Evil (Crime & Punishment)

Topics: Nature versus nurture, Human nature, Crime and Punishment Pages: 36 (9972 words) Published: April 21, 2000
Evil is a character in nature that is marked by bad moral qualities bringing about harm and misfortune. In a rational world, with a superior goal demanding righteousness and peace, evil disrupts society and results in sorrow, distress, or calamity. Evil is an almighty force of nature that has forever corrupted societies relentlessly, never to be halted.

As far back as history will tell, evil has shown it's wicked face. Evil has transgressed through centuries, hindering those who it has come to and sometimes the environment surrounding. This dire forceful has seeded traits in mankind that have grown due to society. Forces of it's strong antithesis, good, have fought to overcome and be rid of evil succeeding at times maybe in battle but never in the war. It seems that due to the caliber of its force and prevalence in society, man may never see an end to evil. Supporting this theory is the fact that there is a never-ending battle to resolve this sinister force.

Evil has shown so overpowering that it is part of every creature and being in the

known world. It comes in many different forms, styles, and shapes. Everyday life consists

of many types of evil showing forth, disguising itself at times or at other putting itself in a

clear eye's view. This all depends on the creature it is within. Those who consider or

have been considered by society as "good" are the ones that have resisted and fought off

this compelling force. On the contrary, as nature has revealed, evil in some creatures is

too much a part of them for it to be held down.

Resulting factors illustrate the argument to the belief that evil results when man interrupts natural processes. (Americana 731)

Philosophers and educated people alike, for centuries have argued the conflict of

nature versus nurture as two possible causes of evil in man. The nature theory supports

that man is inherently evil in a sense that there is no one to blame for his or her evil but

oneself. On the other hand, the idea of nurture relays the cause of evil in man due to

his society, environment, and peers. Instances throughout time, have brought evidence

to support both theories defining why the conflict still exists.

In order to decide if the cause is nature or nurture in a certain occurrence, one can break the evil into three categories of moral, radical, and metaphysical. These broad categories entail different "kinds" of evil broken down into groups, putting them in order of harshness according to the form in which they appear.

In the novel Crime and Punishment, the author Feodor Dostoevsky paints a picture

of a man's environment and how evil has affected him. This "environment" reveals a dark,

depressing society lurking with instances of evil. Through his characters' trials and

tribulations, Dosteovsky answers the question of the cause of evil in man in the forms of

moral, radical, and metaphysical.

Crime and Punishment portrays evil mostly in the main character Raskolnikov. This main character is constantly weathered with mixed emotions driving him at times almost to delirium. Dosteovsky focuses frequently upon the wicked, yet normal mind of Raskolnikov.

Dosteovsky's powerful appeal to our intellectual interests is most directly and naturally linked to the action. (Rahv 592)

In other words, Dosteovsky is showing how a relatively intelligent person is

vulnerable to indulge in such pure evil.

Moral evil categorizes evil as wrongful actions done knowingly to misfortune or

harm in a society consisting of moral principles. Examples in past and present time include

common traits such as greed, lust, and hate. Particular crimes associated with moral evil

are robbery, rape, and extortion.

These actions are subject to judgment and punishment, mitigation, and aggravation, repentance and remission. (Shattuck 76)

The main character, Raskolnikov...
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