Crime And Punishment Themes

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Fyodor Dostoevsky’s literary classic, Crime and Punishment, displays through the use of the central protagonist, Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, many essential themes for the development of the story, and at the same time, lessons for the reader. During Raskolnikov’s conflicts, external and internal, we see him progress and contemplate the ramifications, positive and negative, of each action he has either taken, or desires to take. Dostoevsky uses Raskolnikov’s thoughts and actions as a vehicle to advance the three key ideas of indecisiveness, superiority, and redemption. These themes are not only what Dostoevsky uses to generate the mood and plot of, but also to leave a lasting impact on the reader. Dostoevsky delivers to the reader two …show more content…

Raskolnikov’s thoughts and actions reek of arrogance and a perception of supremacy. For example, when gifted with the possibility of a job on behalf of his sister’s fiance, Raskolnikov scoffs at the mere notion that he would be one to benefit from an almost sympathetic handout. Normally one in his dire economic circumstance would not hesitate at the opportunity to cement a sounder financial grounding, but Raskolnikov fails to even provide a mere spec of graciousness and quickly brushes aside this opportunity. Through this event we are introduced to Raskolnikov’s potential for a lack of courtesy and empathy towards others, with this lack of empathy playing a pivotal role in the story as a whole. A second instance where we are shown Raskolnikov’s pompous self perception is through a crucial moment in the story, the discovery of a published scholarly article written by Raskolnikov. The main takeaway of this article is that in the mind of Raskolnikov there are a select few in the world who have the ability to commit otherwise despicable deeds, in order for a utilitarian good. This thesis presents a rationalization to Raskolnikov for his murder, and also unfortunately contributes to the detective’s belief that he is the one who committed the murder. This incident is critical because it demonstrates that Raskolnikov is so conceited that not even an act as grotesque as murder is above his believed societal significance. With these two events Dostoevsky illustrates how Raskolnikov’s trait of superiority contributed directly to the development and expansion of the plot, revealing to the reader that a heightened sense of self worth can have dire

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