Date of publication: 2017-09-06 09:56
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In his novel Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky uses nightmares to develop the story of Arkady Ivanovich Svidrigailov, the depraved sensualist, to its dnouement, in which he fully accepts his dire situation and its inevitable outcome..
The coincidence of Raskolnikov coming across the just-injured Marmeladov, on the other hand, makes no statement on his character. Rather, it serves primarily to advance the plot and give the narrative an almost frantic feeling. In fact, seemingly at every turn, Raskolnikov runs into some unexpected person or thing that drives the plot onward. Nearly every event or encounter contributes to the forward momentum of the plot, and the virtual lack of actionless time periods in the novel gives it a rushed, delirious pacing that serves to reflect Raskolnikov&rsquo s own state of mind.
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And this seemingly irrational decision (sister's not home—murder time!) actually speaks to a sense of inner goodness within Raskolnikov. It's suggested that seeing Lizaveta (who we know is regularly beaten by her sister and is used as one of the arguments for murder made by the other student) shifted the dream symbols in his mind—the horse becomes Lizaveta, and to save her from being beaten to death (like the horse), he must kill her abuser.
Sound familiar? Well, we just painted you a pretty exact picture of Raskolnikov—although our guy doesn't eat ramen because it hasn't been invented yet.
But don't think we're going to stop feeding you sweet, sweet definitions now. In terms of Russian nihilism, the Oxford English Dictionary gives us this:
- And now my precious Rodya, I embrace you and send you a mother's blessing till we meet. Love Dounia your sister, Rodya love her as she loves you and understand that she loves you beyond everything, more than herself. She is an angel and you, Rodya, you are everything to us-our one hope, our one consolation. If only you are happy, we shall be happy. (Page 96)
Sure, he might be a bit of a bungler, but he tries to help people. He's completely devoted to the Marmeladov family and tries to help them any way he can. He helps Razumihin stop drinking and get together with Dounia. He properly judges the characters of Svidrigaïlov and Luzhin and (sort of) assists in thwarting their dastardly plans. He (sort of) helps that abused drunk girl in the park.
But this is important information—he used to be a productive person. For his article to have been published, he had to actually sit down, write it, and then send it in for submission. He had to have had his act least a little.