Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Some thoughts on Raskolnikov's "superman" theory and how Dostoevsky deals with it in the end

In Dostoyevsky’s thought provoking book, Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov seeks to prove his “superman” theory right, while at the same time finding out if he is indeed a “superman.” From a biblical and morally upright viewpoint, it is obvious that this theory is extremely flawed. But what does the ending of Crime and Punishment say about this theory?

Rakolnikov believed firmly in his theory, even after his crime left him with serious emotional and physical issues. Up until the very end of the story it can be argued that Raskolnikov still thought his theory correct. But was it?

The ending makes it clear that Raskolnikov was indeed wrong. Certain men cannot commit crimes, and not get caught because they are somehow more fit to commit these crimes. According to his superman theory, if Raskolnikov was indeed one of these “supermen” he would not have had to confess, nor would he have felt the need to.

Dostoyevsky even adds a scene of repentance, so the reader sees that Raskolnikov finally sees the fault in his viewpoints and actions. This scene is critical to the complete the destruction of Raskolnikov’s theory. Not only is Raskolnikov punished, but he accepts his punishment.

Crime and Punishment is the perfect example of a theory, being tried and ultimately failing miserably. Raskolnikov attempts to be the “superman” described in his educated essay on his theory, but he fails, ending up in a labor camp for a destitute amount of time. This ending, with the criminal being caught and no “superman” getting away with their crimes, completely bashes Raskolnikov’s theory.