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Hope As A Means Of Discovering Personal Meaning In Crime And Punishment

1346 words - 6 pages

In every story, a character develops with the plot from an initial individual that leads to an ultimate, either improved or distorted, character. However in these stories there is one driving factor that pushes the transformation of the character: hope. Many authors utilize hope to justify the characters’ actions in their novels, because it gives them a motivation to continue pursuing the conclusion of the story. Similarly in Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky places a form of collective hope in Raskolnikov that revolves around searching for his meaning in life. In the novel it is inevitable to associate the actions of the characters to their differing hopes, therefore coming to the ...view middle of the document...

In his culmination to the violent act, Raskolnikov continually persuades himself to believe that killing the pawnbroker for the lives of many is morally reasonable so as to simplify this dilemma in his life. From this developing process of Raskolnikov, it is unsure to decipher the hope that he is revolving around, but the result of the murder plays a significant role in explaining his psychological process.
The hope that Raskolnikov immerses in his life is reflected not only in his mind, but also in his actions throughout the novel. In Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov, who places his hope in the Übermensch ideal, acts in ways that culminates to the murder of Alyona. The hope of achieving and realizing his beliefs as an over man convinces him to eventually deal Alyona “another and another blow with the blunt side and on the same spot” (80). His desire to become the over man influences Raskolnikov to turn away from his civilized character into a savage murderer. Additionally, this prolonged obsession with his plan changes Raskolnikov’s perception towards people as mere objects, as he sees the body of Alyona as just an “overturned glass”, therefore, morally justifying his murder (80). Throughout Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov’s hope of accomplishing his utilitarian ideal alters his actions into ignorance of others and eventually a murder.
Not only does the existence of hope shape Raskolnikov’s interaction with the novel, but the absence of it influences how he acts in order to find a new source. Once Raskolnikov kills the pawnbroker, he accomplishes fulfilling his plan that he developed since the beginning of the story and his hope that he relied on to continue his life is no longer present. Although he has fulfilled his treacherous act, he no longer is able to put his hope in the Übermensch ideal from the Nietzsche philosophy and the “terrible suffering” was yet to follow as a result (401). In the time period of Raskolnikov’s suffering, he roams aimlessly debating whether or not to turn himself into the legalities of the city because he believes himself that it is “necessary for [him] to suffer” (515). Both the psychology and the actions of Raskolnikov change once he loses that source of hope. During the period of fulfilling his plan, he focuses his attention on conversations and events that will only convince him to carry out the murder, but once the murder is done, he is no longer blinded by his hope and sees the consequences that follow. Although this phase in the story seems to be repetitive and pointless, it is very crucial in that Dostoevsky uses this development as a driving force to help Raskolnikov ultimately discover his final hope and meaning in life.
Amongst the hardships that Raskolnikov endures, he is finally able to place his hope in a new source. Dostoevsky eventually places a new hope of the belief in Christianity in Raskolnikov’s life, which was Devoid of religion throughout the whole story, because he believes that...

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