Crime And Punishment Essay, Research Paper
In the novel Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, suffering is an important part of every character’s role. However, the message that Dostoevsky wants to present with the main character, Raskolnikov, is not one of the Christian ideas of deliverance through suffering. Rather, it appears to me, as if the Dostoevsky never lets his main character suffer mentally throughout the novel, in relation to the crime that is. His only pain seems to be physical sickness.
I chose literary criticism from The Times Literary Supplement, The Literary World and criticism by Lafcadio Hearn, Oscar Wilde and D.I. Pisarev, because they all deal with the issue of how the main character, Raskolnikov, dealt with the crime that he has committed.
“Raskolnikov does not commit the crime because, by way of varied philosophical considerations, and necessity. On the contrary, the conditions he must live under drive him to commit the crime as they have moved him to philosophize about his intentions. In short, Raskolnikov makes the theory up for his own convenience” (Pisarev, 135). I chose this quote because it is a good way to express how and why Raskolnikov would commit this murder.
Raskolnikov commits a thought-out murder in a state of delirium. He ends up committing a second murder, which he never wanted to be responsible for. He kills Lizaveta, an exceedingly innocent person. But does Dostoevsky every remind us of the murder at any time in the novel again? Not in the physical sense of the crime itself. You as the reader doesn’t ever hear about how heavily the murders are weighing on his heart, or how he is tormented by visions of the crime. Raskolnikov doesn’t feel the least bit guilty about having committed the crime; only his pride is being hurt. He doesn’t mention the idea of the pain that might arise from recurrent visions of the crime. Raskolnikov never again recalls the massive amount of blood everywhere, the look on Lizaveta’s face when he brings down the axe on her head. These things clearly show that the crime isn’t what might cause his suffering or pain, it is something else.
After Raskolnikov is sent off to Siberia, he doesn’t feel regretful. He grows depressed only when he learns of his mother’s death. He still hasn’t found any reason to feel remorse for his crime. Even though he was sent to Siberia, he doesn’t view it as suffering because; he would rather not have to go through seven years in his prison cell.
“He wants to give himself up voluntarily to the police, and he wants also to escape punishment and remain free. He himself is most definitely not capable of deciding which of these desires is stronger and which in the next moment will direct his act” (Pisarev, 142). I chose to quote because I wanted to show that Raskolnikov wanted to remain free after committing his crime.
Raskolnikov suffering is never spoken about, mainly because there is none. It is obvious that Raskolnikov never seems to be in a pit of despair from all the suffering he has to face from the effect of the murder.
1.“Dostoevsky and the Novel,” in The Time Literary Supplement. Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism, Vol 2. June 5, 1930. Pg. 465-66.
2. “Crime and Punishment,” in The Literary World. Vol. XVII. Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism, Vol 2. October 30, 1886. Pg. 364-65.
3. Hearn, Lafcadio. “A Terrible Novel.” Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism, Vol 2. November 22, 1885. Pg. 189-94.
4. Wilde, Oscar. “Dostoyevsky’s ‘The Insulted and Injured.’” Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism, Vol 2. May 2, 1887. Pg. 77-79.
5. Pisarev, D.I. “A Contemporary View.” Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism, Vol 2. 1969. Pg. 134-42.