By the end of Dostoyeskyâ€™s Crime and Punishment, the reader is no longer under the illusion of the possible existence of â€œextraordinaryâ€ men. For an open-minded reader, and even perhaps the closed-minded ones too, the book is a journey through Raskolnikovâ€™s proposed theory on crime. It is a theory based on the ideas that had â€œbeen printed and read a thousand timesâ€(313) by both Hegel and Nietzsche. Hegel, a German philosopher, influenced Dostoyesky with his utilitarian emphasis on the ends rather than the means whereby a superman existed as one that stood above the ordinary man, but worked for the benefit of all mankind. Nietscheâ€™s more selfish philosophy focused on the rights to power which allowed one to act in a Hegelian manner. In committing his crime, Raskolnikov experienced the ultimate punishment as he realized that his existence was not that of the â€œextraordinaryâ€ man presented in his theory. In chapter five of part three in Crime and Punishment, this theory is outlined by its creator, Raskolnikov. Such an innovative theory would clearly have placed him in the â€œextraordinaryâ€ category, but when he fails to meet its standards, by submitting to the common law through his confession, the theory crumbles right before the readerâ€™s eyes. .
The majority of Raskolnikovâ€™s theory seems logical until the reader arrives at its single essential flaw. Raskolnikovâ€™s idea that â€œthe enactment of a crime is invariably accompanied by illnessâ€(311) was one aspect of the theory which, through its accuracy in Raskolnikovâ€™s crime, seemed to lend validity to the entirety of the theory; several brief experiences with â€œfaintnessâ€ on the character Raskolnikovâ€™s behalf, insinuate the veracity of his ideas.
After inferring from the rationality of Raskolnikovâ€™s hypothesis on illness that the rest of his working theory would too be correct, the reader is led down a path of definite expectations for his/her â€œextraordinaryâ€ narrator.