The character Raskolnikov in the novel Crime and Punishment is among one of the most realistic and believable characters I have ever read about. He is also the most confusing and distraught man I have been introduced to this entire year. Raskolnikov possesses the most varying personality imaginable and this makes the reasoning behind his actions a mystery, especially in the case of the murder. Determining the rationale in killing the old pawnbroker is a complex process that necessitates deep thought from the reader. It is also a difficult point to argue because Dostoevsky's novel is so intensely detailed that different readers can emphasize different aspects of the book in order to attempt to explain Raskolnikov's deeds.
Guilt as well as intellectual reasoning prove to be the main motivating factors behind the crime of Raskolnikov. Throughout the novel his actions are usually a result of his striking intelligence or his tormenting conscience, or in the situation of the murder, both. Raskolnikov's idea to kill the old pawnbroker stems from a theory he was developing. It was probable that during his studies at the university he was aquatinted with the popular philosophies of two German thinkers of the time.
One of these philosophers is George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who had formulated a conception of an exceptional individual he called a "superman". Hegel's superman exists for good purposes. He stands above and beyond the ordinary man and works for the good of all men. The most controversial part of this superman theory that Raskolnikov obviously adopts is the Machiavellian belief that the end justifies the mean. This means that anything that could have a beneficial outcome for many should be considered regardless of the sacrifice of the few. If the intent is noble the method will be justified. According to Hegel, any damaging part of a community should be removed, and one tiny crime will be wiped clean... Continue Reading