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1 AP English – 6th Period 1 Oct 2007 Life Versus Logic One of the most written about and most

controversial topics in literature is life. Authors try to convey different meanings of life and morality, arguing what is right versus what is wrong. One such novel that expresses diverse and conflicting points of view of life is Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. In the novel, Dostoevsky uses his characters to examine and show the differences in how humans react to different conflicts and trials in their lives. The portrayal of the different aspects of life, riddled with invoking questioning and stern criticism of morality, is essential and the most important part of Dostoevsky’s parable, varying from taking one— Raskolnikov and the murders—trying to save one—Raskolnikov helping Marmeladov after he’s ran-over by the cart——and resurrecting one—Sonia trying to spiritually revive Raskolnikov. Raskolnikov’s heartless crimes show that the most horrendous deeds can be “justified” with reason and that this conflicts with the general benevolence of the human conscience. From the beginning, Raskolnikov argues that he “couldn’t stand [killing the pawnbroker]…granted that there is no flaw in all that reasoning” (60). Through the plotting of the murder and the flashback to the beaten horse, Dostoevsky details the complexity of the human mind and argues how even the most thorough reasoning cannot match the power of morality. Through Raskolnikov, Dostoevsky asks whether “one tiny crime be wiped out by a thousand good deeds” and whether it’s “against duty and conscience” even though some spiteful individuals, such as the pawnbroker, “[do not] deserve to live” (66). Such acts of “heroism” and “saving” others are the basis of Napoleonic goals which are ridiculous, for all attempts usually backfire, wrecking morality and producing deadly amounts of guilt. Raskolnikov’s paranoia is essentially brought on by the overwhelming guilt from the murders,

stating he wanted “to repay [his] debt to [his] friend” (179). Raskolnikov always had a soft spot in his heart when it came to helping and saving others.2 which immediately starts to cripple him physically and mentally. This is just a mere band-aid on the problem and—to his surprise—his guilt and insanity intensifies. the glimmer of kindness that shined occasionally—such as helping the dying Marmeladov—is Dostoevsky’s tool of showing that human compassion prevails even in the darkest plights of society and the mind. The role of Sonia and her resurrection of Raskolnikov is pivotal as it allows Dostoevsky to emphasize his religious point that suffering is the only suitable way to redeem one’s self of such a horrible sin. Such is the case when he helps Katerina Marmeladov after her husband’s death. which makes him suffer tremendously and tortures Raskolnikov to find some sort of escape. He claims through his goodness he is “done with imaginary terrors and phantoms” and that his “life has not yet died with that old woman” (182). As murderous and spiteful as Raskolnikov was. This seemingly random act of kindness is Raskolnikov’s way of trying to redeem himself and ward away the guilt of the crimes. Dostoevsky argues what is more relieving—suicide—versus what is morally the right path—redemption. The characters around Raskolnikov acted like trials and temptations for him. Despite his schemes. While Raskolnikov may be raising his self-esteem. even his memory and his most basic powers of reflection” which frightens Raskolnikov into thinking that “[his] punishment” is “coming upon [him]” (90). making him one of the most evil characters in the novel. Through this incredible suffering. Raskolnikov thus turns into a greater monster than the one he had killed with his violent life and disregard of morality. these acts have little to no effect on the guilt he faces and by no means act as justification for his crimes. with “all his faculties…failing him. showing the easy ways to deal with problems instead of the right way to deal with them. Svidrigailov is an .

Dostoevsky concludes his parable that compassion and morality will always triumph supposed logic and irrational reasoning. Dostoevsky claims that the greatest glory is not the eventual goal but the path that leads to a satisfying. taking.3 important example of this by “going to America” (485)—a euphemism for suicide—which Dostoevsky. Besides saving. Dostoevsky argues that the majority of society will always hold morality and conscience higher than goals for personal glory which most of the time destroys lives. views as an immoral way of handling conflict in life. righteous life. stating that that “a peasant would run away” (438) and common people would turn to suicide. While Raskolnikov is reluctant to turn to Christianity for a savior due to his nihilist beliefs of glory through bloodshed. thus they both bear crosses as symbols of suffering. and resurrecting life. New York: Barnes and Nobles. Throughout the novel. Both of them are searching for some sort of messiah to raise them from their tombs. With Raskolnikov’s exile and his eventual redemption. Through compassion towards others and suffering for sins. This is where Sonia. Raskolnikov is dead because with the murder of the two women. . claiming that ill-advised logic and reasoning can lead to the death of morals and beliefs. as well as the story of Lazarus come into play. he has completely killed off his connections to society and wallows in ever-building guilt and insanity. Works Cited Dostoevsky. Sonia is dead because she is consumed in poverty and selling herself as a prostitute. 2007. Dostoevsky tries to defend morality. being religious. the religious prostitute. Fyodor. he ultimately decides to “take [his] suffering” like a man. Yet while some individuals such as Raskolnikov with his Napoleonic ideals and his general disregard for morals. Crime and Punishment. Dostoevsky states that morality is the biggest aspect of life and also the most vulnerable. Sonia and Raskolnikov’s fates are intertwined as they are both dead Lazaruses each in their own way.

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