Crime And Punishment Analysis Essay Research Paper

Crime And Punishment Analysis Essay, Research Paper

Everyone in his or her life experiences some type of mischief or wrong doing in

which causes some type of mental disturbance. In Crime and Punishment, Fyodor

Dostoyevsky uses the five basic literary elements in order to show the atrocities of crime;

that crime is an unnecessary evil that only brings about suffering such as guilt, illness,

loneliness and punishment. The five basic literary elements utilized by Dostoyevsky are

setting, plot, characterization, style and theme.

For instance, Dostoyevsky uses the literary element of setting to show that crime

is consequentially followed by guilt, and only causes a negative effect on that person who

is culpable of the crime. The setting of Crime and Punishment takes place in St.

Petersburg, the capital of Russia, in the midst of its troubled transition to the modern age.

Through Dostoyevsky use of setting we see that crime causes suffering and guilt. For

example, he uses normal occurrences at a police station to exacerbate the protagonist s

(Roskolnikov) guilt. Furthermore, we see the suffering of Roskolnikov through

Dostoyevsky s vivid descriptions of his impoverished room; He woke up tense, bilious,

irritable, and looked with hatred at his tiny room. It was a minute cubicle, six steps

long the ceiling was so low that a man of any height could not stand there without the

sense that he was about to bump his head. (37)

Secondly, through the use of plot, Dostoyevsky displays his feelings that crime is

accompanied with loneliness. I ve really got to go. I wanted to tell you mother…and

you Dunia, it would be better off if we …separated for a while. (336) This statement by

Roskolnikov indicates the extent to which his crime has isolated him, further

demonstrating Dostoyevsky belief that crime entails loneliness. Furthermore,

Roskolnikov stated Leave me, leave me alone… I want to be alone; forget me altogether,

it s better. (337) By turning away from his family, Dostoyevsky shows us that crime

isolates a person not only from society, but their family as well. Suddenly, and with a

dazzling clarity, he understood that not only would he never manage to have a talk, but

there was no longer anyone to talk to or anything to say. (228)

The literary element of characterization is also used in the novel; the changes in

the main character expresses Dostoyevsky belief that crime causes suffering. In the novel

we see that Roskolnikov has a dual personality. Lately he s been feeling depressed…

He s magnanimous and kind…There are times when he doesn t seem to be suffering from

depression and he s just cold…as though he had two contradictory characters that keep

changing places. (215) Roskolnikov has a generous and compassionate side to him, while

on the other hand he is cold, uncaring individual. We see that while he is around Sonia,

he shows his magnanimous and sympathetic attributes. As he was leaving [Sonia s

house] Roskolnikov managed to thrust his hands in his pockets and pull out whatever

coins he had…he put them unnoticed on the windowsill. Later on the stairs, he had

second thoughts and wanted to turn back. (36) This again, shows the alternating

characters of Roskolnikov.

In addition, Dostoyevsky uses descriptive style to display his anti- crime feeling,

and that only suffering is the outcome of criminal acts. Throughout the novel

Dostoyevsky uses literary elements such as symbolism and foreshadow. For instance,

throughout the entire novel it is foreshadowed that Roskolnikov will ultimately confess to

the murder; And what if it was I who murdered the old woman and Lizaveta? (169) was

stated by Roskolnikov after discussing the crime with Zamiotov, a clerck in the police

station. Furthermore, symbolism is an integral part of Dostoyevsky s writing; he uses the

character of Sonia to symbolize the suffering of all humanity, I did not bow to you, I

bowed down to all the suffering in humanity. (315) Sonia is thus used to signify his

compassionate and magnanimous personality.

Finally, through the element of theme, Dostoyevsky expresses that crime

correlates with punishment; whether it be mental or physical. Although Roskolnikov was

not punished by the authority until the end of the book, when he confesses that It was I

who killed the old pawnbroker widow and her sister; I killed them with an ax and robbed

them (511), Roskolnikov was still burdened with the physical punishment of illness.

Ever since the morning proceeding the murder, Roskolnikov was struck with a fever and

throughout the novel we see that his illness does not mitigate, but on the other hand he

gets sicker. Yet he was morose, distraught and quite pale. He looked wounded, his

gaze feverish. (221) And the other sense of punishment for Roskolnikov, was his

imprisonment in Siberia for eight years.

In conclusion, many times in literature an author uses myriad literary techniques

in order to portray his message. In Crime and Punishment, Dostoyevsky uses the five

basic literary elements to convey that criminal acts are pointless and that it only causes

suffering. Crime is an inevitable issue in our world today! It does not matter how

miniscule or how serious the crime is, the problem is that so many people are doing it,

and instead of taking a time-out and contemplating whether this felony is appropriate,

their imprudence and ignorance does not allow them to recognize that crime is an

unnecessary evil.


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