Get help from the best in academic writing.

Comparing Crime and Punishment and Notes from the Underground

Crime and Punishment and Notes from the Underground

Crime and Punishment and Notes from the Underground Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s stories are stories of a sort of rebirth. He weaves a tale of severe human suffering and how each character attempts to escape from this misery. In the novel Crime and Punishment, he tells the story of Raskolnikov, a former student who murders an old pawnbroker as an attempt to prove a theory. In Notes from the Underground, we are given a chance to explore Dostoyevsky’s opinion of human beings.

Dostoyevsky’s characters are very similar, as is his stories. He puts a strong stress on the estrangement and isolation his characters feel. His characters are both brilliant and “sick” as mentioned in each novel, poisoned by their intelligence. In Notes from the Underground, the character, who is never given a name, writes his journal from solitude. He is spoiled by his intelligence, giving him a fierce conceit with which he lashes out at the world and justifies the malicious things he does. At the same time, though, he speaks of the doubt he feels at the value of human thought and purpose and later, of human life. He believes that intelligence, to be constantly questioning and “faithless(ly) drifting” between ideas, is a curse. To be damned to see everything, clearly as a window (and that includes things that aren’t meant to be seen, such as the corruption in the world) or constantly seeking the meaning of things elusive. Dostoyevsky thought that humans are evil, destructive and irrational.

In Crime and Punishment, we see Raskolnikov caught between reason and will, the human needs for personal freedom and the need to submit to authority. He spends most of the first two parts stuck between wanting to act and wanting to observe. After he acts and murders the old woman, he spends much time contemplating confession. Raskolnikov seems trapped in his world although there is really nothing holding him back; he chooses not to flee and not to confess, but still acts as though he’s suffocation (perhaps guilt?)In both novels defeat seems inevitable. Both characters believe that normal man is stupid, unsatisfied and confused. Perhaps they are right, but both characters fail to see the positive aspects of humans; the closest was the scene between the narrator of Notes from the Underground and Liza. In this scene he almost lets the human side show, rather than the insecure, closed off person he normally is.

Buy Essay Online: Dishonest Odysseus of Homer’s Odyssey

The Dishonest Odysseus of Odyssey

Once he returns to Ithaca, Odysseus displays dishonest behavior and does not once tell a person who he actually is when first meeting him. Odysseus hides his identity at first, whether by actively lying or passively not correcting their erroneous beliefs.

He tells Pallas Athena, first, that he is from Crete, had killed a man there, and had gotten a ride with some Phoenicians to Ithaca. He tells Eumaios that he grew up in Crete, went to Troy for the Trojan War, returned to Crete afterward and traveled to raid Egypt, where he was captured by Egyptians. Odysseus (as the beggar) says that he grew wealthy in Egypt, but was taken in by a man who meant to sell him as a slave. He tells that he escaped, and found refuge in Thesprotia. Then on his way back home to Crete, people tried to make him a slave again, he escaped again (although in a different fashion), and he ended up in Ithaca. Except for the fact that it’s the story of a hard life, this bears absolutely no relation to the actual story of Odysseus. He tells everyone (or lets them believe) nearly the same tale to everyone else that he meets in Ithaca before he kills the suitors. There are a few noticeable differences that we will get to, but one must be consistent in one’s lies, after all, in enemy-held territory. After killing the suitors, he tells Laertes a completely different lie, mostly centering around him (Odysseus as the stranger) having seen Odysseus alive after the Trojan War.

Odysseus lies to his enemies for obvious reasons; he doesn’t want them to know that Odysseus has returned. He starts off lying to his allies and friends for similar reasons. The only people who he can allow to know his identity are those he has te…

… middle of paper …

…and has to fight down his emotions, so we can relate to him. Ultimately, though, he keeps his self-control and wins out in the end, making him a true hero and a fine character.

Works Cited and Consulted

Bloom, Harold , Homer’s Odyssey: Edited and with an Introduction, NY, Chelsea House 1988

Crane, Gregory , Calypso: Backgrounds and Conventions of the Odyssey, Frankfurt, Athenaeum 1988

Heubeck, Alfred, J.B. Hainsworth, et al. A commentary on Homer’s Odyssey. 3 Vols. Oxford PA4167 .H4813 1988

Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fitzgerald. New York: Vintage Books, 1989.

Rengakos, Antonios. Homertext und die Hellenistichen Dichter. Hermes. Einzelschriften, Heft 64. Stuttgart, F. Steiner, 1993.

Tracy, Stephen V. ,The Story of the Odyssey Princeton UP 1990

Van der Valk, Marchinus. Textual Criticism of the Odyssey. Leiden: A.W. Sijthoff, 1949.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.