14 July 2010

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Crime and Punishment focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, an impoverished ex-student from St. Petersburg who formulates and executes a plan to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker for her money. Raskolnikov argues that with the pawnbroker's money he can perform good deeds to counterbalance the crime, while ridding the world of a worthless, irksome woman. This murder he also commits to test Raskolnikov's hypothesis that some people are naturally able to and also have the right to murder; these people are called supermen. It is based of the philosophies of Nietsche: a very popular and successful philosopher during the mid 1800's. Several times throughout the novel, Raskolnikov also justifies his actions by connecting himself mentally with Napoleon Bonaparte, believing that murder is permissible in pursuit of a higher purpose, only to find out he "... is not a Napoleon," meaning that he is not one of the people to be able to commit murder. He knows this because of the unbearable guilt inflicted upon him. Although quite lengthy, and in some parts quite boring, Crime and Punishment is basically a detective story for lawyers. This is a book mandatory for most law classes and so naturally, is not an easy read... at all.


Reviewed by Tyler.

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