Crime and Punishment Characters: Exploring the Complex Character of Raskolnikov

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Last Updated: 26-Jun-23
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In Dostoevsky`s Crime and Punishment, the main character, Raskolnikov is a complex character. Throughout the book it is evident that he has many different personality traits that are not only diverse but completely opposite. In fact the translation of his name means "schismatic" or divided. His personality is divided and he separates himself out of society, and relations.

When Raskolnikov is first introduced in the story he lives alone, in a room no bigger than a cupboard, in poverty and debt. All of these things seem to a very severe depressed state, where he separates himself from both reality and society. He seemed to be very devoted to his family as well. He wanted to protect his sister from her unsuited fiancé. His behavior seems to become somewhat detached over time. It is suggested that he probably has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) tendencies. He precisely knows how many steps there are from one place to another. He has trouble keeping his thoughts organized and sensible. One of his walks led him to a tavern where he met a man named Marmeladov, who eventually became friends with.

He appeared to be very intelligent and thought of himself as more superior than others. He felt that was extraordinary and did not have to live obediently or obey the law. He actually wrote a paper describing this thought process. He believed that he was part of this elite group that could change the way the world was run. It was this thought process that eventually caused his to murder two people. He felt that he was above the law and that he didn`t do anything wrong. The fact that he feels no guilt in his behavior and disregard to the law shows him to be a cold and inhumane person that lacks any empathy.