Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment" is the
story of a poor man in
Russia who mentally destroys himself of his guilt through pain and suffering. It
analyzes the mental and physical conflicts brought upon himself by his crime.
His complications are put together by the conflicting personalities which he
shows. The reader is encouraged to characterize him by his cold, ravenous side.
Yet, without the warm peaceful side of his nature and the people evolving around
him, Raskolnikov never realizes the problems in his beliefs and actions.
Raskolnikov is repeatedly emphasized for the alternating style of his
personality, which both are very important. Raskolnikov's cold side leads him to
develop his theory that extra ordinary men have the right to commit crimes, and
also to commit murder. This side of him bases all decisions on reasonability,
rather than on feeling. A person can be absolutely nothing without emotions. The
other side of his character is kind and generous. Without this side of
Raskolnikov being told in the novel, the reader can only see him as an evil
murderer, and not an mislead victim, as Dostoevsky tries to show. In the novel
"Crime and Punishment," Raskolnikov shows random acts of kindness
whenever he finds a person in need. He gives money to the Marmeladov family, he
attempts to aid Marmeladov when he dies, and he tries to get a drunken girl home
and away from the stranger. All of these things were done spontaneously. He
simply feels that at the time it is the right thing to do. However, after a
short period of time his views can reverse dramatically. He starts to sensibly
analyze what he has done, and then feels that his actions were dumb and stupid.
This spontaneous change shows the return of his cold side, and it occurs after
every kind thing that Raskolnikov does. These changes and alterations between
two different personalities give Raskolnikov separate visions on his
characteristics. The novel is focused on the differences between the two points
of view, and the reader is able to see how one person can change to another
person in a matter of seconds. Both Raskolnikov's generous and evil actions are
essential to his character because they allow the reader to identify the two
different points of view and the two characteristics of his personality.