Crime and Punishment
In the novel, Crime and Punishment, by Feodor Dostoevsky,
Marmeladov asks Raskolnikov "Do you understand, sir, do you
understand what it means when you have absolutely no one to
love?" The idea of man being all alone becomes a major
recurring theme in the story. In the novel, isolation is
the cause and effect of the murder as well as the cause and
effect of the punishment.
The novel begins with Raskolnikov intentionally isolating
himself. He, on purpose, separates himself from all human
society. This allows him to detach himself from all
humanity and the feelings of love and compassion that
belongs to it. Therefore, he can think of concepts in a
purely philosophical frame of mind without any humane
distractions. Without taking human feelings into account he
could then proclaim that extraordinary men have the right
to commit any crime if they think it's proper at the time.
Also, his definition of an extraordinary man is anyone who
could invent a "new word". Since his deriving this whole
idea is something new, he gave himself permission to commit
the murder in his own mind.
After Roskolnikov commits the murder, isolation becomes an
after effect of the crime. Even in his own philosophy
Roskolnikov believed that crime isolates a person from
society. If one wants to get away with a crime without
being punished one is forced into isolation. A criminal
cannot trust anyone with their secret because there is no
telling if someone might reveal your secret to the public.
This exactly what happens with Roskolnikov.
Towards the end of the novel Roskolnikov admits to the
murder for the purpose of returning to society. The only
way he could end his isolation was the revelation of his
crime. Once his crime was out in the open he was no longer
completely isolated from society. He finally had someone he
could talk to.
The punishment for his crime is clearly another form of
isolation. He was punished to jail in Siberia. However, he
still had one companion from society: the person he
admitted to, Sonia. In the epilogue, Rokolnikov realizes
that once the physical isolation of jail is over, he has
many years of joy left with Sonia, the person who brought
him back into society.
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