The Hidden Thoughts In Dostoevsky's Crime And Puni

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The Hidden Thoughts: Dreams in Dostoevsky 's Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment, set in the 1860s St. Petersburg, follows the experiences of young Rodion Raskolnikov’s mental dilemma of murdering an old woman. Throughout the novel Raskolnikov’s mind is full of thoughts that cannot be spoken out loud. Raskolnikov quietly lets the thoughts of guilt consume his mind, but he cannot afford to tell anyone in fear of being turned into the police. This struggle with self is not simply on a self-conscious level, but also on a deeper, subconscious state. Raskolnikov’s subconscious emotions is as telling as his conscious reflection. As Raskolnikov dreams in several instances throughout the novel, the reader is exposed
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Raskolnikov dreams of a plague: a world of nihilists and the faithless. A virus spreads through the world, and it causes its victims to suffer a symptom that makes each person to think he knows the ultimate truth. “Each though the truth was contained in himself alone, and suffered looking at others…They did not know whom or how to judge, could not agree on what to regard as evil, what as good... People killed each other in some sort of meaningless spite” (547). As a result, it’s a world of every man for himself, and the world is overtaken by distrust. Ironically enough, the dream goes against Raskolnikov’s initial belief that superior and extraordinary men don’t need order or law. A world full of these men results in total anarchy. Raskolnikov, through this dream which points out the flaw of his belief, realizes that he is not a nihilist. He steps out of his blind belief that left him with more harm than good. Character development in Crime and Punishment is essential to follow Raskolnikov’s progression of ideas and conflict regarding the murder he committed. Through three different dreams, Dostoevsky presents the undisplayed emotions of guilt, hatred, and reflection. The dreams then clearly juxtapose with Raskolnikov’s behavior and actions towards others, further developing a layer of complexity in both the character and the unraveling of the
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