Biogrophy Of Dostoevsky Essay, Research Paper
Fyodor Dostoevsky drew upon his many hardships and life experiences in order to instill a sense of realism and truth into the novel Crime and Punishment. He bases many of the characters in the novel on his own life. By incorporating his own life challeges into the novel, there is a greater sense of personal reflection and emotional honesty. This is what brings the story to life.
Perhaps one of the greatest occurences that influenced the writing of Crime and Punishment was the death of Dostoevsky’s father. His father was a former army doctor who was murdered by serfs. Although his father had been an alcoholic, and abused Dostoevsky both mentally and physically, this loss hit him hard. This tragedy greatly affected Dostoevsky, who became secluded and isolated. He turned his anger inside himself, and suffered greatly thoughout his childhood for it. With lack of a father figure to guide him, Dostoevsky was raised by his mother in a devoutly religious home. However, Dostoevsky could not understand how a compassionate God could exist in a world of such great suffering. He soon turned his back on religion and was led astray of his mother’s teachings. The anger that he felt towards God for taking his father away from him is evident in the character Raskolnikov. Raskolnikov, like Dostoevsky, does not understand how a loving God can bring so much suffering to the world. The childhood suffering of having only one parent is also demonstrated by Adelaida Ivanovna, who “left the house and ran away from Fyodor Pavlovich with a destitute divinity student, leaving Mitya, a child of three years old, in her husband’s hands.” Dostoevsky felt abandoned by his father, much like Mitya was abandoned by her mother.
In 1838 Dostoevsky entered an Engineering Academy as an army cadet. While he was in the service, he was extremely lonely. He had no friends, and suffered from severe depression. He despised the army, and this made him despise all forms of the government, including the Russian Orthodox Church. His lonliness during this period is parallel to the lonlieness that Raskolnikov faces in the novel Crime and Punishment. Technical studies and the army greatly bored him. While he was in the army, he decided to become a writer, because he could express himself freely. In 1844 Dostoevsky finally decided to resign from the army to pursue this newfound love of writing.
Soon after leaving the army, Dostoevsky became heavily involved in a literary group called the Petrashevsky Circle, otherwise known as the Durov Circle. This group met in private to discuss outlawed literature and express their views on Christianity. They also read French socialist theories that were prohibited in Russia. In 1849 Dostoevsky was arrested for his involvement in this group. He was first sentenced to prison where he served several years, then he was moved to a harsh exile camp in Siberia. Later he was sentenced to death. While he was in prison, he was only allowed to read the bible. Because of this, his faith in the Christian religion was restored, and he once again remembered how his mother had raised him. Ten minutes before Dostoevsky was to be executed, he was pardoned and released. This act had a great influence on Dostoevsky’s life, because it made him appreciate life in general. It also reminded him that man is mortal. This was one of the most religious experiences of his life. In the novel Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov suffers throughout the course of the story until he relizes the truth to Christianity. This is the same as Dostoevsky, because he felt like he suffered until he accepted the Christian religion. Also, similar to Dostoevsky, Raskolnikov was sentenced to exile in Siberia.
During this period of exile, the hard labor and stress Dostoevsky was exposed to led him to develop epilepsy. He suffered from this disease for the rest of his life. His experiences with this illness influenced his writing in many ways. The most obvious way is that the character Raskolnikov develops an illness for several days after he completes the murders. Dostoevsky used his own downfalls and low points to demonstrate the sickness of Raskolnikov.
In 1859, Dostoevsky returned to St. Petersburg with a young widow whom he ended up marrying. At the beginning of their relationship, he was happy, but things turned quickly sour. His dream of the perfect wife was soon shattered, as was his belief in love. Dostoevsky used a lot of the same problems with his wife as a basis for the problems that Raskolnikov faced with Sonia. Stuck in an unhappy and loveless marriage, Dostoevsky began the major phase of his literary career.
In 1864, after a long illness, Dostoevsky’s wife passed away. This death was once again hard on him. Not only did he mourn the passing of his wife, but in that same year his brother, Mikhayl, also passed away. Mikhayl had lots of financial difficulties and debts when he died, and Dostoevsky was forced to assume them. This led to him becoming destitute. In Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov is also faced with the same problem of being poor. He struggles to find enough to eat. This was the same thing that Dostoevsky went through. He decided to express his views and experiences being destitute through Raskolnikov.
Every great writer incorporates his or her own life experiences into their work. Dostoevsky was no exception to this rule. Because Dostoevsky based many of the main theme elements and character traits on himself, Crime and Punishment was a book of realism.