Crime &Punishment “A case possessing, in the fullest sense of the word, the hall- mark of time, and circumstances

pointing to a person and a life of different surroundings.” This novel, Crime and Punishment, is a psychological case study of modern times where loneliness, poverty, broken dreams and social injustice lead humanity to anguish beyond limits. This novel takes the reader to explore the reasons behind individual and collective disintegration of a society. The writer has very tactfully explored the reasons behind the fall of a young philosopher. The novel is an outcry against the social hierarchy and how is it leading the humanity into the bottomless abyss. Rodion’s murder of that old usurer is not only a murder of a human being whom he considers a vermin but it’s an attempt to annihilate the upper class who is benefitting and exploiting the poor masses and leading them to insanity. Catherine Ivonova is incarnation of pitiable creature suffering at the hands of social injustice and broken dreams of past dignity. Although her majestic past is lost, still she keeps on hankering and living in that past. Cathrine Ivonova’s shrieks, her desperate attempt to attract attention of the higher authorities, her hoarse consumptive singing and dancing of poor half naked hungry kids is the heart rending mockingly symbolic of how poor people keep on their struggle in the society. All their efforts to put up with the struggle are like useless singing and dancing of the unlucky mother and her desperate kids. This scene was perhaps the most poignant scene of the whole novel where reader really feels his or heart coming out for humanity. This novel is not about the crime and it’s punishment in a prison cell but a punishment in the inner recesses of cruel mind. The cruel conscience keeps on pinching you at every moment. The criminal was penalized in the deep dark recesses of mind which tormented him through the castigation of wretched conscience and led the criminal to the verge of insanity. But at the same time it’s a crime done in the belief of doing something upright for humanity a revolution which can benefit the masses a Marxist revolution of the working class against the upper strata of society. It’s a crime done to achieve nobility. Rodion agin and again quotes Napoleon and compares his deed with the great revolutionary. Hero of the novel, Rodion, is portrayed as an arrogant who considers himself above others that’s why doesn’t mix up with the common people. His Half cooked philosophical theories are the reason of his fall where he believes that a human being above others can execute crimes to a certain extent. who believes that in order to evolve a new order we must break the existing order which will restore peace and bring change for good. “He is a theorist, a bookworm who has done a very bold thing to prove his theory he has done it as if someone hurls himself from the top of a mountain or church steeple.” What a fall!!! The very man who considers himself one of the greatest revolutionary and above other men ended up in a prison house, half dead with mental torment and spiritual anguish. Rodion Raskolnikoff’s dream during the period of his delirium sums up the modern times succinctly He sees that

and they fell upon one another in anger and killed. because each believed himself the sole possessor of truth.“The whole world was desolated by an unknown and terrible plague…All perished but except a few and those few were parasites of a new character. microscopical beings fixed their homes in the human body. the stricken were. beat his breast. what good. knew not what to consider evil. they formed great armies . They were incapable of understanding one another. once in motion. The parasites who were breathing creatures who have will and intellect… Persons effected became immediately mad… But strange to say. they tore each other to pieces”(epilogue) . They could not agree upon any point. but. at the same time imbued with a strong sense of their own good judgment. threw up his arms and wept. and looking upon his unenlightened neighbours. never did they believe themselves so strongly endowed with wisdom and intellectual vigour or scientific conclusions and moral conceptions so correct as now…The entire population became tainted and lost their reason.

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