Svidrigailov and Raskolnikov: Men of Differences and Similarities

August 5, 2017 September 1st, 2019 Free Essays Online for College Students

svidrigailov and Raskolnikov are they really that different from each other? In the novel Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky these two men live lives that seem to parallel. Raskolnikov used to be an impoverished law student who wrote a thesis on the role of “the extraordinary man,” which he believed to be above the law since they have a greater calling that would benefit society. He attempts to prove his theory by murdering two women, but instead he ends up disproving his theory since he fails to commit the perfect crime. He is not an extraordinary man because he cannot mentally handle what he has done. Svidrigailov is the former employer of Raskolnikov’s sister, Dunia. He killed his wife and went out to seek Dunia, the woman he truly seems to love and tried to seduce. Both Svidrigailov and Raskolnikov committed murders; as a result they were faced with a long, mentally agonizing journey in order to seek redemption. Svidrigailov and Raskolnikov both had to deal with being murders and seeking redemption, they however ended up drastically differently because they had completely different perspectives on life.

Raskolnikov was besotted with his “extraordinary man theory”. Raskolnikov was constantly trying to prove to him and to the world that he was part of those few extraordinary people in the world. He went as far as to compare himself to the great Napoleon stating that he could too be above the law and do as he pleased. He believed that if he were to co9mmitte a murder then that would make him part of this elite class. During the crime he mad mistakes that later helped him realized that that maybe he was an extraordinary man like he thought himself to be because an extraordinary man would not make such mistakes after and during a crime. When he visited the scene of the crime, he committed a mistake that cause others to suspect that maybe he had something to do with the murders. If he would not have gone to the crime scene and displayed his interest like that then he would have not alerted some suspicion. But Raskolnikov was so obsessed with his theory that he wanted to feel what it would feel to be an extraordinary man, he wanted to feel invincible.

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But unfortunately, he only felt that way in his thoughts because he did not have the metal strength to cope with what he did. A true extraordinary man, according to him would not have let anything get to him or allow himself to be in a state of helplessness. He suffered a mental breakdown once he realized that he wasn’t part of this elite class, he had failed himself. Because of his failure, he was driven to confess his crime to Sonia. Sonia was the missing piece in his life; he needed someone to make him come back to earth and human faith. Sonia presence in his life allowed Raskolnikov to rationalize his crime and admit his guilt, although not yet reaching redemption. His conversation with Sonia helped him admit to himself his guilt and his failure as an extraordinary man, something that he could not come to accept because he was too proud. His view on life changed because he finally realized that he could not be what he wanted to be because it was impossible. His perspective on life finally changed giving him a second chance at life.

Svidrigailov could be considered as extraordinary man because he has some of those traits. His egocentricity gave him the mental strength to not feel remorse for the crimes he commits. He is able to live his life as best he can and not allow himself to feel weak. Svidrigailov was constantly self involved, very selfish and always doing what was in his best interest, which of course was himself. He had the true attitude to be an extraordinary man. Svidrigailov beliefs about females were strange for his time, but did however reflect his personality perfectly. His beliefs about women loving humiliation were right, but unfortunately he was not at all that way and therefore could not win Dunia’s love. The rejection from Dunia exposed his weaknesses and showed that he was not an extraordinary man because he chose the path of a coward. He killed himself proving that he was not an extraordinary man; he did not have the faith to be one after all. Svidrigailov rational helped him see his wrongdoings and therefore couldn’t internally admit his guilt.

At the beginning, Raskolnikov and Svidrigailov were headed down the same path they both had similar backgrounds they had murdered and saw themselves as something that they were not. Svidrigailov was not able to accept his failures because he could not bear going to life not being loved, his personality and the type of man his was did not allow him to do so. Raskolnikov was able to acknowledge his failure and therefore could move on with his life. Dunia represented to Svidrigailov what the extraordinary man theory presented to Raskolnikov. Both men broke down when they realized that they could not reach their goal. Their different perspectives drove them to choose different outcomes for their lives. Svidrigailov mentality was so stubborn that he would have preferred to die then live without Dunia or even in prison. Svidrigailov was egotistical and did not accept his failures; therefore he decided to commit suicide. Raskolnikov accepted his failures through the help of Sonia and therefore was better off as a person and a human. Svidrigailov and Raskolnikov faced a guilt dilemma. Their denial only hurt themselves. Raskolnikov guilt made him human and when he realized this he realized that his was not extraordinary man. Once Svidrigailov that he could never have Dunia, he realized that there was no point to his life if he was to live with guilt.


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