Crime And Punishment: Confession As A Path To Forgiveness Essay, Research Paper
Dostoevsky used confession as a path to forgiveness throughout the novel. From his first thought after the murders to the time that he actually confessed to the crimes. Whether it be from Raskolnikov to Nikolay, the act of confession made then feel better about themselves removing the weight that they had placed upon their shoulders.
Confession is to the ordinary man the first step to forgiveness. Through confession, the ordinary man can share his burdens with others. Moreover, let known the dark secrets what he has been harboring, trying desperately to keep away from everyone else. In contrast, the extraordinary man would never have the need to confess his sins. Because he would not have, thought twice about what it was that he did, and therefore would have no need to tell others of his sins. Or even to then that what it was he did were even sins, after all the extraordinary man would have looked at it in the fact that he saved many people from the old ?louse? and that he had, because he was extraordinary, the right to kill any one who he though deserved it. In the moments after the crime itself, Raskolnikov considers confessing everything. Only to have the pressure and sickness build up until the need to confess to someone is so great that he cannot contain it anymore.
Confession is the one thing that Raskolnikov needs to do through out the novel but cannot. Instead of confessing to the crimes that he committed and suffer punishment from authority, he chooses to try to keep his secret and ended up punishing himself.
The first thought of confession first appeared in part one chapter seven when his first thought was to give ?up everything, and would have gone to give himself up, and not from fear, but from simple horror and loathing of what he had done. The feeling of loathing especially surged up within him and grew stronger every minute.? (Dostoyevsky 77) This scene starts how to show that Raskolnikov realized that his theory was flawed and that he was in fact not the extraordinary man that he thought that he was.
The second thought of confession is when the porter hands him the summons to report to the police station. He completely forgot about how Nastasya had told him about how the landlady was suing for back rent. On his way to the police station, he thought, ?I?ll go in, fall on my knees and confess everything?? (Dostoyevsky 91)
He then again in the police station thinks of confessing to the crime in the police station. To avoid this he tells them the most personal thing in his life. How he was engaged to the landladies daughter, and how she was not even that attractive. After signing the IOU, he had the urge to confess again. ?A strange Idea suddenly occurred to him, to get up at once, to go up to Nikodim Fomitch, and tell him everything that had happened yesterday, and then to go with him to his lodgings and to show him the things in the hole in the corner.? (Dostoyevsky 100)
At the end of part two chapter one when Raskolnikov faints from the tension of being summons and the smell of the paint reminding him of the crime scene. The reader is shown how the horror of what he has done is growing ?stronger every minute.? (Dostoyevsky 77) The act of murder, if he can ignore it, would therefore make him a superior (extraordinary) man. However, he cannot ignore it and is in need of human contact. Both of these things, the extraordinary man has no use for but the ordinary man requires.
Then in part two, chapter six Raskolnikov confesses in a way to Zametov by saying that ?it was I who murdered the old woman and Lizaveta.? (Dostoyevsky 155) Then gave a detailed explanation of what he ?would? do with the jewel and money if he did in fact kill the old ?louse? and her sister. All of which he did, but then passed it of as a joke, that he was just messing with Zametov. Zametov however does not as readily dismiss the confession, as Raskolnikov believes, and later it is used as part of Zametov?s suspicion against Raskolnikov.
The next thought of confession comes when he is walking home from the caf? and sees a woman attempt to drown herself, motivated by the nearness of the suicide. ?Anyway, I will make an end, for I want to? But does it matter? There will be the square yard of space?ha! But what an end! Is it really the end? Shall I tell them or not? Ah ? damn! How tired I am!?(Dostoyevsky 160) After seeing the woman try to commit suicide, he realized that spending time in a ?square yard of space? (Dostoyevsky 160) in jail would be better than the suffering that he is imposing upon himself, or the realization that he had been considering the same thing, suicide.
On his way to the police station to confess to the crime, his intellectual desire to confess to the crime and ease his suffering was overruled by his emotion desire to help the injured man, who turned out to be Marmeladov. This shows the dual nature of Raskolnikov. How his intellectual side is always deliberate while his emotional responses are spontaneous. Then is reinforced when he gives away his last 20 rubles to Katerina, Marmeladov?s wife. It is at this point in the novel that Raskolnikov meets the much talked about Sonya and that he realizes that she is also a person of great suffering and shame. That she is a person that he can confide in because she also has suffered.
In part three chapter three in the mist of a discussion with his mother Raskolnikov realizes that the crime rather than making him above the ordinary man imprisons him and isolates him from others, even his mother: ?It became suddenly plain and perceptible that he would never again be able to speak freely of anything to anyone.? (Dostoyevsky 214) Moving him farther and farther away from the extraordinary man that he though he was and closer to the ordinary man he is.
Raskolnikov again considers confessing in Porfiry?s office, with the stress of having a surprise hidden in the closet. When all of a sudden Nikolay comes in and confesses to the crime of killing the old louse and her sister. Nikolay confessed so that he could begin the path to forgiveness even though he did not commit the murders confessing to them make him feel better about himself and relieve the stress that had been placed upon him. Later in the novel, the painter that was the surprise hidden away in the closet comes up to Raskolnikov and apologizes for accusing Raskolnikov of the murders. This further pushed Raskolnikov to the point of confessing by knowing that an innocent man will pay for his crime if he does not come forward and confess to the crime that he committed.
Raskolnikov?s thoughts of confession, finally occur in part five, chapter four when Raskolnikov confesses to Sonya. Where she answers ?What have you done, what have you done to yourself? … There is no one, no one unhappier than you in the whole world.? (Dostoevsky 380-381) Sonya instructs him to go to the hay market and confess to his fellow ordinary people. His pride on the other hand this time kept him from doing this. It wasn?t until latter with Luzhin gone and Svidrigailov dead that he was able to ?take up his cross? and begin his re-entry into humanity. He has taken the cypress-wood cross, and makes the sign of the cross for Sonya?s sake, which is a step towards redemption. Then he goes to the Hay Market to confess to the people, when he attempts this people think that he is a drunk and will not even listen to what he has to say. He then proceeds to the police station with the cross around his neck, being both a symbol of his crime and a symbol of redemption, to confess everything. Releasing himself from the punishment that he had inflicted upon himself and to accept the punishment of the law.