Raskolnikov's Dual Character

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For most people, when reading a book that has to do with someone murdering two old women in cold blood, the thought of that character being the protagonist is certainly not what comes to mind. However, that is not the case when Rodion Raskolnikov is the subject of discussion. That may have to do with the complexity and split of character of Raskolnikov; for even his name “Raskol” is translated into “schism”. Fyodor Dostoyevsky explores his main character’s dual personality in several ways throughout the novel, making it an integral part, emphasizing on how Dostoyevsky managed to create a protagonist in which most readers sympathize with, whereas in almost all other novels, that particular character would be considered an antagonist, and…show more content…
Well, he is not by nature a bloodthirsty murderer; he actually has a soft heart and is tormented by the sight of human suffering, which he is unable and unwilling to get used to. "Man grows used to everything, the scoundrel!" he mutters, but then directly embraces the opposing position: "And what if I 'm wrong … what if man is not really a scoundrel … then all the rest is prejudice, simply artificial terrors and there are no barriers and it 's all as it should be." Stating that man cannot be a "scoundrel" because that is a moral category, and morality is simply "artificial terrors" imposed by religion and sheer "prejudice." There is only nature, and nature has causes, not moral purposes. It follows that all is as it should be because if moral concepts are illusions then things just are what they…show more content…
… One death and a thousand lives in exchange--it 's simple arithmetic!" You can 't argue with arithmetic. For that matter, since the pawnbroker 's life is not just valueless but of negative value--she does positive harm--it would be moral to kill her even without using the money for a good purpose. Indeed, it is immoral not to kill her, since her death would increase society 's total utility. He convinced himself that his crime is not really a crime, but it is a duty to society and the greater good, so he will not feel guilt. However, after the murder, Raskolnikov endures horrific pangs of conscience and an almost overwhelming desire to confess. Above all, he suffers from nightmares. In one, Raskolnikov finds himself drawn to the pawnbroker 's flat, sees her seated with her back to him, and swings his axe onto her head to kill her again. But she doesn 't the. He swings again and again, and at last peers down into her face and discovers her suppressing her laughter. Evidently she has lured him to the crime in order to ruin him! He turns around only to find people pointing and laughing at him. Overcome with shame as well as guilt, he awakes in a
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