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A Comparison of Irony in Crime and Punishment and A Doll’s House

Use of Irony in Crime and Punishment and A Doll’s House

There are many links between Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and A Doll’s House, by Henrik Isben. Each character goes through many ironic situations. Throughout both of the works dramatic, situational, and verbal irony are used.

Dramatic irony is used throughout Crime and Punishment. The reader knows that Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov killed the pawnbroker, Alyona Ivanovna, and her sister, Lizaveta Ivanovna. A quote to support this is,

“He took the axe right out, swung it up in both hands, barely conscious of what he was doing, and almost without effort, almost effort, almost mechanically, brought the butt of it down on the old woman’s head.” (Dostoyevsky 114)

No one in the novel knows who killed the pawnbroker and her sister except for Raskolnikov. The police officer, Porfiry Petrovitch, suspects that Raskolnikov killed the pawnbroker and her sister but he cannot prove it.

The reader also knows that Luzhin puts money in Sofya Semyonovna Marmeladov’s pocket when she is not looking. After Sofya, whose nickname is Sonia, finishes talking to Luzhin she leaves. Sonia has no idea that Luzhin has put money into her pocket. Raskolnikov’s friend, Andrei Semyonovitch Lebezyatnikov, was present when all of that takes place. “All of this was observed by Andrei Semyonovich.” (Dostoyevsky 460) Luzhin goes to a reception for Sonia’s father, Semyon Zakharovitch Marmeladov, and announces that Sonia is a thief. Sonia immediately denies the accusation. Luzhin tells her to look in her pocket. Sure enough the money that he was missing was there. Luzhin wants Sonia to marry him but she does not love him. Luzhin plans to blackmail Sonia into marrying him. Le…

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…ire. Nora is just stating that the temperature inside the house is hot. Nora then gets up and, “Shuts the door of the stove and moves the rocking-chair aside.” (Isben 15)

All three types of irony are used throughout the two works. Crime and Punishment and A Doll’s House would be incomplete without irony. Irony plays an important role in any type of literature. Irony is used to help show the opposite of what is actually said and/or done. I think that without irony there would be no literature. I think that literature would be boring and plain if there was no irony to add to its originality and creativity.

Works Cited:

Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment. Trans. Constance Garnett. New York: Modern Library, 1950.

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House. In Four Major Plays. Trans. James McFarlane and Jens Arup. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981.

The Women’s Movement and Female Writers

The role of women writers and women in society has changed drastically over the last two centuries. The women’s movement and female writers have worked hand in hand to pursue equality for women and to move their issues to the forefront of the nation. Writers such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sarah Moore Grimké, Angelina Grimké Weld, Harriet Jacobs, and Sojourner Truth help bring to light the sensitive problems that need to be addressed in the women’s rights movement. Angelina Grimké Weld, in her Appeal to the Christian Women of the South, says, “It is through the tongue, the pen, and the press, that truth is principally propogated” (1948). Weld is well aware of the power and influence that the writer has over her audience. The female writers certainly had a substantial influence because they encouraged a movement that is still being fought for today.

The typical 19th century woman served many roles, but her roles were limited to domestic ones. The majority were wives, mothers, caregivers, and housekeepers. Women were considered to be property and were limited in their rights as individuals. As a result of their limited roles, many women began to feel cheated, thus a voice began to emerge among women writers bringing to the attention of the public the discontent that women felt. At the forefront of the women’s movement was Elizabeth Cady Stanton who voices her feelings well in Eighty Years and More: Reminiscences:

The general discontent I felt with woman’s portion as wife, mother, housekeeper, physician, and spiritual guide, the chaotic conditions into which everything fell without her constant supervision, and the wearied, anxious look of the majority of women impressed me with a strong feeling that some active measures …

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…. Paul Lauter, et al. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998. 1839-1863.

Lauter, Paul, et al., eds. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998.

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady. “Declaration of Sentiments.” The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter, et al. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998. 2035-37.

— Eighty Years and More: Reminiscences. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter, et al. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998. 2033-35.

Weld, Angelina Grimké. Appeal to the Christian Women of the South. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter, et al. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998.1946-1953.

— “Letters to Catherine Beecher.” The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter, et al. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998. 1954.

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