Crime and Punishment

Parallels and Contrasts between Raskolnikov and Svidrigailov College

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment explores the philosophies of nihilism and rationalism common in Russia during the period and their subsequent consequences through its characters. Dostoevsky presents Arkady Svidrigailov as a foil character to the protagonist Rodion Raskolnikov as they exhibit parallels and also key differences. Raskolnikov as the primary protagonist is presented as a poor former student with a nihilistic view of society which prompts him to commit double murders for utilitarian ends. He murders the dishonest pawnbroker Alyona and consequently her half-sister Lizaveta without penitence as he justifies his deeds through the ubermensch or extraordinary man theory. However, despite his indifferent and antisocial traits, he possesses moral senses and compassion that prompts constant moral dilemma and lurid guilt. At last, he renounces his theory and confesses, facing the consequences of his crimes as per societal laws henceforth his salvation and mental rebirth. On the other hand, Svidrigailov is presented as a murderous and depraved character whose perpetual pursuit is the protagonist sister Dounia. He exhibits no remorse for his depraved deeds as he accepts his wicked nature. After Dounia rejects him,...

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