Crime and Punishment

A raisin in the sun crtical analysis


In Dostoevsky's novels pain and some heavy burden of the inevitability of
human suffering and helplessness form Russia. And he depicts it not with
white gloves on, nor through the blisters of the peasant, but through people
who are close to him and his realities: city people who either have faith,
or secular humanists who are so remote from reality that even when they love
humanity they despise humans because of their own inability to achieve or to
create paradise on earth. His novels The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and
Punishment are best examples of the poisonous effect of such ideals on the
common human. The rebellion of these humanists against the system and the
reality of human life becomes more important, thus love becomes the filter
and the servant of pride and ideals. The cause of XIX c. liberals becomes
more important to them than the actual human being that might not fit the
picture of their perfect and humane society. Through these problems and
opposites which cross and overlap each other, Dostoevsky depicts social
issues, especially the problem of murder, through an image of people who go
through pain. He presents a graphical experience of ones who do not know how
to deal with humanity and its problems. Dostoevsky himself does not give a
clear solution nor does he leave one with the certainty of faith for an
example. He says himself:

Finding myself lost in the solution of these questions, I decide
to bypass them with no solution at all. (From the Author. The
Brothers Karamazov)

Through the presentation of crime and the issue of money which is often
connected to it, Dostoevsky retells a Bible story. His answer to the problem
of evil and human life filled with suffering, at least the most persuading
one, for a better society and better social conditions is active love. That
is not the love that is directed towards the humanity as a whole, but
towards the individual: "Strive to love your neighbor actively and
indefatigably" (II, 4). For Dostoevsky such love is a false one and he
presents it through such characters as Rakitin, Perkhotin and even Luzhin:

Consciousness of life is superior to life, knowledge of the laws
of happiness is superior to happiness--that is what we must fight
against. (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man , p. 382)

One of greatest evils for Dostoevsky are the so-called liberals who "love
humanity more than an individual man." Yet he does not represent their
behavior as genuinely evil . Their hate towards humanity arises exactly from
the opposite: love. Secular humanists see so much evil, crime and
inhumanity, they cannot stop it so they rebel. Ivan Karamazov and his
rebellion are purely of that kind. He is not vile, he just cannot understand
that there might be a solution for such suffering, especially in the case of
children who are innocent in Christianity. That is why Ivan asks:
Love life more than the meaning of it? (II, 3)

Ivan as any average intellectual, wants to know. To know the meaning of life
for him is more important than to actually do something about the human
suffering. Ivan forgets that one human life is as important as the entire
humanity. For him humanity is merely an abstraction which happen to be
surrounding him. He thinks that by knowing and logically, rationally finally
understanding the mystery of life problems would be solved. For Alyosha, the
only answer is love for life, regardless of the meaning and the logic behind
it. To help people and try to forgive them if they do wrong or help them if
they need help is all that Alyosha wants. Faith in God and people is the
only way to live with love. To believe in God and to have trust in human
nature and destiny means to forgive and to repent. It means not hurting
others. Ivan gets trapped by the power of his own intellect and his own
pride: the pride that pulses in humans who want to know more. Ivan
contradicts himself with his rebellion. On one side, everything is
permitted, because there is no God (Ivan is an atheist), on the other the
rule of despotic Inquisitors who claim that there is God, but "know" the
truth: that there is no God. Ivan desires rebellion against the Father