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Justifying Murder in Crime and Punishment

            In "Crime and Punishment," protagonist, Raskolnikov, seems to embody a person with split personalities. Throughout the book, he teeters between two extremes: a cold-hearted killer and a compassionate, kind-hearted man. The plot centers around his inner psychological turmoil brought on by his alienation of society and his decision to commit murder. Conversely, The Officer, In the Penal Colony, holds on dearly to the traditions of the former Commandant, while the rest of the colony seems to discard the old traditions and mock them. The Officer is devoted to the justice system of the old colony and struggles to defend its practice under the new Commandant. Raskolnikov suffers immensely with his inner struggle to justify the murders he committed, contrastly, the Officer never strays from his belief in the justice of the executions, even to the bitter end of the story. .
             From the beginning of "Crime and Punishment," it is evident that Raskolnikov isolation from society has begun to affect his mental state, resulting in an internal conflict between good and evil. For example, Raskolnikov plans every detail leading to the murder of the old pawnbroker, Alyona Ivanovna. However, he becomes troubled by these homicidal thoughts, referring to them as loathsome and atrocious (Dostoevsky, p. 8). Raskolnikov seems to completely abandon thoughts of killing the pawnbroker after dreaming of watching a mare brutally beaten to death, as a child. Soon after, Raskolnikov's murderous plans are revived when he overhears the pawnbroker would be left alone the next day. He rationalizes that this opportunity may never present itself again. He then thought to himself that, "he had no more freedom of thought, no will"" (p. 65). At that point in the text, it was clear that Raskolnikov had finally decided to follow through with his plan. .
             While Raskolnikov struggles with justifying his actions, the Officer is devoted to the penal colony's system of justice, which is represented by the apparatus.

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