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Crime And Punishment Essay

1479 words - 6 pages

In Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, the murder of the pawnbroker bears little significance when compared to the 'punishment' that Raskolnikov endures. The murder is the direct result of Raskolnikov's Ubermensch theory. Though it takes a while for Raskolnikov to realize the profound mistake in his theory and in his logic, his tedious yet prolific journey eventually leads him to redemption. Suffering, guilt and societal alienation prompt Raskolnikov to reject his Ubermensch theory and ultimately achieve redemption. Through Raskolnikov's character, Dostoevsky reveals that the psychological punishment inflicted by an unethical action is more effective in leading to self-realization than any physical punishment.
Raskolnikov's internal conflict between reason and conscience results in his alienation from society. In the beginning, Raskolnikov relies entirely on logic and reason. He also believes that his theory will sound completely logical to those with a, "broad and completely independent mind" (Dostoevsky 459). It is this firm conviction in his logic and his theory that prompts him to commit the murder for the 'common good of the society'. It is also the same conviction that sets him apart from society since he considers himself to be superior or "extra-ordinary" like 'Napoleon or Mahomet' comapred to the "ordinary" people. Commenting on the relation between the ordinary and the extra-ordinary and thereby explaining the reason for his own alienation, he remarks that the common people, "even despise [them], as reactionary and incapable of elevated thinking" (222). Therefore, according to Raskolnikov, the ordinary people fail to succumb to the superiority of these "extra-ordinary" men since they do not even recognize the capabilities of these powerful men. Since this theory seems logical to Raskolnikov, he believes that, "killing a foul noxious louse...ought to bring absolution to forty sins" (438). Raskolnikov does not consider the murder a crime since it seems entirely logical to him. However, at the same time he attributes negative qualities to the pawnbroker to further jusify his crime, thereby suppressing his conscience. 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...

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