Visions Of Hell In The Final Decades Of Russia

809 words - 3 pages

Visions of Hell in the Final Decades of Russia


In the final decades of Russia, Dostoevsky saw
what he believed to be the seeds of the unraveling of
Russian society. He feared and resented the growing
waves of people he believed to be young, rebel
intellectuals who were smitten by materialism and
selfish philosophies, but cared little for their fellow
man. Convinced that a complete disassociation from
others would be the ultimate undoing of humankind,
Dostoevsky set out to write a tale in "Crime and
Punishment" that would put out the errors of this "me
first" ideology. The storys central character,
Raskolnikov, is an extremely intelligent young student
whose mind, like those of so many of us in college, has
been pumped full of new ideas and philosophies that
fascinate him, even if he does not fully understand
them.
Raskolnikov's undoing occurs at the beginning
of the novel, when he comes to the conclusion that he is
indeed a "superman," free to do as he wills. Convinced
that he is superior to the common "filth" he sees daily
in the streets and that he is therefore beyond the law,
he secretly murders an old pawnbroker whom he despises
in order to prove his point. The crime goes unsolved,
but Raskolnikov's troubles are just the beginning. For
now, not only is he one of the chosen "few," he also
possesses a secret he can tell no one. With his very
soul cut off from the outside world, Raskolnikov
realizes just how alone he is. He recognizes his need
for some form of human contact, even though that wish
flies in the face of the superman role he believes is
his. Raskolnikov winds up living a nightmarish existence
through much of the novel, literally torn between his
ideas and his compassion like a person with a split
personality.
Raskolnikov's personality was outside of
"ordinary" humanity. There were some like him on the
streets of St. Petersburg: the poor, the exiled, the
homeless, the mentally and emotionally disturbed, that
the higher class people tried to forget about.
Raskolnikov's "superman" figure of St. Petersburg chose
to leave society, rather than being forced out. His own
self began to blindly see himself as a well rounded
figure. He set goals for himself and wanted to live up
to them. Each characteristic he had started to grow even
deeper as he held on to his portrait of being a helper
to those that needed him.
Raskolnikov's mind was pumped with ways to
survive a town full of prostitutes and beggars. He was
forced to forget it all, living as just one small man in
a city of many people. Raskolnikov lashes out with bold
comments and obsessive compulsive thoughts. He drifts
completely away from all normal contact with society.
Raskolnikov is now a...

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