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Pride and Guilt in Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, and Devils

In “On Dreams,” Freud asserted that feelings of guilt, if repressed from consciousness, inevitably surface in unconscious symptoms, such as nightmares or madness. Although a person may repress his conscience, the guilt is merely displaced to another part of the mind, and eventually, this repressed matter must return. In the works of Dostoevsky, a character’s guilt often manifests itself in dreams by presenting the character’s purely devilish self or his worst fears. Not only does the character himself assume in dreams a totally fiendish nature, but the beings he encounters do also. Whether the devil appears literally, as in Ivan Karamazov’s case, or in the likeness of the character’s victim, as in the cases of Raskolnikov and Stavrogin, the mere fact of the devil’s emergence reveals that the character has failed to elude guilt, a human universal, despite what he thinks or says consciously. In that the character himself is responsible for his nightmare, in that he is incapable of escaping the guilt that plagues him, the character constitutes his own devil. Because he is human, he suffers guilt, and hence, cannot get away with his crime. He is not as good at being bad as he believes. What do these dreams mean, in light of the fact that they are the literary creations of an author? How does guilt effectively temper pride? We shall attempt to answer these questions in examining the crimes, the dreams, and the devils of Raskolnikov, Stavrogin, and Ivan Karamazov.

It is important when discussing a dream in a novel to distinguish between the literary and psychological implications of the dream. The dream is obviously the functional product of the author’s imagination, and hence, must serve a definite purpose in the work. If exami…

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…ious. Guilt is a universal throughout humankind, and merely completes the psychological equation originating with excessive pride: if one dares to assume that he can transcend his humanity and enter the divine sphere, and commits a crime accordingly, guilt, emerging unconsciously in dreams, will eventually remind him of his human roots.

Works Cited

Anderson, Roger B. Dostoevsky: Myths of Duality. Gainesvilled, University of Florida Press, 1986.

Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. Trans. Constance Garnett. Ed. Ralph E. Matlaw. New York: W.W. Norton

Isolation and Alienation of Troy in Wilson’s Fences

August Wilson’s Fences is a play about life, and an extended metaphor Wilson uses to show the disintegrating relationships between Troy and Cory and Troy and Rose. Troy Maxson represents the dreams of black America in a predominantly white world, a world where these dreams were not possible because of the racism and attitudes that prevailed. Troy Maxson is representative of many blacks and their “attitudes and behavior…within the social flux of the late fifties, in their individual and collective struggles to hew a niche for themselves in the rocky social terrain of postwar America” (Pereria, 37). Much of the tension in the play stems from Troy Maxson, and his inability to change, his, “refusal to accept the fact that social conditions are changing for the black man” (Pereria, 37). Troy’s wife, Rose, recognizes this early on, saying to him, “Times have changed from when you was young, Troy. People change. The world’s changing around you and you can’t even see it” (Wilson, 40).

This inability to change diversely affects Troy’s relationship with his second son, Cory, who is a promising athlete. Sports provide the arena for the continuing conflict and foreshadows the characteristic that will eventually lead to Troy’s downfall. There is a constant struggle between Troy and Cory because Troy will not allow his son to pursue his athletic dreams, telling him instead to keep his after-school job. This stems from Troy’s past, when he was a promising baseball player who was prevented from playing because he was black. Troy’s fears carry into the new generation when he prevents his son from pursuing a football scholarship because of his past, even though the world was changing at this time, and colored people were expanding into…

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…: 2000. Web. 24 June 2015.

Nadel, Alan. May All Your Fences Have Gates: Essays on the Drama of August Wilson. University of Iowa Press, U.S.:1994. Web. 22 June 2015.

Pereira, Kim. August Wilson and the African American Odyssey. University Of Illinois Press, Chicago:1995. Web. 27 June 2015.

Shannon, Sandra G. The Dramatic Vision of August Wilson. Howard University Press, Washington D.C.:1995. Web. 29 June 2015.

Wilson, August. Fences. Penguin Books U.S.A. Inc., New York:1986.

Wolfe, Peter. August Wilson: Twayne’s United States Authors Series. Ed. Frank Day. Twayne Publishers, New York, 1999.

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