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Fyodor Dostoevsky Essay

1616 words - 6 pages

In Fyodor DostoevskyÕs Notes from Underground the underground man is an extremely complex and challenging character. After inspecting the character, one comes to realize that the underground man is composed of several of the dysfunctional qualities that exist in all types of people in society. Dostoevsky created this character, the Òunderground manÓ, in order to expose the shortsightedness of his social circle.Dostoevsky details the underground man with the qualities of receiving pleasure from pain, repressed memories, disorders, and getting trapped into a ÒlifeÓ routine. He overemphasizes these qualities to bring out the social dysfunction of his own social circle.Throughout the book there are numerous instances where the underground man displays a psychological dysfunction known as masochism, which is defined as Òderiving pleasure or the tendency to derive pleasure, from being humiliated or mistreated, either by another or by oneselfÓ (Dictionary Online). The underground manÕs hatred for the society, in combination with his own powerlessness, somehow makes it pleasurable for him to hurt himself. The underground man knowingly inflicts pain upon himself and declares, ÒI know better than anyone that by all this I am harming only myself and no one else. But still, if I donÕt get treated, it is out of wickedness. My liver hurts; well, then let it hurt even worse!Ó (Dostoevsky 4).The underground man later says: This was a torment of torments, a ceaseless, unbearable humiliation from the thought, which would turn into ceaseless and immediate sensation, of my being a fly before the whole world, a foul, obscene fly-- more intelligent, more developed, more noble than everyone else-- that went without saying-- but a fly, ceaselessly giving way to everyone, humiliated by everyone, insulted by everyone (52).This instance, which referred to the officer, was the first that one can see the underground manÕs masochism in action. The underground man, incapable of dealing with this issue, hides in his house and dwells on the officer for two years. He becomes angry and insulted thus revealing that he cannot handle the social circle in which he lives. Interestingly he develops pleasure from his pain of this rejection he has experienced. The underground man is an extremely educated and intelligent man who sees things that are wrong with society that others do not.The underground man notices a problem with the Ògentlemen,Ó but as these representatives of his social circle look at themselves, they see nothing wrong. This is exemplified in how the underground man questions everything. He is never satisfied with aspects of his social circle, although he is not hesitant in wanting to be a part of the circle. The underground man wants to become a part of this materialistic society and will never give up trying to become an element of it. The reality is he never will be...

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