Crime and Punishment

Rodion Raskolnikov, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love God

Written in a time of emerging new philosophies and ideals, Dostoyevsky's novel Crime and Punishment exemplifies the author's strongly held viewpoints on religion, morality, society, and philosophy, while offering insight into the innermost workings of the criminal mind. Told almost entirely through the eyes of the main character, Rodion Raskolnikov, the novel examines the miserable young man's downfall from his own egotistical ideals, and traces the way through the protagonist's resulting psychological hell. In essence, Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment moralizes about the forces of good and evil vying for supremacy over the human soul, and warns of the degradation of morals in favor of "rational" thinking.

The rejection of the philosophies of existentialism and nihilism, and the support of organized religion, is one of the foremost themes in the novel. Dostoyevsky vehemently abdicates the new philosophies, which stress the material world, the absence of any Supreme Being or moral code, and the individual, total freedom of choice. The author conveys his beliefs in universal and inalienable morals throughout the novel, describing the internal torment an elitist would go through if he dared to...

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