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Dostoevsky's Influences

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Throughout literature, authors have been inspired by philosophers, their works based on popular ideas of the age. The same can equally be said for Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Fyodor Dostoevsky was one of the most influential authors of the nineteenth century. One of his most prominent works, Crime and Punishment, concerns the philosophies and theories of the nihilist student Raskolnikov 1. Marquis de Sade * late 18th, early 19th century libertine- pivotal figure in Western thought * Additionally, he was a pornographer, and his bizarre fantasies landed him in an insane asylum for about 32 years of his life. * Overall, his philosophical ideas came from his egotism, which was caused by his upbringings as an aristocrat * Among his ideas were: o people are machines, which annuls moral responsibility o there is no afterlife, so your conduct does not matter o merely local custom, morality is like culture and geography, and therefore is fiction o Ordinary people are utilitarian objects, playthings of the wealthy, who are godlike and powerful creatures, and ultimately unloving o Beauty and innocence inspire only cruelty. ...read more.


* This is nearly exactly the same ideas that are presented through Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment. * In Rodin's words, "I find it odious that futile considerations check the progress of science. Did great men ever allow themselves to be enslaved by such contemptible chains?" * The events that pass when Raskolnikov is overhearing an officer and a student attest to this relationship. 2. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche * "I teach you the Superman. Man is something that has to be surpassed. What have you done to surpass him?" These words said by Friedrich Nietzsche encompass the theories present in -Crime and Punishment * pioneer in the idea of the "greater" man, the idea shared with Raskolnikov. * Rodion puts himself at the top of the moral code because he sets himself above the law. He thoroughly believes that killing the old woman will benefit society, and because he has this idea, his actions are justified. ...read more.


* For most characters, the utilitarianistic idea is the character's downfall o When Raskolnikov confesses his crime to Sonya, she cries, "What have you done- what have you done to yourself?" His response is clear, "Did I murder the old woman? I murdered myself, not her!" * Raskolnikov's previous resolve to kill the old woman because of the societal benefits backfires when he gives up his Ubermensch idea. o Utilitarianism for Svidrigailov ends up turning into nihilism. Even though his motives from the get go are mostly self-interest, he still shows ideas of utilitarianism through his neutral morality, that good and evil are separate, and that all his actions are based on benefit of some kind, that is until he kills himself, although you could probably argue that That was also beneficial. o Sonya- where suicide is an option presented to Raskolnikov as he looks into the river, Sonya represents the path to salvation. Utilitarianism shows itself through her character, because she gives her physical body up for money for her family, which is quite the sacrifice. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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