Crime and Punishment

Discovery of Existentialism in Crime and Punishment

Discovery of Existentialism in Crime and Punishment

by, Anonymous

January 1, 1995

Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment can be read as an ideological novel because those typically represent the social, economic, and political concerns of a culture. Dostoyevsky gives an interesting twist to this genre by examining society through the eyes of a criminal and, instead of delving into the ways in which society and culture work, exploring the ways in which they fail. He also refutes many culturally dominant ideologies, including utilitarianism and nihilism, and by doing so, gives way to the emergence of a pre-existential novel, in which the anti-hero, Raskolnikov must suffer the consequences of his choice. Raskolnikov is an existential character, mostly because, in the chain of choices that composes his life, he faces only one major decision. Ultimately, the choice that he makes is erroneous despite the rationale behind it, and the stress and tension that ensue cause him to suffer greatly. In addition, in an attempt to satisfy his own worldly desires, he tries to follow the principles of utilitarianism and predetermination, struggling to use them as justifications for his actions and goes against his own existence by attempting to...

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