Crime and Punishment Essay
The Beating of the Horse
An overburdened mare is beaten to death by a crowd of drunkards who justify it without remorse.
The Beating of the Landlady
Ilya Petrovich mercilessly beats the landlady while a crowd gathers round him and eventually goes after Raskolnikov.
The “Re-Murder” of the Pawnbroker
Raskolnikov tries to kill an invincible Alyona Petrovich while a crowd of onlookers watch him with silence and expectation.
The Viral Epidemic
A virus is spread throughout all of Russia where the victims think themselves the sole possessors of truth, resulting in the deterioration of society.
Raskolnikov’s dreams all have a symbolic meaning, which reveal his thoughts and the different aspects of his character and the society he lives in. These dreams are linked through Raskolnikov’s conflict with his conscience. When he dreams of the mare being beaten, Dostoevsky parallels the murder of the pawnbroker to the murder of the mare, leaving Raskolnikov to conclude that he should not kill her. However, after the murder the suppression of his conscience causes it to resurface in his dreams. This can be seen in the beating of the landlady, where Raskolnikov is fearful of being exposed by Ilya Petrovich. Next, he tries to kill Alyona again, but she will not die and the crowds of people only get closer and closer; everyone is watching and waiting. Finally, the viral epidemic spreading through the country is like the theory that Raskolnikov has; when every individual believes they are right and suppresses their virtue, chaos erupts. In addition to the suppression of his conscience, Raskolnikov’s dreams illustrate Raskolnikov’s deepest thoughts with the theme of suffering. Although he would like to believe that he is superior, Raskolnikov knows subconsciously that he is doing something wrong. This is exemplified in all his dreams but especially in the beating of the mare. Raskolnikov’s reaction to the beating of the mare demonstrates...
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