Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Crime and Punishment focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Raskolnikov, an impoverished ex-student in St. Petersburg who formulates and executes a plan to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker for her cash. Raskolnikov, in attempts to defend his actions, argues that with the pawnbroker’s money he can perform good deeds to counterbalance the crime, while ridding the world of a vermin. He also commits the murder to test a theory of his that dictates some people are naturally capable of such actions, and even have the right to perform them. Several times throughout the novel, Raskolnikov compares himself with Napoleon Bonaparte and shares his belief that murder is permissible in pursuit of a higher purpose.

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Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

At moments he felt he was raving. He sank into a state of feverish excitement.

“The old woman is of no consequence,” he thought, hotly and incoherently. “The old woman was a mistake perhaps, but she is not what matters!

The old woman was only an illness…. I was in a hurry to overstep…. I didn’t kill a human being, but a principle!

I killed the principle, but I didn’t overstep, I stopped on this side…. I was only capable of killing. And it seems I wasn’t even capable of that…

Principle? Why was that fool Razumihin abusing the socialists? They are industrious, commercial people; ‘the happiness of all’ is their case.

No, life is only given to me once and I shall never have it again; I don’t want to wait for ‘the happiness of all.’ I want to live myself, or else better not live at all.

I simply couldn’t pass by my mother starving, keeping my rouble in my pocket while I waited for the ‘happiness of all.’ I am putting my little brick into the happiness of all and so my heart is at peace.

Ha-ha! Why have you let me slip? I only live once, I too want…. Ech, I am an æsthetic louse and nothing more,” he added suddenly, laughing like a madman…….

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