Raskolnikov Character Analysis

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In the words of Lord David Cecil, a well-known British historian and academic, “All extremes are error. The reverse of error is not truth, but still error. Truth lies between these extremes.” As Lord David Cecil’s words themselves suggest, nothing in society is quite one or the other; rather, most often, things tend to be intermediate between these two extremes. A strikingly similar situation is prevalent in the novel Crime and Punishment, where the author Fyodor Dostoevsky emphasizes on the dual-personalities that the protagonist, Raskolnikov, embodies. Raskolnikov, the main character, is a conflicted individual who struggles to make rational choices at times, whereas makes unexpectedly generous choices on other occasions.
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To start off, Raskolnikov, who had brutally murdered the two women, feels troubled by his actions as seeds of doubt begin to enter his mind, He begins to rationalize his murder by saying, “The old woman was only an illness…. I was in a hurry to overstep…. I didn’t kill a human being, but a principle! I killed the principle, but I didn’t overstep...And what shows that I am utterly a louse,’ he added, grinding his teeth, ‘is that I am perhaps viler and more loathsome than the louse I killed.” Here, Dostoevsky portrays Raskolnikov yet again in two lights. The evil within Raskolnikov is evident when Raskolnikov devalues human worth and refers to the old pawnbroker as a “principle” rather than a “human being.” This lack of respect for a human life suggests that Raskolnikov perhaps is not capable of showing remorse or regret after all. However, all of a sudden, he refers to himself as “viler and more loathsome than the louse I had just killed.” By ridiculing himself and referring to him as “more loathsome”, Dostoevsky utilizes the characterization of a self-contradicting Raskolnikov to confirm that a shift in Raskolnikov’s state of mind is set to happen as he starts to come to the self-realization that he had wrongly murdered. While Raskolnikov had imagined that he would be adorned for ridding society of a “louse”, he now considers himself a “louse”, and thus, this blend of good and evil that he embodies reflects that the validity of a black and white world remains clear at this point. Moving on, this self-realization is confirmed when a troubled Raskolnikov drifts to sleep yet again. As he dreams and relives the entire murder again, there seems to be a different ending this time as “He bent right
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