Crime and Punishment

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In Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the reader follows Raskolnikov from a first-person perspective, witness to both his actions and feelings. However, most, if not all of the supporting characters are just as important, as they serve as warped mirrors of Raskolnikov, warping, exaggerating, and twisting his personality. None though, are as eerily similar as Razumikhin, who serves as a baffle to Raskolnikov. Where Raskolnikov sequesters himself mentally – inside his own head, and physically – he stays in his cramped apartment for days at a time, going out at late hours and spending the days sick; Razumikhin is an extrovert, outgoing and interacting with others almost to the point of annoyance; he even goes so far to ask Raskolnikov if he is too talkative. Razumikhin goes out of his way to help Pulcheria Alexandrovna and Dunya when they come to visit Raskolnikov, taking care of both his sick friend and two strangers out of kindness.

Rasumikhin's motives, surprisingly, stem from the reverse of Raskolnikov's. Razumikhin is driven out of a need to overcome his poverty and the state he is in, not much different than that of Raskolnikov's had he not exacerbated his condition. The difference in their actions is dictated by their different ways of dealing with their environment. Raskolnikov is used to taking from others, whereas Razumikhin copes with setbacks by trying harder. Raskolnikov also sees himself above others, suffering from a Napoleonic Complex, a delusion of being a "superman". Razumikhin has again, the antipodal mindset, leaving a party with his Uncle's high-class friends to aid Raskolnikov. Razumikhin's main purpose in the story is to illustrate how differently someone in the same condition could have turned out.
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