This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Character Development In Crime And Punishment By Fyodor Dostoevsky

1504 words - 7 pages

In his novel Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky uses Raskolnikov as a vessel for several different philosophies that were particularly prominent at the time in order to obliquely express his opinions concerning those schools of thought. Raskolnikov begins his journey in Crime and Punishment with a nihilistic worldview and eventually transitions to a more optimistic one strongly resembling Christian existentialism, the philosophy Dostoevsky preferred, although it could be argued that it is not a complete conversion. Nonetheless, by the end of his journey Raskolnikov has undergone a fundamental shift in character. This transformation is due in large part to the influence other characters ...view middle of the document...

It is clear from the very beginning that Raskolnikov does not place great value in human relationships. Even Razumihin, whom Raskolnikov calls a friend, is treated rather coldly during their first meeting in the novel. Raskolnikov walks to Razuhimin’s apartment to speak with him, but upon arriving abruptly changes his mind and says to his friend “’now I see that I want nothing […] I am by myself… alone […] Leave me alone” (114). His isolationist mindset is also made evident by his eccentric behavior throughout the novel. On multiple occasions he stays inside his room for days at a time and does not speak to anyone, save perhaps Nastasya, who brings him food. Dostoevsky thus expertly emphasizes Raskolnikov’s emotional and mental alienation from society by physically isolating him as well. In addition, the most blatant example of his inability to connect with others and disregard for human life is his cold-blooded murder of Alyona, as well as his justification for the act. Raskolnikov claims that he should feel no guilt for killing her as she was “a vile, noxious insect […] of use to no one” (513). In fact, he believes that he has benefited the world by murdering her, a line of reasoning which shows a clear lack of compassion.
Dostoevsky’s grim characterization of Raskolnikov seems to offer little hope that he will ever be able to connect with others and integrate into society. However, by the end of the novel it is evident that despite all odds Raskolnikov is truly a changed man who sees humanity in a new light. The main catalyst for this transformation is his relationship with Sonia. Even before he understands that he loves her, his attitude towards Sonia is markedly different from his attitude towards others. When she falls ill in Siberia and is unable to visit him in prison, Raskolnikov is “very uneasy and [sends] to inquire after her,” showing that he has concern for her (540). Eventually he realizes that he “love[s] [Sonia] beyond anything” and that she loves him as well, to the extent that “the heart of each held infinite sources of life for the heart of the other,” making her the only person in the novel with whom he truly has a meaningful relationship (541). The overwhelming love he feels for Sonia counteracts, in part, his disdain for humanity and therefore begins to change his perspective on other people. When Raskolnikov first arrived at the prison, “he looked at [the prisoners] and they at him with distrust and hostility” (537). After he realizes that he loves Sonia there is a significant shift in his attitude—he “fancied that day that all the convicts who had been his enemies looked at him differently; he had even entered into talk with them and they answered him in a friendly way” (541). Raskolnikov reached out to the prisoners and attempted to form some sort of connection, which is a significant improvement from his previous self. He no longer views everyone as lice or feels completely alienated from society. He believes that...

Find Another Essay On Character Development in Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky

1946 words - 8 pages In Fyodor Dostoevsky book Crime and Punishment, women at this time in Russia were not the equals of men in terms of education and power. In Crime and Punishment the women in the story were self-sacrificing in their actions, which in return paid off for the women. Majority of women, in Crime and Punishment, such as Sonya were selfless in their actions. The women in this story play a motherly role towards the men. Women in this story may have

Exposing Nihilism in Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

1807 words - 7 pages A paragon of realist literature, Fyodor Dostoevsky deftly exposes nihilism in his novel, Crime and Punishment, published in 1866. Its protagonist, Rodion Raskolnikov, is intelligent yet bitter and unfeeling, having denounced his morality and bonds with society. He embodies the qualities of nihilism, the desertion of all emotional and ethical concerns. This philosophical doctrine is historically ubiquitous, particularly with the Nihilist

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky Describes Power and Masculinity

1921 words - 8 pages Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky is a psychological novel from the 19th century in Russia. This novel gives us a sense of the social, political and economic turmoil which Russia and its people were living through during that time period. During this period of hardship people would take the decisions that they would consider necessary for survival and this novel exposes some of the decisions that people had to make to keep on living. The

"Crime and Punishment" by Dostoevsky

1372 words - 5 pages In the novel Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky portrays the main character, Raskolnikov, in a complex and unique fashion. He could have been portrayed as the good guy, bad guy, or just your average man on the street, but Raskolnikov is displayed with more than one persona. "It would have been much easier for Raskolnikov to explain his weekness, but it was more pleasant for him to consider himself a strong man" (Chizhevsky 164). Raskolnikov's

