The criminal mind of Raskolnikov- His inability to conquer his conscience after the murder. human ValueIs it acceptable for some human beings to suffer and die and not for others? In the novel Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky offers his solution through the character of Raskolnikov. This character has a split personality in which on one hand offers a complex view of justice for some people to kill others, he being one of those that can kill. However in his actions he deeply sympathize with the suffering and unfortunate.
Through Raskolnikov contradictions with his theory by sympathizing with the suffering of the week, Dostoevsky reveals his personal views on the value of human life. Raskolnikov s belief begins with the idea that people are divided into two types of men. Inferior (ordinary) that is, so to say, material that serves only to reproduce its kind, and men who have the gift or the talent to utter a new word. (pg 227) These extra-ordinary people have an inner right to decide in his own conscience to overstep …certain obstacles(pg 226) in order to fulfill his idea.
Raskolnikov believes himself to be one of these superior individuals that has the authority to create a breech in his conscience and utter a new word by killing an old pawn broker. His initial motives were to put all the old woman s money to practical use. The reader later sees that nothing of the sort has been done. The only money taken was not even counted and stuffed under a rock so that Raskolnikov would not be caught.
Lizaveta s death is another example of the futility of this crime and suggests the idea that indeed the plan was not even close to accomplishing this goal. Ingrained in his personality Raskolnikov consistently shows his sympathy for those who suffer. The drunk girl he protects on the street, the sick girl he almost marries, and Sonia are all examples of his obsession with the afflicted. The latter which he bows down and kisses her foot saying I bowed down to all the suffering of humanity(pg 279).
He comments that it was a honor for his mother and sister to sit beside her because of [her] great suffering(pg 279). While in delirium he shows his raw emotion with a catharsis of pity and guilt for the meek. Poor Lizaveta! Why did she come in…It s strange though, why is it I scarcely ever think of her, as though I hadn t killed her? Lizaveta! Sonia! Poor gentle things, with gentle eyes…Dear women! Why don t they weep Why don t they moan? They give up everything…their eyes are soft and gentle…Sonia, Sonia! Gentle Sonia! (pg 240)
It seems as though Raskolnikov condones breeches of morals for some, but cannot cope with any of the suffering that these actions will inevitably cause. Through this contradiction Dostoevsky suggests that a criminal, ordinary or extraordinary does not have the authority to over-rule his conscience. Human life cannot be made worthless in the name of development. It is beyond his control and his crime is always accompanied by something of the nature of disease(pg 64).