Fyodor Dostoevsky Research Paper

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Angela Brookins Mrs. Cook English 7-8 23 October 2015 “Dostoevsky: The Religious Existentialist” Born in Moscow, Russia on November 11, 1821, Fyodor Dostoevsky, the second of seven children, was born into a Russian Orthodox lower-middle class family. His mother was generous and kind, while his father was an austere, strict man who became cruel when his expectations weren’t met. His father, Mikhail Dostoevsky, worked as a doctor at the Mariinsky Hospital in Moscow, while conducting a private practice. His father’s controlling nature forced Dostoevsky to pursue a career as a military engineer. At the age of sixteen, Fyodor Dostoevsky began “his early education” at the “Nikolayev Military Engineering Institute in St. Petersburg.” Growing uninterested …show more content…

Upon being released, Dostoevsky used the notes and letters to begin composing literary pieces pertaining to Russian Orthodox philosophy. During his imprisonment in Siberia, he began reading in the New Testament, which restored his belief in Russian Orthodoxy: as a devout Russian Orthodox, he faithfully vowed to side with Christ over the truth. Religious teachings from the New Testament became the framework of his philosophy and morality. He accentuated the significance of God’s presence in an individual’s life, while using nihilistic characters to emphasize his morality. He regarded God as the central being that the individual’s existence revolves around. Dostoevsky believed it was “emotionally impossible to accept a world that had no relation to God” (Townsend). God is the key to morality: without the presence of God, one would not be able to live “the way of true human life” (Leithart). Man cannot gain a sense of morality without knowing “his place in the Universe”. However, man’s place in the world is predetermined with respect to that of God (“Dostoevsky the Thinker”). Dostoevsky believed God’s commands were the guidelines of how to live a “true human life” (Leithart). Those who did not adhere to the authority of God led a senseless life because they had no purpose in life. A trend that common with the presence of atheist characters is the act of suicide. However suicide did not exempt the atheist from drawing …show more content…

In his most prevalent works, “Notes from the Underground”, The Brothers Karamazov, and Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky integrates the topics of free-will, suffering, and the questioning of morality. In Dostoevsky’s essay, “Notes from the Underground”, an anonymous character, identified as the Underground Man, lives in a society where philosophers are trying to define the characteristics of man to create a utopian society that caters to his advantage. The Underground Man diverges from the opinions of philosophers believing man should have the freedom to choose his own freedoms. However, the Underground Man is constantly overthinking everything he does not act on anything, because he is uncertain of the consequences: his desire for the option of free-will counteracts how his understanding of his own self-awareness. The Underground Man cannot even comprehend the meaning of his own existence, in fact, concludes he is nothing. Despite the Underground Man’s existential crisis, Dostoevsky depicts nihilistic behavior by projecting the protagonist’s thoughts on having control over himself outside of a superior authority. Although it deviates from Dostoevsky’s Russian Orthodox philosophy and morality, it provides insight to the individual becoming a free agent through will ("Notes from the Underground: Book

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