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A Study of the literary techniques used by Fyodor Dostoyevsky in

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Introduction

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. Neal Gruer 5C "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 set in St Petersburg where the main character, Raskolnikov, appears to be an ex-student living, in poverty, a life of lethargy. However, it soon emerges that he, despite the physical nature of his situation, has a very active mind. To reveal whether he is of a special "breed" of humans, he finds it necessary to kill, and the unfortunate subjects of his experiment are an old pawnbroker and her sister. After the murders, Raskolnikov is subject to a series of mental and emotional changes, eventually leading to his confession and, later, his arrest, trial and eight-year prison sentence. It was both this interesting plot and the philosophical nature of Dostoyevsky's writing, which initially attracted me to this book. It also features many themes and characters, as well as an effective setting. ...read more.

Middle

It is a clear element in Raskolnikov's downfall; however, it also shows redemptive value when the setting changes - thus aiding in the character's subsequent rise. Besides utilising the setting, Dostoyevsky uses the structure to show many other aspects of Raskolnikov and his changing character. This structure is such that the crime itself is dealt with at the very start of the novel in Part I. Parts II to VI focus on Raskolnikov's reaction and behaviour and it is only in the short, two chapter Epilogue that the physical punishment is administered. This structure shows that the real penalty of an act similar to that of Raskolnikov's is not so much arrest, trial and imprisonment, as guilt and paranoia experienced soon, if not immediately, afterward. These feelings can go on for an extensive period of time as is demonstrated in the book, and confession can be the only action to eradicate this mentality: "To the question as to what had prompted him to turn himself in, he [Raskolnikov] replied bluntly that it had been genuine remorse." The author also uses two characters to further assist the structure. Porfiry Petrovich - the policeman in charge of the murder investigation - is the first of these two characters. ...read more.

Conclusion

What had revived them was love, the heart of the one containing an infinite source of life for the heart of the other." Dostoyevsky's use of spiritual words such as "recovery", "infinite" and "renewed" all give a powerful illustration of the effect this realisation has on both characters. This scene comes at the very end of the novel - placed here to show that the discovery of love brings the ordeal to an end - thus making its message more important. It also shows how key the emotion is in the story of Raskolnikov and his spiritual rise. Sonya and Porfiry are used to facilitate Dostoyevsky's structure, in addition to being important in portraying Raskolnikov's changing personality. By making such dissimilarity between the two ways that the two characters affect Raskolnikov, we are able to see his downfall and subsequent rise much more clearly. Dostoyevsky's writing in this book is such that the characters and setting around the main subject, Raskolnikov, are used with powerful consequences. The setting is both symbolic and has a power that affects all whom reside there, most notably Raskolnikov. An effective Structure is also used to show changes to the plot's direction and Raskolnikov's character. To add to this, the author's word choice and imagery are often extremely descriptive, and enhance the impact at every stage of Raskolnikov's changing fortunes and character. All of these features aid in the portrayal of Raskolnikov's downfall and subsequent rise. ...read more.

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