Literary Techniques Used by Fyodor Dostoyevsky in Crime and Punishment

2039 words - 8 pages A Study of the literary techniques used by Fyodor Dostoyevsky in Crime and Punishment to convey the downfall and subsequent rise of the main character. "Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky is the story of a young student Raskolnikov and his need to murder an old woman to prove one of his many philosophies. The book begins with the murder, but the primary focus is on his reasoning and reactions before and after the act. It is

Fate in Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

810 words - 3 pages Throughout history, people have relied on fate as the reason for their misfortune. Whether they let it decide their actions or run their life, fate has been the excuse for many to make bad decisions. In Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Raskolnikov blames the majority of his crime on the instances of fate leading up to the murder of Alyona Ivanovna. Through Raskolnikov’s reliance on fate, readers are able to see Dostoyevsky’s

What character in World Literature I like most and why: Rodion Raskolnikov in "Crime and Punishment" by F.M. Dostoevsky

655 words - 3 pages is there behind the biblical words "love your neighbour like yourself"?The novel by F.M. Dostoevsky "Crime and Punishment" and its main character, Rodion Raskolnikov, can righteously be stated here as one of the most brilliant examples of this literature trend. The plot is relatively simple, almost a detective story - a young man kills an old usurer lady. But the true motives of this crime are far from a mere bean counter. A typical

Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment

1498 words - 6 pages Fyodor Dostoevsky, like most authors, had a distinct way of conveying his message in his novel. In the case of Crime and Punishment Dostoevsky employs irregular plot pacing to develop the character of the protagonist, Raskolnikov, who undergoes quite a journey. Sounds like most books right? A man going through a journey and undergoing a transformation. The unique thing that has captivated many readers is a murder occurring in the early stages of

Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime And Punishment

2062 words - 8 pages better place. This is exemplified through many of his actions. He murders Alyona so that “thousands of good deeds make up for one tiny little crime” (64) and believes that he saved Sonya’s family from the streets by providing them with money, twice. Rodya is a very egoistic character who defends his good deeds by giving himself egoistic reasons as to why he did that. Sonya on the other hand, is a humble and down to earth girl who will do anything to

Raskalnikov's Psychosis is a psychoanalitical perspective on the book Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. It's an awesome essay, one of my best. Period

1489 words - 6 pages Freud states that there are three components of one's psyche or mind; the id, ego, and superego. Simply put: The id is what the person wants to do, the ego is what the person can do, and the superego is what the person should do. In the novel Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, the protagonist Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov must overcome these three parts of his subliminal, inner self before he can take action of any sort. He cannot act

Importance of St. Petersburg in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment

2587 words - 10 pages Importance of St. Petersburg in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment explores the dangerous effects of St. Petersburg, a malignant city, on the psyche of the impoverished student Raskolnikov. In this novel, Petersburg is more than just a backdrop. The city plays a central role in the development of the characters and the actions that they take. Raskolnikov survives in one of the cramped, dark

Similar Essays

"Crime And Punishment" By Fyodor Dostoevsky

492 words - 2 pages Complexity of a characterIn many novels, the complexity of a character is often described within the first few chapters. In the novel, Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, the author takes the first few pages to discuss the main character. The main character is extremely proud, cynical, and emotionally detached from humanity and somewhat in a mental state. Traits that may get any one into trouble, especially if put into the right

Crime And Punishment By Fyodor Dostoevsky

1192 words - 5 pages out the "good" in Raskolnikov, as he sacrifices his own money to help Sonia out.The novel Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky demonstrates how man pays by suffering for his crimes against men. It portrays the character of Raskolnikov, a man who murders an old pawnbroker and her stepsister because of his theory that he was an extraordinary man, and therefore had the right to commit any crime. However after committing the murders

Crime And Punishment By Fyodor Dostoevsky

723 words - 3 pages Suffering In the novel Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, suffering is an integral part of every character's role. However, the message that Dostoevsky wants to present with the main character, Raskolnikov, is not one of the Christian idea of salvation through suffering. Rather, it appears to me, as if the author never lets his main character suffer mentally throughout the novel, in relation to the crime, that is. His only

"Crime And Punishment" By Fyodor Dostoevsky

1687 words - 7 pages Crime and Punishment the reader cares about Rodion Raskolnikov. He is the primary and most significant character in the novel. We are introduced to this complex character in Part 1. We get to know the poverty stricken condition that he resides in, and we get to know his family situation as we read the long letter from Raskolnikov's mother. Then we witness the murder as it is graphically described by Doestoevsky. After reading this graphic