Crime and Punishment:
The PDF version of Crime and Punishment is available online. Here we will review about the Psychological book and you will also able to download it. First published in the year 1866 in series by The Russian Messenger. It includes 12 parts. Later on, this series was presented as the book.
Original Title: Преступление и наказание
Crime & Punishment that title sounds pretty self-explanatory, doesn’t it? This title makes sense because this book is about a horrendous crime in the punishment that results. But story of the book is not as simple as it sounds.
Crime & Punishment written by famous Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky. He has its own powerful messages drawn from his life experiences and conflicted Russia that goes beyond the actions & the events in this story.
Dostoevsky skillfully exposes issues in Russian society through Crime and Punishment. By emphasizing some negative impacts of poverty on the nation. In the conflict among Slavic and Western worldview beliefs. Through central focus on main character Raskolnikov’s life. Raskolnikov’s experiments in living symbolism and characters and character foils.
Life of Author:
Now usually the life experiences of the writer impact themes in his work. So, to start let’s look at author’s life, Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky. He lived from 1821 to 1891 in country of Russia. And in his life-time Russia was dealing with a lot of inner turmoil. For Russians lived in filth and destitution because they couldn’t escape their financial burdens. There also was a worldview conflict in Russia that had the Russian intellectual circles in turmoil.
To belief systems were competing with each other,
- First, the new Western Philosophies introduced by Europeans
- Second, the Traditional Russian Orthodox Beliefs
Western Philosophies introduced worldviews like Naturalism, Nihilism, Utilitarianism and Atheistic existentialism to Russian people
Westernizers were people who thought that Western principles could solve the problems that Russia was facing.
According to these beliefs, subjective reality, and morality ruled people’s decisions. Furthermore, the traditional Russian worldviews sought out the answer to social problems and traditional Christian practices the values of the Russians. Those who followed their cultural roots were called “Slavophiles” and they depend on their morals and faith to search for the solution to Russia’s turmoil.
Dostoevsky sympathized with tradition and sided with the “Slavophiles” outlook. Dostoevsky survived in a troubled social environment that was upset by poverty in a worldview conflict. Like many authors, he used these issues of his day to create themes in his story. These two themes in the Crime & Punishment are poverty’s negative impact on society and showing that Christian beliefs were better than the flawed Western beliefs. Dostoevsky uses his story to prove these assertions about the topics of poverty and worldview belief.
The Storyline of Crime and Punishment:
The story of the Crime & Punishment follows a young impoverished student named Rodion Ramanovich Raskolnikov. He is struggling with debt and like Dostoevsky, he is dealing with two conflicting worldview beliefs. Raskolnikov decides to turn from his Christian roots to follow European philosophies because he chooses to follow Western beliefs. He uses their subjective morality to justify brutally murdering his landlady so, he won’t have to pay his obligation to her.
For the rest of the story, he is able to literally gets away with the murder by avoiding arrest, evading the police during questioning and even outright lying. Soon, however, Paranoia sets in creeping into every corner of his mind and his guilt just grows. He gets afraid that people will determine what he did and that he will be sent to the prison.
Eventually, he tells his Christian friend Sonya what he did and she persuades him to reveal the truth. Raskolnikov admits that he murdered his landlady and he accepts his punishment in the end. But now he has the hope of the new future after he serves time in prison.
Through Crime & Punishment, Dostoevsky highlights his two themes. Poverty’s negative impact on society and the thought with Western worldview. But how does he show these themes? Well, he uses the literary devices to highlight them in an artistic way. Dostoevsky used many literary tools but some more prominent ones are Central Focus Experiment in the Living Symbolic Characters and Character Foils.
let’s start with central focus as defined by Somerville’s Poetics, Central Focus is the center of a whole arrangement.
What is “Central Focus” of this Story?
The main character is Raskolnikov, he is poor and his surroundings are destitute. He’s in debt hardly able to clothe himself or feed himself. By concentrating on main character, Dostoevsky is able to show us the unfortunate life Russians had to lead. And Raskolnikov’s economic struggles emphasize how awful it is to have to live this way.
