Crime and Punishment

Whereas One Succeeds...

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment lets the reader into the mind of a murderer as he commits his crime and copes with the consequences. The novel grapples with many philosophical questions and challenges accepted ideas of right versus wrong. Many scholars agree that Dostoevsky incorporated the personalities of the people in his life into his characters, and that he had those characters deal with the issues he faced, such as the existence of God. “Champion after champion [Dostoevsky] sent forth on to the bloody field, to contend with life, as he himself contended, even until death” (Murry 4). These “champions” that he sent to “contend” with his philosophical questions include Raskolnikov, a murderer, and the seemingly unlikable Svidrigaylov. Svidrigaylov seems so unlikable because of the stories of his past that precede his appearance. Svidrigaylov’s character illustrates two concepts: what Raskolnikov would have been like if his superman theory had worked for him, and that a person who does not care about good and evil can do both extraordinary good and extraordinary evil.

Raskolnikov is a handsome ex-scholar aspiring to power. When we first meet him, he is obsessing over some task that he is considering: “he even knew how...

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