Crime and Punishment is concerned to present the moral order which Dostoevsky believed to be inherent in things, and the price of flouting it. So it is not surprising that in novels of redemption we notice a preference for certain themes. From the very first word of this extraordinary piece of literature, the thoughts and transgressions of Raskolnikov penetrate the heart and mind of the reader with exceptional insight, skillfully constructed suspense plots and a dynamic, autonomous hero. It is true to state that Crime and Punishment had a profound influence on the modern intellectual climate, sparking off a wave of existentialist writings, and it is not difficult to discover why. The intricate and enthralling exploration, carried out by Raskolnikov, of conflicting internal drives, personal motivations and philosophical justification of one's existence leads to the impulsive testing of his rights to transgress moral law.
The beginning of the novel introduces five major themes seen throughout the story. The first is the persisting and amaranthine struggle between good and evil. One demonstration of this conflict can be viewed through the instability of society in Russia at that time. The need for a moral force in an irrational universe is the theme which drives Raskolnikov to committing his crime. He feels so strongly that worthless creatures ravage the world that he feels it is his job as a citizen of the world to do what he finally does. His frustration is what prevents him from going completely insane as it manages to suppress the outward anger that he is holding inside of him. The supreme value of an individual is obviously the reason for Raskolnikov's seemingly proud and self-righteous mentality. The theme which is only partially introduced in the first chapter is the of the expiation of sin through suffering. Raskolnikov could be said to be punishing himself at the start of the novel by his decline into... [continues]
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