Fyodor Dostoyevsky Character Analysis

893 Words4 Pages
Entering the world of literature during the 19th century, Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground grants the world a realist piece of writing that opens the minds of its readers even to this day. Setting itself up as a diary for a bitter and isolated man, who remains unidentified, this novella translates to depict the true essence of the “superfluous man.” This concept, highly regarded at the time in Russia, makes its way into the story and Dostoyevsky does an exemplary job incorporating it. Furthermore, he manipulates the concept to his advantage and to express his disagreement with the movement to Westernize Russia. This piece of literature begins with the narrator, dubbed the Underground man, describing himself and his life. The…show more content…
The Underground Man is such a character because he is plagued by his superior “intelligence”. This also brings up the concept of how the Underground Man is a “Russian intelligentsia [and] is a misfit, is morally ill, [and] does not fit in to the real authentic Russia of the simple people” (Cornwell 118). This character trait of being an intelligentsia, which is supported by his supposed superior intelligence, makes the Underground Man an outsider. As an outsider, the Underground Man must face the fact that he can never be part of normal society. However, it must be noted that the intelligence that the Underground Man possesses is not what fits the definition of intelligence. Instead, Dostoyevsky wanted his audience to know that his intelligence comes from his Western beliefs and for them to realize that the narrator is, in reality, ignorant. This form of irony exposes the author’s dislike for the movement to Westernize…show more content…
Cornwell’s analysis on Dostoyevsky’s portrayal of the Underground man as a “superfluous man”, perfectly exemplifies how the author uses the character to express his beliefs and stance on the turmoil in Russia at the time this was written. As a “superfluous man”, the Underground Man seems to be alone and isolated because of his intelligence. Dostoyevsky, used the Underground Man’s isolation as an example of how Westernizers should be in society as they are not part of the people. The story almost serves as a warning to its readers against being a Westernizer. Surely, nobody wants to live alone and desperate for companionship and Dostoyevsky uses that to his advantage. Furthermore, defining the Underground Man’s intelligence as his Western beliefs which then lead him to isolation shows just how much the author despises the movement. By using the character’s traits against himself, Dostoyevsky perfectly exploits the narrator to his advantage and pushes the audience in his
Open Document