Crime and Punishment

Humankind’s Drive to Find Meaning: Dostoevsky, Camus, and Woody Allen 12th Grade

In absurdist fiction, authors and writers focus on characters who investigate the meaning of human existence in order to call into question existential notions. Some writers may utilize character’s confrontation with absurdism to either reject or honor existentialism, whereas others may use it to prove a sense of comfort or anxiety in the irrational nature of existence. In Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Stranger by Albert Camus, and Crimes and Misdemeanors by director Woody Allen, human behavior under absurd circumstances is highlighted. The characters of these prominent absurdist fictions struggle to find inherent meaning in human existence. Although the protagonists confront the absurdity of the world in similar ways, their individual battles with existentialism illuminate human’s utmost motivation to find meaning in existence.

In Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky uses Raskolnikov’s wavering qualities of good and evil and identification as the “ubermensch” to demonstrate his desire to find meaning for himself. In the beginning of the novel, Raskolnikov commits acts of kindness, however begins to question his actions. For instance, he leaves Marmeladov’s family money after seeing the misery contaminating their...

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