Throughout the novel, Raskolnikov exerts most of his mental energy into concocting reasons that justify his action of the double murder of the pawn broker and her sister, Lizavetta, and convincing himself that his action was justifiable. But this very act of self-persuasion should tell Raskolnikov that there is no way to justify his actions. If one needs to search for a reason to justify a committed act, then he should know that there is no justifiable reason. An action is justifiable when the person who commits the action feels no doubt about the morality of their action.
The first reason for the murder of the pawnbroker comes from the mouths of two men chatting on the side of the street near her building. They are discussing the benefits to the world if someone were to murder the old lady. She just sits in her flat, hoarding money, never returning it to society. She is a bitter old woman for whom no affection is shown. No one would miss her if she were gone; her death would result in a slight raise in the standard of living. For myself, this argument is one of the least convincing that Rasklonikov tells himself. There is no way in which society can advance towards utopia if people kill other people who the murderer deems insignificant or detrimental to society. This only leads to mass murder because there is not a single person who nobody thinks badly of. Raskolnikov believes that he is bringer of a revolution, one in which he will rally the poor and fight the just cause to gain equality. I cannot foresee how he can do this is he believes that killing people will make society better. This reason also cannot account for why Rasklonikov killed Lizavetta. She was never meant to be killed; yet Raskolnikov finds himself trying to find a reason why she was killed too. The obvious one for me is that he did not want any witnesses to the crime, yet Raskolnikov only thinks of her death after he has exhaus... Continue Reading