Crime and Punishment
The Morality of Murder: Dostoyevsky's Complication of "the Trolley Problem"
When is one morally sanctioned to take another's life? In Fyodor Dostoyevsky's highly acclaimed philosophical detective story, Crime and Punishment, the author casts light on several important existential and metaphysical quandaries that are universally applicable to understanding the human condition. The story centers on the tale of "our hero" Raskolnikov's premeditated murder of the old "louse," Alyona, a self-serving, morally reprehensible pawnbroker. Additionally, it describes the "other" murder, of Alyona's largely ignored (but philosophically crucial) pitiful, vulnerable, and victimized half-sister, Lizaveta, in the novel's opening section, as well as Raskolnikov's subsequent (largely internally driven) "Punishment." Dostoyevsky sets up several dichotomies between philosophical binary extremes, a number of which Raskolikov attempts to reconcile in the remaining five sections of the novel and its epilogue. These polarized philosophical issues include the relationship between the secular (nihilistic) and the religious (faithful), free will and determinism, anarchy and the law, and utilitarianism and social ethics, among others. While Raskolnikov--whose name, in...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 823 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6119 literature essays, 1718 sample college application essays, 245 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in