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The Character of Raskolnikov From Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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Dostoevsky rationalizes the replacement of Raskolnikov’s benevolence with crazed convictions that feed his thoughts of murder. Intensely chronicling Raskolnikov’s pessimistic reactions to mankind’s degeneracy, Dostoevsky hangs Raskolnikov over a precipice. Raskolnikov demonstrates his benevolence through his distraught upon news of his sister’s marriage. Dostoevsky creates Raskolnikov’s character uniquely, highlighting his desire to empower the beaten and forgotten poor. At first, Raskolnikov dejectedly realizes the desperation of his sister, noting that “she would certainly eat only black bread and drink only water rather than sell her soul” ( 36, ch 4).

Raskolnikov, distinctly aware of his family’s destitution blames his mother for throwing his sister into a dangerous marriage. He angrily notes that his mother does not even “hesitate to sacrifice even such a daughter for the sake of such a firstborn” (37, ch 4). His sister’s marriage provides him with an even more bitter sense of reality that family members turn their backs during pressing times, causing him to grow wary of his surroundings. Eventually, Raskolnikov stops feeling sorry about the world’s tragedy and takes out his emotions on the perpetrator.Dostoevsky reminds me that not all murderers are one dimensional and provides some basis of reason for Raskolnikov’s shifting perspective.

Raskolnikov’s intense and sympathetic reaction to the news of his sister’s marriage at first surprised me. However, I noticed Dostoevsky’s use of parallels to characterize Raskolnikov’s reactions to human suffering. Raskolnikov at first recognizes Sonya’s terror as she “tremble[s] like a leaf” (22, ch 3). Dostoevsky, however, destroys Raskolnikov’s benevolent voice of human suffering and replaces it with anger towards Marmeladov’s family for willingly profiting from Sonya’s suffering.Raskolnikov laments that Marmeladov turned his daughter into a” gold-mine” and plans to leave her “empty-handed herself,” causing him to regret his donation to the family (22, ch 3). Raskolnikov’s pattern of retreating compassion illustrates his struggle to reconcile his haughty disdain for others’ faults and desire to rejoin society.

Dostoevsky’s presents Raskolnikov’s desire to remain blameless, providing hints to his actual commitment to murder.. He blames others for his abject poverty and points fingers for his resulting misfortunes. Dostoevsky uses the pawnbroker’s maid to criticize that Raskolnikov refuses to work as a teacher because he expects a “fortune all at once” (24, ch. 3). Instead of accepting blame for his inability to make ends meet, he labels those above him as soulless degenerates that feed on his failure. His crazed conviction of the pawnbroker for his suffering sparks his belief that murder will be a “service of humanity and the common good” (56, ch 6).

Coincidences firm Raskolnikov’s resolve to commit murder by providing him with excuses and the sense that “everything was settled” ( 53, ch 5). Noting that Raskolnikov takes Lizaveta’s absence as destiny’s sign to murder the pawnbroker, Dostoevsky provides insight into Raskolnikov’s character. Rather than owning responsibility for his actions, Raskolnikov accumulates fabricated coincidences and and convinces himself that he is an instrument of fate.

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The Character of Raskolnikov From Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. (2022, Nov 29). Retrieved from

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