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Crime and Punishment - Writer's Notebook

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Vincent Naimo September 15, 2004 Block 3A Crime and Punishment Writer's Notebook 1. This first instance of this dual nature characteristic occurs when Raskolnikov begins to second guess himself as to whether or not he should commit the murder. This is evident when Dostoyevsky writes, "...he knew his thoughts were confused. He knew he was very weak." (Dostoyevsky 2). Even though Raskolnikov has planned the murder for several weeks, he is still unsure as to whether or not his plan was fool proof; however, at times he recognized his plan as being perfect in that it would ensure that the police would not discover the murderer. Eventually, Raskolnikov commits the crime. When he commits the crime he is still unsure which is evident because "he seemed to have no strength. Yet the moment he started bringing the ax down, strength sprang up in him" (Dostoyevsky 74). On his way to the police station to confess to the crime, his intellectual desire to confess to the crime and ease his suffering was overruled by his emotion desire to help the injured man, who turned out to be Marmeladov. This shows the dual nature of Raskolnikov. How his intellectual side is always deliberate while his emotional responses are spontaneous. Then this is reinforced when he gives away his last 20 rubles to Katerina, Marmeladov's wife. It is at this point in the novel that Raskolnikov meets the much talked about Sonya and that he realizes that she is also a person of great suffering and shame. That she is a person that he can confide in because she also has suffered. Another example regarding Raskolnikov's dual nature appears during his period of sickness. When there is no talk of the murder, Raskolnikov appears to be not in his right mindset and even oblivious to the people in his room. Razumikhin says, "He's raving! Or he wouldn't dare! ...read more.


"Whip her to death!" | \/ BEATING | \/ heavy load --- weak horse, female, old --- no motion /\ | WATCHING /\ | little boy (Raskolnikov): "WHY?" /\ | Father: "It's none of our business." mare => drunk girl (apparent rape victim) = = = = = > Dunya (sister of Raskolnikov) /\ /\ || || "dirty old man" = = = = = = = = = = = = = => Svidrigailov mare => Alyona (pawn broker): --a peasant yells "Take an axe to her," p. 54 --Alyona, like mare, takes many blows before succumbing Alyona is beaten by Raskolnikov, but she is also a beater; she is said to beat her sister Lizaveta regularly. Raskolnikov has also been portrayed as a victim of Alyona. Thus the horse can represent the pawn broker lady. Furthermore, based on the fact that this is the only time Raskolnikov's father is mentioned, it might be concluded that his father did not play a very important role in his life which can be represented in his immoral actions. Raskolnikov is frightened by his dream which is evident when he wakes "up drenched in sweat. His hair damp with sweat, he was panting..." (Dostoyevsky 57). 6. Dostoyevsky adds the epilogue at the end of the text for numerous reasons. The epilogue provides distinctly different sceneries in comparison to what Dostoyevsky provides in the previous five hundred pages of the novel. Raskolnikov continues to ponder why he ever turns himself in and confesses when suddenly, "He did not understand that this feeling might have been a token of the future break in his life, of his future resurrection, his future new view of life" (Dostoyevsky 516). Therefore, the epilogue highlights that even in the worst of times, one could find hope and resurrection even in the most unlikely situations as in Raskolnikov's case in his murders and evading punishment throughout the duration of the novel. ...read more.


The answer is that he can not and should not receive any sort of implication for this act. Raskolnikov himself has an entirely different perspective on his predicament. He is the outsider and for him God is dead. The godless society is one in which there are no moral requirements. For Raskolnikov killing the old woman was a means to kick start himself into existence; it was not a crime. To have not acted in the way he did would have been a crime because the life of the old woman could not stand against the value of his own life which mattered above all else. To have not killed the woman would have entailed his own existential death and this would have been reprehensible from his own point of view and according to his nihilist theory of action. Besides, the woman herself was of little worth, perhaps no worth at all; she preyed on others in a dreadful manner, she was as Raskolnikov said, a vile, noxious insect. If Raskolnikov had kept his head then he would have escaped the ordinary consequences of his act. But he confesses under the strain of knowing that his action has solved none of his problems, and this fact suggests that his nihilism is an unsatisfactory modus vivendi, indeed one that is impossible for the human individual ever to operate if he is to remain human. But his failure to overcome himself does not show that the killing of the old woman is necessarily to be condemned. By the same beliefs, Raskolnikov was brought down. Porfiry, the magistrate in charge of the murder investigation has a domineering affect over Raskolnikov. It is this power stance that leads Porfiry to believe that Raskolnikov is the murderer. During every instance in which the two meet, there is always a conflict and Raskolnikov always feels that Porfiry is playing mind games with him in order to make Raskolnikov confess. Thus, the inner conflict within Raskolnikov combined with Porfiry domineering affect over him, leads Porfiry to Raskolnikov. ...read more.

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