Comparing Dostoevsky's Crime And Punishment

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Subjectivism and Salvation

Due to the insurmountable nature of God’s law, governments should adhere to and enforce the morality of their subjects in order to save them from its consequences. Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment clearly demonstrates the detrimental results of an individual, Raskolnikov, taking morality into his own hands. His sense of morality was largely defined by the consequences of his actions, for which destruction and evil ensued. This idea of morality is flawed due to the source being defined by the self, and hence the objective purpose that God has set for each individual is ignored. This leads to the consequential punishment of human beings, determined by God, that takes place physically and spiritually. The government …show more content…

He argued that the first precept of this natural law was that “…good is to be done and pursued, and evil is to be avoided… [and] there is in man an inclination to good, according to the nature of his reason, which nature is proper to him”. Additionally, he stated that “...the natural law can be blotted out from the human heart, either by evil persuasions, just as in speculative matters errors occur in respect of necessary conclusions; or by vicious customs and corrupt habits”. C.S. Lewis’ concurs with this idea of reason and heart through his illustration in The Abolition of Man: “The head rules the belly through the chest”. In this illustration, each of the anatomical features represents aspects of the nature of man. The head is the reasoning factor, the belly is the animalistic desires or instincts, and the chest (or heart) is the passion. Relating this to Aquinas, corrupt ideas can infest the head, which hinders the reasoning of the individual, and thus results in acts of evil. Raskolnikov hardly gave in to any guttural desires, and his mind pieced together half-ideologies to create his own perverted ideals. This makes him an overwhelmingly appropriate case study of how an individual’s deviation from God’s moral law results in chaos and …show more content…

C.S. Lewis wrote in his paper, The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment that modern punishment has moved away from giving criminals what they deserve, and rather it is used as a deterrent against certain acts or a cure for a disease. The remedial view of punishment interprets crime as a disease and that the criminal must be detained until they are cured. This is a problem, as a government could ordain that certain ideologies are a pathological deformity or disability and ‘rightfully’ detain those who carry it. The deterrent view of punishment is instituted to cause terror. This is a problem, as an innocent man could be treated as guilty and have the same result, given that the mass believe that he is guilty. Although, this act could only be seen as wicked if people take on the idea that punishment is deserved. It is better to “…be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we ‘ought to have known better’ [because it] is to be treated as a human person made in God’s image”. Did Raskolnikov receive the punishment he deserved? The nature of his sentencing was more in line with the remedial punishment as it was ruled that “…the crime could only have been committed through temporary mental derangement… This fell in with the most recent fashionable theory of temporary insanity, so often applied in our days in

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