7. Language camp abroad: fun children’s recreation and training.
Raskolnikov’s theory and its downfall
Crime and Punishment # 151 is an ideological novel in which non-human theory encounters human feelings. Dostoevsky, a great expert on the psychology of people, a sensitive and attentive artist, tried to understand contemporary reality, to determine the extent to which popular at that time ideas of revolutionary reorganization of life and individualistic theories were influencing people. Entering into polemics with the democrats and socialists, the writer sought to show in his novel how the delusion of immature minds leads to murder, blood shedding, crippling and breaking young lives.
The main idea of the novel is revealed in the image of Rodion Raskolnikov, a poor student, an intelligent and gifted person who is unable to continue his education at the university, erecting a beggarly, unworthy of human existence. Drawing the pathetic and miserable world of the Petersburg slums, the writer, step by step, traces how the terrible theory originates in the hero’s mind, how it takes possession of all his thoughts, pushing him to kill.
So, Raskolnikov’s ideas are generated by abnormal, degrading living conditions. In addition, post-reform breaking destroyed the age-old foundations of society, depriving the human individuality of communication with the long-standing cultural traditions of society, historical memory. Thus, the personality of a person was freed from any moral principles and prohibitions, especially since Raskolnikov sees violation of universal moral standards at every step. It is impossible to feed the family with honest labor, so the minor official Marmeladov finally gets drunk, and his daughter Sonechka goes to the panel, because otherwise her family will die of starvation. If intolerable living conditions push a person to a violation of moral principles, then these principles are nonsense, that is, they can be ignored. Raskolnikov comes to this conclusion approximately, when a theory is born in his inflamed brain, according to which he divides all of humanity into two unequal parts. On the one hand, these are strong personalities, superhumans of the type of Mahomet and Napoleon, and on the other hand, # 151 is a gray, faceless and submissive crowd, which the hero rewards with the contemptuous name # 151, a quivering creature and an ant hill.
Possessing a sophisticated analytical mind and painful vanity. Raskolnikov quite naturally thinks about which half he belongs to. Of course, he wants to think that he is # 151 a strong personality who, according to his theory, has the moral right to commit a crime in order to fulfill a humane goal. What is this goal? The physical destruction of the exploiters, to which Rodion ranks the malicious old woman, the lender, profiting from human suffering. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with killing a useless old woman, taking advantage of her wealth to help poor people in need. These thoughts of Raskolnikov coincide with the ideas of revolutionary democracy popular in the 60s, but in the hero’s theory they are intricately intertwined with the philosophy of individualism, admitting blood by conscience, a violation of moral standards adopted by the majority of people. According to the hero, historical progress is impossible without sacrifices, suffering, blood, and is carried out by the powerful, great historical figures. So, Raskolnikov dreams of both the role of the sovereign and the mission of the savior. But Christian, selfless love for people is incompatible with violence and contempt for them.
The correctness of any theory must be confirmed by practice. And Rodion Raskolnikov conceives and carries out the murder, removing the moral prohibition. What does the check show? What conclusions does it lead a hero and a reader to? Already at the time of the murder, the verified plan is significantly violated with mathematical precision. Raskolnikov kills not only the lender Alain Ivanovna, as was intended, but also her sister Lizaveta. Why? After all, the old woman’s sister was a meek, harmless woman, a downtrodden and humiliated creature who herself needed help and protection. The answer is simple: Rodion kills Lizaveta no longer for ideological reasons, but as an undesired witness to his crime. In addition, there is a very important detail in the description of this episode: when Alena Ivanovna’s visitors, who suspect something was wrong, try to open the locked door. Raskolnikov stands with a raised ax, obviously, in order to destroy all those who break into the room. In general, after his crime, Raskolnikov begins to see the only way to fight or defend himself in murder. His life after the murder turns into a real hell.
Dostoevsky explores in detail the thoughts, feelings, experiences of the hero. Raskolnikov gripped by a sense of fear, the danger of exposure. He loses control of himself, swooning at a police station, feeling nervous with fever. In Rodion, painful suspicion develops, which gradually turns into a feeling of loneliness, alienation from all. The writer finds a surprisingly accurate expression characterizing Raskolnikov’s internal state: as if he cut himself off from everyone and everything with scissors. It would seem that there is no evidence against him, the criminal appeared. You can use the money stolen from the old woman to help people. But they remain in a secluded place. Something prevents Raskolnikov to use them, to live peacefully on. This is certainly not repentance of the deed, not pity for Lizaveta killed by him. Not. He tried to step over his nature, but could not, because bloodshed and murder are alien to a normal person. The crime separated him from people, and a person, even such secretive and proud as Raskolnikov, cannot live without communication. But, despite the suffering and torment, he is not disappointed in his cruel, inhuman theory. On the contrary, she continues to rule over his mind. He is disappointed only in himself, believing that he has not stood the test for the role of the sovereign, which means, alas, refers to the quivering creature.
When Raskolnikov’s torments reach a high point, he opens up to Sonya Marmeladova, confessing her crime. Why is she, an unfamiliar, homely, not bright-witted girl, who also belongs to the most pathetic and despised category of people? Probably because Rodion saw her as an ally in crime. After all, she also kills herself as a person, but she does it for the sake of her unhappy, starving family, denying herself even suicide. So, Sonya is stronger than Raskolnikov, stronger than her Christian love for people, readiness for self-sacrifice. In addition, she manages her life, not a stranger. It is Sonya who finally refutes Raskolnikov’s theorized view of the world around him. After all, Sonechka is by no means a humble victim of circumstances and not a trembling creature. In terrible, seemingly hopeless circumstances, she managed to remain a pure and moral person, striving to do good to people. Thus, according to Dostoevsky, only Christian love and self-sacrifice are the only way to transform society.