definition of Nihilism is incorrect, that all of his prior beliefs he held so strongly were null and void, that he will never ever grow to be the wonderful Napoleon-esque figure he sought so strongly to be. (Dostoevsky, 538). Raskolnikov is also asked by Petrovitch if he believed in New Jerusalem. Raskolnikov’s constructive answer is significant since of the fact that “New Jerusalem which he means is the Utopian perversion of it, to be built upon foundations of crime and person self-assertion and transgression (Gibian 1).

Dostoevsky wasn’t a pessimist, nonetheless, and he ends the plight of Raskolnikov on a happy (and sappy) note. As mentioned by Diane Telgen, Raskolnikov believed that Christianity was “the accurate vision of the human spot in the world” so it is fitting Raskolnikov gets his redemption (Telgen 78). Locked in prison, forced inside his own psyche, he ultimately matures out of his adult angst and with the assist of Sonia becomes redeemed by Christianity. Just as Raskolnikov forced Sonia to study to him the story of Lazarus, he has undergone his personal “resurrection…new life” beneath God. Raskolnikov kisses the ground as Sonia pleads him to do (Dostoevsky 520). This is a classic Russian and pre-Christian idea that the Earth is the mother of man (Gibian 1). At the novel’s conclusion, “the river which Raskolnikov sees…is no longer a implies for committing suicide…it is the river of life” he has lastly located true beauty in life, and he goes into his bed with a Bible beneath his pillow, for the very first time in the complete novel, satisfied. ” (Gibian 1). What Dostoevsky is attempting to say is that Russia’s psuedo-philosophers must accept Christian Communism into their hearts as an alternative of this abhorrent false interpretation of Communism. When Raskolnikov does so, he stops suffering from guilt, shame, and madness. James Townsend has stated “Dostoevsky nearly seemed to embrace an in-this-life purgatory,” exactly where men and women suffer while alive major to their ultimate salvation (Townsend 1). This is correct for Raskolnikov and the novel concludes with a really hopeful insight on the changed man.

Raskolnikov is a fascinating character full of ego, mystique, which means, and improvement. He is elevated beyond getting a 1 dimensional political and religious statement, and his fundamentally broken thoughts is what enables these political meanings to become all the far more tangible. It is like Raskolnikov is a fly on the wall case study the reader does absolutely nothing but endlessly pursue him. The novel itself is a character study, a meticulous craft for Fyodor Dostoevsky to let a narrative to speak his beliefs to the public.

Via this ceaseless pursuit the reader not only learns of what he represents, but why these ideals are so critical to accept. The reader learns to realize that Raskolnikov is Fyodor Dostoevsky’s way of putting his opposing view on Marxism and Nihilism, or rather their corrupted versions he was forced to experience living in mid to late 1800’s Russia. This is essential simply because it elevates Crime and Punishment from not merely getting an intriguing crime novel. The reader can pick up on Dostoevsky’s correct intentions and ideals to recognize that Crime and Punishment is also a deeply individual letter to Russia, a warning of sorts illustrating what happens when an person chases this corrupted Communism as well far into the rabbit hole, while also delivering a hopeful message, a window into a feasible future of Russia through spiritual redemption and reform.

Functions Cited

Bem, Alfred L. “Guilt in Crime and Punishment.” Trans. Robert Louis Jackson. Readings on Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Ed. Tamara Johnson. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998. 58-62. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Jessica Bomarito and Russel Whitaker. Vol. 167. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Artemis Literary Sources. Net. five Nov. 2014.

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment. New York: Contemporary Library, 1947. Print.

Fiddick, Thomas C. “Madness, Masochism, and Morality: Dostoyevsky and His Underground Man.” Dionysus in Literature: Essays on Literary Madness. Ed. Branimir M. Rieger. Bowling Green, Ohio: Common Press, 1994. 89-one hundred. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Kathy D. Darrow. Vol. 238. Detroit: Gale, 2011. Artemis Literary Sources. Net. 5 Nov. 2014.

Gibian, George. “Traditional Symbolism in Crime and Punishment.” PMLA 70.five (Dec. 1955): 970-996. Rpt. in Literature Resource Center. Detroit: Gale, 2014. Artemis Literary Sources. Web. 5 Nov. 2014.

Hackett, Francis. “Crime and Punishment.” Horizons: A Book of Criticism. Francis Hackett. B.W. Huebsch, 1918. 178-185. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Laurie Lanzen Harris and Sheila Fitzgerald. Vol. 7. Detroit: Gale Investigation, 1984. Artemis Literary Sources. Net. 5 Nov. 2014.

Santangelo, Gennaro. “The 5 Motives of Raskolnikov.” Dalhousie Review 54.four (Winter 1974): 710-719. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Jessica Bomarito and Russel Whitaker. Vol. 167. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Artemis Literary Sources. Net. five Nov. 2014.

“Crime and Punishment.” Novels for Students. Ed. Diane Telgen and Kevin Hile. Vol. three. Detroit: Gale, 1998. 68-94. Artemis Literary Sources. Net. five Nov. 2014.

Townsend, James. “Dostoevsky and His Theology.” Pravoslavie.ru. N.p., 9 Apr. 2012. Internet. 5 Nov. 2014.

Uwasomba, Chijioke. “A Socio-psychological Exploration of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.” Academicjournals (2009): n. pag. Http://www.academicjournals.org/. Academic Journals, Apr. 2009. Internet. 5 Nov. 2014.
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