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Imperfect Conscience in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment: Imperfect Conscience

A highly educated individual, avoiding the hardships of society while pondering the possibility of great wealth, Raskolnikov, in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment,” frustrated with his immoral actions, suffers from an abrupt physical and mental breakdown after brutally mutilating a wicked pawnbroker. After this soul-scarring incident, the initial feelings of success in completing his mission quickly changes once he realizes possible flaws in his, otherwise considered, perfect murder. Raskolnikov’s imperfect conscience finally comes to an emotional awakening once his saint, Sonya, an unintelligent prostitute, brings him the love, sensitivity, and inner serenity to help him confess to the murder he so coldly commits.

After ruminating on the pessimistic consequences of this crude and selfish murder, a change in conscience comes over Raskolnikov. Once he understands the reality of the matter does he actually suffer a breakdown. Though he commits a very serious crime, Raskolnikov still refuses to believe its contin…

Free Essays on Crime and Punishment – Suffering, Death, and Resurrection

Crime and Punishment – Suffering, Death, and Resurrection

Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote the novel, Crime and Punishment, during a turbulent time in Russian history. Yet his work will speaks to any age. Dostoevsky wrote to warn against what he considered the negative effects of the trend of nihilism and rational egoism. He advances this objective by employing themes of suffering, resurrection, and death–all of these currents running through a surprisingly benevolent universe.

If Dostoevsky’s fellow Russian Marx was correct in stating that religion is the opiate of the people, then suffering is the proverbial needle that injects it into a person. Suffering is the dominant theme of this work. It twists and contorts itself into so many aspects of the story, that any other classification of it would simply not do it justice. Immediately following Raskolnikov’s crime, he begins to suffer. The inadvertent death of Lizaveta is a crushing blow to his conscience. Dostoevsky is conveying his message: a wanton act will lead to a deluge of suffering. A theory is no protection fro…

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