“Raskolnikov's Dream in Crime and Punishment” Summary

Topics: Suicide, Crime and Punishment, Confession Pages: 3 (861 words) Published: December 2, 2013
“Raskolnikov's Dream in Crime and Punishment” Summary
In Raymond J. Wilson’s “Raskolnikov's Dream in Crime and Punishment” he examines the ways in which Raskolnikov's horse-beating dream can help us interpret the nature of his character. Wilson then discusses Raskolnikov’s placement in the dream, saying that “All of the characters of the dream are the dreamer” (Wilson). He then explains the role of the little boy, the onlooker, and the brute in his personality then ventures further, putting them into more specific situations seen throughout the book.

In the first section Wilson describes Raskolnikov's feelings of guilt he feels in his dream and relates the guilt and horror the little boy because of his inability to stop the Mikolka from administering the crime. Then Wilson shows Raskolnikov's reluctance to admit to his crime and how it linked it to that of the little boy’s father, an onlooker so tells him to keep quiet. Wilson states that “Each of the three main actors in Raskolnikov's dream--Mikolka, little boy, and onlooker--reflect ways of reacting that Raskolnikov consistently demonstrates in the novel”(Wilson).

Wilson then links these examples from Raskolnikov's dream to other instances inside the book. First with the peasant Mikolka, then in Raskolnikov’s interviews by displaying a different character in each interview. Wilson then states that even with this information the “real test of the dream characters' explanatory value is whether they contribute to the reader's understanding of Dostoevsky's depiction of Raskolnikov” (Wilson), then he proceeds with eight examples, demonstrating their value. (1) Raskolnikov's reunion with his sister: In this selection Raskolnikov rashly denounces his sister’s wedding, thinks it over distancing himself from the situation, then has a little public reconciliation. He behaves as the brute in his act of outrage at his sister. Then he realizes that is was none of his business showing the view of the onlooker....

Cited: Wilson, Raymond J., III. "Raskolnikov 's Dream in Crime and Punishment." Literature and Psychology 26.4 (1976): 159-166. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Jessica Bomarito and Russel Whitaker. Vol. 167. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Literature Resource Center. Web. 26 Nov. 2013.
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