The Realtionship Between Death and Freedom in Sorrows of a Young Werther and Crime and Punishment

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The relationship between death and freedom is a common thread throughout Sorrows of a Young Werther by Goethe and Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky. The relationship illustrated in both works is that one cannot achieve true freedom until they are dead. Until death, Werther and Raskolnikov will always feel the restrictions that society places upon them. Werther feels restricted due to the unrequited love of Lotte and Raskolnikov feels restricted by the moral code that society establishes. In Sorrows of a Young Werther by Goethe and Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky both characters' exhibit their freedom through death. In Sorrows of a Young Werther, Werther views suicide as a human right and the ultimate expression of one's power. Death representing freedom is evident in Weather's suicide because he feels that he cannot go on living in such torment. The only way to free him from this torment is to kill himself.

In Crime and Punishment death representing freedom is evident in Raskolnikov's justification for the pawnbroker's murder. He justifies the murder first through it's circumstances. When Raskolnikov discovers that Lizaveta will be out of the house at seven, he views this information as a sign that the murder must be committed, "all liberty of action and free-will were gone." Next Raskolnikov claims that the pawnbroker deserved to die and it was his duty to rid society of "the wretched little creature". This mind set shows how murder is an expression of freedom for Raskolnikov because the murder is Raskolnikov's way of showing his superiority to society.

Both Raskolnikov and Werther view themselves as superior to society. Raskolnikov views himself as the Napoleonic great man and Werther views himself as the romantic egoistic. Raskolnikov believes that laws, restrictions, and a moral code only apply to the ignorant and naïve common man. Raskolnikov is very confident that the police will never be able to convict him of murder because he can outwit the...
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