Nihilism In Crime And Punishment, By Fyodor Dostoevsky

1178 Words5 Pages
Fyodor Dostoevsky brings forth an interesting idea of exploring philosophy when he writes, “People with new ideas, people with the faintest capacity for saying something new, are extremely few, extraordinarily so, in fact.” In Dostoevsky’s novel, Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov, an impoverished university drop out, commits a murder to test his original theory that there are extraordinary men who can transgress the rules of society. Through his journey of avoiding punishment and transition into guilt, he struggles and explores aspects of several philosophies. Crime and Punishment best qualifies as a psychological study for the novel’s condemnation of nihilism, criticism of utilitarianism, and reproach of monomania. Throughout the novel, Dostoevsky uses Raskolnikov along with other characters to explore popular emerging psychology in Russia in the 19th century.
Russian culture in the 19th century teemed with anguish and poverty. As result of the abundant unhappiness and disagreement with the tsarist government at the time, Russians adopted a philosophy called nihilism. Simply, nihilism is the belief that all religious and moral values and life have no meaning. The aspects in philosophy of nihilism clearly impacted Dostoevsky and his writing. Throughout Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov, Luzhin, and Svidrigailov overtly display nihilistic thinking. When Raskolnikov murders the pawnbroker, he negates that his action stands immorally to justify his own wishes to live
Open Document