Crime and Punishment - Raskolnikov's Extraordinary Man Theory:

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Crime and Punishment - Raskolnikov's Extraordinary Man Theory: In the novel, Crime and Punishment, the principle character, Raskolnikov, has unknowingly published a collection of his thoughts on crime and punishment via an article entitled "On Crime." Porfiry, who is trying to link Raskolnikov to a murder, has uncovered this article, read it, and tells Raskolnikov that he is very interested in learning about his ideas. Porfiry brings Raskolnikov into this conversation primarily to find out more about Raskolnikov's possible involvement in the crime. Raskolnikov decides to take him up on the challenge of discussing his theory, and embarks into a large discussion of his philosophy of man. 

            Raskolnikov holds that by a law of nature men have been "somewhat arbitrarily" divided into two groups--ordinary and extraordinary. Raskolnikov believe that the duty and vocation of the first group is to be servile, the material out of which the world and society is to be formed. The first group are the people of the present, the now. The second group, those who are extraordinary, are a step above the normal, ordinary curs. They have the ability to overstep normal bounds and transgress the rights of those who are simply ordinary. They are the prime movers--they have a right to transcend normal societal strictures to accomplish those things they have determined are valid in their conscience. Extraordinary men are the prime movers. He cites such extraordinary men as Newton, Mahomet, and Napoleon. He tells us that Newton had the right to kill hundreds of men if need be in order to bring to the world knowledge of his findings. Napoleon and other leaders created a new word. They overturned ancient laws and created new ones. They had the right to uphold their new ideal, even if it meant killing innocent men defending the ancient law. "The first class of people preserve and people the world, the second move the world and lead it to its goal." Despite these tremendous...
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