In addition, by focusing on Raskolnikov, Dostoevsky reveals that his character believes in Western philosophy. Raskolnikov has faith in that all people are divided into ordinary & extraordinary groups. The ordinary people live their lives of strict or stringent obedience to the law & extraordinary people can forge new paths to obtain goals even to the point of breaking the law.
He says Quote
“The ‘Extraordinary’ man has a right… to permit his conscience to step over certain obstacles… if it is absolutely necessary for the fulfillment of his idea on which quite possibly welfare of all the mankind may depend.”
This follows the atheistic belief that humans can form their destiny by shaping the world to their personal beliefs. Or in the other words, live by your own morality.
Dostoevsky obviously wanted us to see this view as an incorrect way of living because Raskolnikov steps over his obstacles by murdering his landlady.
Incidentally, the central focus on Raskolnikov exposes all his experiments in living. An experiment of character in living is the choice a character makes to live & act according to some particular beliefs. Obviously, Raskolnikov choice is to murder his landlady. According to him, his landlady Alyona Ivanovna was a stupid, senseless, worthless, and decrepit old hag who is of no use to anybody and who actually does harm to everybody. Because Raskolnikov believes in Western philosophy. He feels that it is best to act in accordance with the dictates of one’s own conscience.
Since she is doing more damage than a good in society. Raskolnikov feels justified to murder her. According to his belief that it is best to act with welfare of all mankind. So, according to his beliefs, his murder is justified by his beliefs and acting for all mankind in his personal morality.
However, the experiment in living does not turn out well for Raskolnikov. He suffers anxiety, illness, and a conflict of conscience because of what he did. This experiment was based in Western values and by having Raskolnikov’s experiment and in suffering, the author makes his opinion on Western beliefs clear. They are flawed and wrong.
Another device employed by Dostoevsky is Symbolism. He specifically uses characters to symbolically represent different themes.
- Firstly, Raskolnikov symbolizes the schism between various ideas that divided Russian thinkers & writers in Dostoyevsky’s day. These ideas being the Slavic beliefs and the Western beliefs. His experiments in the living demonstrate that Western worldviews are indeed flawed and thus he’s a symbol of these flaws that Dostoevsky wanted to point out.
- Secondly, Dostoevsky uses friends of Raskolnikov, the Marmeladov Family as symbols of poverty filled lives. The father of this family is too much poor and he whelms his sorrows and excessive alcoholic drink. His family struggles so badly financially that his oldest daughter Sonya was enforced to register herself as a prostitute to bring funds in for the family to live on. The family is the definition of destitute and Dostoevsky uses them to symbolize the poor state of the lower-class in Russia during his lifetime. T
- The final device that Dostoevsky uses is character foil, a character foil and literature is simply a contrast between characters that show the differences between them.
In Crime & Punishment, Dostoevsky used Raskolnikov in his friend Sonya as foils. Raskolnikov as aforementioned is a symbol of Western Philosophy. He believes strongly in these worldviews and they govern his actions which are clearly negative.
Furthermore, Sonya is a poor girl from a destitute family who earns a living as a prostitute but she’s still a Christian of strong faith in spite of her unfortunate situation. Her belief in God shows that she lives a life of Slavic Christian and she ultimately leads Raskolnikov to tell a truth about his murderous actions.
Dostoevsky uses her as a contrast to Raskolnikov to show the good of Slavic beliefs in the error of Western philosophy.
The author is bringing forward two themes through all of these devices.
- The Negative Effect of Poverty
- Worldview Conflict
He highlights the horrible impact poverty has on society and he shows that Western atheistic values are flawed compared to the perfection of Christianity.
Crime & Punishment is a painfully realistic story that shows the darkest elements of the human nature and gives us too much sad and unfortunate realities. Nevertheless, the literary tools of central focus experiments in living symbolism and foils empower Dostoevsky theme of poverty and worldview conflict. Creating an extraordinarily striking story that is just as unforgettable as an epic fairy tale.
Download links to “Crime and Punishment PDF”
Crime and Punishment is the masterpiece of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, It is a Crime and Fiction Novel that is available free to download. Links are given below. You can choose according to your need and choice.