The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Crime And Pu Essay, Research Paper
Mari Bauer The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky is a novel exploring the concept of sin and moral digression while considering its effect on the lives of people. The novel includes different levels of breaching morals and the outcome of the lives of each kind. Sonia, an image of Mary Magdalene, commits sin to better the lives of those she loves. Svidrigaylov is a sinful man with no remorse for his actions. He continues until the end to think of only himself until he takes his own life. I will also explore Raskolnikov+s actions and his theory on the extraordinary man. He is not capable of carrying out his beliefs which ends up saving him from being truly evil. In comparing these three characters and their sins it is clear that they all commit evil acts, but at different levels. Sonia represents the best form of evil. She commits sinful acts in the fact that she is a prostitute, but she is doing this to help her family while continually asks for forgiveness from God. This is one of her selfless acts told by Marmeladov. |At six o+clock I saw Sonia get up, put on her kerchief and her cape, and go out of the room and about nine o+clock she came back. She walked straight up to Katerina Ivanovna and she laid thirty roubles on the table before her in silence . . . And then I saw Katerina Ivanovna . . . kissing Sonia+s feet.X (Page 15.) Katerina’s actions are a gesture of thanks for her sacrifice. The kissing of the feet is an allusion to the religion that we later find out is a big part of Sonia+s life. The following conversation between Sonia and Raskolnikov illustrates her beliefs in a higher power. |So you pray to God a great deal, Sonia?X he asked her. |What should I be without God?X She whispered rapidly. . . |And what does God do for you?X he asked, probing her further. Sonia was silent a long while as though she could not answer, her weak chest kept heaving with emotion. |Be silent! Don+t ask! You don+t deserve!X she cried suddenly, looking sternly and wrathfully at him. . . |He does everything,X she whispered quickly, looking down again.X (Page 281.) She believes in God despite the fact she lives her life in sin and misery in order to provide for her family. Her religion shapes her life even though she is continually going against her beliefs. She asks for forgiveness for her sins and believes she will be redeemed in the end. She reacts to her sins by asking for forgiveness. She believes that she must do these things for the good of her family. Sonia succeeds in being a Magdalene through her strong faith in God and her influence on Raskolnikov in convincing him to give himself up. She gives the impression of a helpless, saintly woman forced to give up her purity for the well being of her family. Sonia accepts her suffering and repents her sins making her evil deeds less of a factor in the person that she is. Svidrigaylov is the darker side of evil in that he has abused the women in his life because his willpower is to weak to counterbalance the passion that he feels. In Pulcheria+s letter to her son, Raskolnikov, she explains the situation that Svidrigaylov put Dounia in. |At first indeed Mr. Svidrigaylov treated her very rudely and used to make disrespectful and jeering remarks at table. . . Would you believe that the crazy fellow had conceived a passion for Dounia from the beginning?X (Page 28.) He later admitted his love for her and made promises to her of a new estate and many possessions. His wife soon discovered his secret passion and was furious at Sonia. This shows that Svidrigaylov+s intentions are solely based on his wants and needs. He has little respect for the women in his life and concentrates on what he wants at that very moment in time. At a passage later in the book he is admitting to killing his wife. |Only consider, I struck her just twice with a switch – there were no marks even. . . don+t regard me as a cynic, please; I am perfectly aware how atrocious it was of me and all that; but I know for certain, too, that Marfa Petrovna was very likely pleased at my, so to say, warmth.X (Page 244.) This shows that it is not Raskolnikov who is the extraordinary man, it is Svidrigaylov, and that being an extraordinary man is essentially being evil. He is capable of killing without feeling any sort of remorse and is able to justify it for himself. He does not take responsibility for his actions and acts only based on gaining something for himself.
Raskolnikov seems to be the mixture of the thoughts of Sonia and Svidrigaylov in the novel. He desperately wants to prove himself an extraordinary man with the right to breech morals that no other human is capable of. He thinks that because he is above the normal mortal he can commit an act of murder with out feeling resentful. In this excerpt Raskolnikov is explaining his theory on an extraordinary man. |. . . an extraordinary man has the right . . . that is not an official right but an inner right to decide in his own conscience to overstep certain obstacles.X (Page 226.) He is basically proclaiming that if you feel as if you can commit a crime and justify it to yourself then it is permissible. This does not necessarily mean it is right according to the law, but only if you believe it within yourself. He planned to prove himself an extraordinary man after he killed the old pawnbroker. After carrying out his horrible deed he experiences feelings that he thought he could overcome. Immediately after the murder he is laying in his bed with these thoughts, |For the first moment he thought he was going mad. A dreadful chill came over him; but the chill was from the fever that had begun long before his sleep. Now he was suddenly taken with violent shivering, so that his teeth chattered and all his limbs were shaking.X This physical response is an indication of the quilt that he is repressing. He also represses his actions to his sub conscience so his feelings of guilt appear in the form of dreams. In this dream that he has about his victim his fear and remorse are apparent. |He stood over her. |She is afraid!X he thought. He stealthily took the axe from the noose and struck her one blow, then another on the skull. But strange to say she did not stir, as though she were made of wood. He was frightened . . . the old woman was sitting and laughing, shaking with noiseless laughter. . . He was overcome with frenzy and began hitting the old woman on the head. . . the laughter and whispering from the bedroom grew louder. . . He tried to scream and woke up. (Page 241.) His victim is mocking him in the dream which proves that he still feels the feelings of remorse that any normal person would feel, making him only an ordinary man. After confessing to Sonia he can no longer hold it in and he then confesses to his crime and accepts his punishments. With this act he redeems himself and is not an evil man although he committed evil acts. In comparing the three characters that commit sinful acts it is clear that there are many different levels of evil. While Sonia reacts with repentance Svidrigaylov fabricates reasons to justify his behavior. A truly evil man is one who would believe that there are reasons beyond his control that verify his acts and their severity. Raskolnikov believed that he would be able to justify his crimes because he is an extraordinary man, but proved in confessing that he is not capable of being truly evil. I believe that Dostoevsky was trying to establish the fact that the truly evil humans are those who believe that their behavior is justified. For example, Adolf Hitler believed that he was doing the world a favor by getting rid of any human that wasn+t of the Aryan race. In committing these horrible acts while also believing that they are justified he is proving that he is the definition of a truly evil man according to Dostoevsky. Even though each one of these characters actions breach the common themes of morality not all of them are necessarily evil themselves. Each of these characters represents a different concept of evil. One good, one bad, and the other ugly. The goodness in evil is shown through the saintly prostitute, Sonia. Dostoevsky establishes the existence of true evil through the selfish acts of Svidrigaylov while Raskolnikov represents the ugly form of evil. His acts are in fact wrong, but he realizes this in the end. This saves him from becoming what he believed was extraordinary because his definition of extraordinary, was in fact, evil.