Crime and Punishment


In real life humans are multidimensional not only physically but also in their actions and emotions. Majority of the time when it comes to any form of entertainment being it movies, plays, or books, the characters are flat, one dimensional. You don't get a sense of who they really are, the author in his writings portrays him in a certain light. Could be portrayed has the good guy, bad guy, or just your average man on the street. But Raskolnikov in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is displayed with more then one persona. His range of actions and emotions is almost unheard of, he is a Dr. Jekyl, Mr. Hyde type character. For Raskolnikov has some very extremes ranging from the kind, compassionate, caring side he displays towards Sonia to the murderous, selfish, materialistic side in killing Alyona and Lizaveta Ivanovna. There are many other instances where Raskolnikov shows his colors other then committing the murders and his relationship with Sonia. His first dream along with, revisiting the crime sight contrasted with his reaction to finding Marmelodov run over in the street, both showcase his different sides. Raskolnikov can also be compared to a current event, that being the happenings in Littleton, Colorado. You would think that a swing in attitude and emotion that Raskolnikov has would follow a deep impacting event, like the murders of the Ivanovna sisters. This is not the case though, even before the horrendous crimes he commits, you can see him sway from one side to the other. This is prevalent during and after his first dream. The dream is of a man brutally beating to death a horse. Raskolnikov is a child in the dream and like every child would is concerned and worried for the well being of the animal, for the mare is old and being asked to do something it is incapable of doing. The dream continuously gets worse and he ends up screaming and chasing after the owner of the horse, once he has killed it. While his father is trying to comfort him he awakes from the dream, and after standing up in horror says, "Thank God, that was only a dream." Then he questions what the dream represents; trying to figure out if it is a premonition of him killing the old lady, Alyona Ivanovna. He cries "Good God! Can it be, can it be, that I shall really take an axe, that I shall strike her on the head, split her skull open?" Raskolnikov then argues that he could never commit such a horrible crime saying, "?yesterday I realised completely that I could never bear to do it? Why am I going over it again, then??yesterday, I said to myself that it was base, loathsome, vile, vile? the very thought of it made me feel sick and filled me with horror." Goes on to say, "I couldn't do it! Why, why then am I still??" The dream and the following conversation with himself displays the two sides of Raskolnikov. He is arguing both sides, of why he could or could not commit the murder. It is like a scene from a cartoon where there is a devil on one shoulder of the character and an angel on the other. Raskolnikov has these thoughts fighting in his head. The child caring and showing concern for the ill-fated animal reflects the caring side that is present in him. It shows that he is not a cold-hearted killer that is depicted by the owner of the mare. Upon waking though his thoughts turn to the possibility of killing Alyona. This is a representation of his murderous half looking to improve his standard of living by taking another's life. The two sides of his mind are fighting wanting him to make the correct decision with each side having its pros and cons. The compassionate side gives one last futile attempt to set Raskolnikov straight when he prays "Lord, show me my path-I renounce that accursed? dream of mine." The events leading up to Raskolnikov's return to the scene of the crime and his visit are of great contrast to his actions towards Marmelodov and his family, after Marmelodov is run over in the street. With the immediacy of the scenes Dostoevsky is able to exhibit the vast differences within Raskolnikov's character. Raskolnikov is wondering all about the city