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Friday, 12 July 2013

"Crime and punishment"- fragmentary thoughts

(Part 6 chapter 5, "Crime and punishment" by Dostoyevsky). 

1/ "The people are drinking, the educated youth are burning themselves up in idleness, in unrealisable dreams and fancies, crippling themselves with theories." (part 6 chapter 4)
Raskolnikov does nothing. Most of the time he stays in his room, sleeping or pretending to be asleep and thinking.
The devil finds work for idle hands.

2/ What kind of man is Raskolnikov? Sometimes he's rational and cool, even cold-blooded, sometimes he is irritable and easily flares up. Sometimes he has great compassion, sometimes he loathes everybody. Sometimes he's cunning and calculating, sometimes he gets confused and betrays himself.

3/ Raskolnikov tells Sonya.
Svidrigailov tells Dunya.

4/ How can Sonya bear it? Because she has a golden heart and feels compassion for Raskolnikov? Because she has known suffering? Because she has faith and believes in redemption and forgiveness? Because she loves him?

5/ Raskolnikov reminds me of Marcus Brutus in Shakespeare's play: reason, abstract thoughts, the common good.

6/ Can the murder of the pawnbroker be justified?

7/ I don't think Svidrigailov and Sonya, like some people have said, represent the 2 opposing forces in Raskolnikov's nature. Svidrigailov is Raskolnikov's doppelgänger.

8/ Raskolnikov talks of depravity and finds Svidrigailov repugnant, but is he really better than him?

9/ Who's more noble? Whose decision is better? 

10/ Can they switch places? In the end I mean? No I think not. Their decisions suit their kinds.

Update on 25/3/2014 (after reading "Notes from underground" and having some discussions on utilitarianism): 
Going back to this old entry, I can't believe that I wrote such things, especially no.6. Of course, the murder cannot be justified, even if Raskolnikov only kills the pawnbroker. The whole point of the novel is critiquing, attacking utilitarianism, which focuses on the good rather than the right, which can justify any morally wrong act as long as it maximises utility. I reckon, at the time I could write such a thing because, whilst reading "Crime and punishment", I was so caught up in it, immersed in it, and at some point got into Raskolnikov's mindset and somehow felt drawn to his theories and reasoning to the point of forgetting my own set of ethics. 
Anyhow, this novel seems to require a 2nd reading. 

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