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Crime and Punishment Essay

In: English and Literature

Submitted By derf
Words 1176
Pages 5
To Mr. Blain
By: ethan miles
6/04/14

The Triumphant Farwell The English Dictionary defines an epilogue as a “concluding section of a speech or literary work”. Though usually short, an epilogue may be as long as an entire chapter in a book. Readers are often curious about what happens to the characters after the narrative ends. An epilogue satisfies this curiosity, leaving the reader informed and fulfilled. In Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Epilogue in Crime and Punishment, there have been speculations in regards to if the epilogue had any sort of significance. This argument sways both ways, but in the case of Crime and Punishment the books identity would be altered if the epilogue were to be absent. Ultimately, the role of the epilogue plays a vital role and is indeed necessary in the establishment of this novel. The epilogue gives the audience a accurate view on the character of Raskolnikov, allows them to see through his imperfections. It ties up any loose ends that the readers may have and most importantly displays the strong affection Raskolnikov and Sonia possess.

Crime and Punishment’s epilogue truly uncovers Raskolnikov’s class as a human being. The audience can appreciate that fact that Raskolnikov is not a complete selfish human being, that he is capable of portraying acts of selflessness. Throughout most of the novel, Raskolnikov is characterized as a man who only thinks about himself. He in visions himself as a human of elite status, and the consequences of the average human do not apply to him. This theory of his is reveled to be just a fictional thought when he eventually derails from sanity shortly after the murder he committed. While Raskolnikov is consistently portrayed to be a self-interested man, he does embody acts of affection. Within the epilogue Raskolnikov has be seen doing many noble deeds within the society. “Raskolnikov had rescued two little children from a house on fire and was burnt in doing so”(Dostoevsky 422). This heroic action exemplifies the fact that Raskolnikov is far from a selfish man. Exclusive to the Epilogue, While Raskolnikov is ill; he has a dream that a virus is sweeping the country. The virus produces its victims to suffer a madness that causes each to think him- or herself the sole possessor of truth. “Raskolnikov was worried that this senseless dream haunted his memory so miserably...”(Dostoevsky 539). This signifies that Raskolnikov feels frightened of the fact that this tragedy occurring in his dream is killing innocent people. The very thought of manslaughter arising in these communities has him trembling, ultimately triumphing the theory of his selfish nature. It is only when he realizes that he truly cares for another people that Raskolnikov is finally able to break his isolation from humanity and begin to sincerely repent for his crimes. Through the epilogue, were the readers able to realize that Raskilnikov’s intentions are pure and he is a genuine man. An imperative role of epilogue in Crime and Punishment is to provide answers to any of the reader’s questions regarding the novel. Concerning this particular novel, there seems to be several questions seeking an answer. “Raskolnikov refused the water with his hand, and softly and brokenly, but distinctly said: It was I killed the old pawnbroker women and her sister Lizaveta…”(Dostoevsky 526). Dostoevsky felt the need to end Crime and Punishment with those very words. Although this creative writing technique left the readers in awe, ultimately it’s in our nature as humans to feel the need to figure out what the outcome is. Readers formulate a type of connection with these characters almost reveling true emotions as events unfold in the book. Does Raskolnikov commit suicide? Is He murdered? Will Sonia forgive him for his wrongdoing? Thanks to the epilogue, we fathom that Raskolnikov is sentenced to jail and out of pure love Sonia follows him. The Epilogue is so important to the structure of this story because it ties the “lose ends” conclusively leave the booklovers satisfied. Lastly, the last reason why the Epilogue is significant is because it shows the launch of Raskolnikov’s reclamation. A vital part in the reclamation of Raskolnikov was the presence and reassurance of Sonia. Rasklolnikov and Sonia have shared a romantic relationship through common lifestyles and bare a strong trustworthy connection. This is demonstrated when Sonia puts a halt to her life and moved to Serbia to stay with Raskolnikov for the duration of his prison sentence. “On waking up he chanced to go to the window, and at once saw Sonia in the distance at the hospital gate. She seemed to be waiting for someone. Something stabbed him to the heart that minute. He shuddered and moved away from the window” (Dostoevsky 540). During time in the hospital, Raskilinikov impatiently waits for his love, Sonia’s arrival. This series of events shows the reader that Sonia is creating an impact towards Rasolnikov, almost warming his “cold heart”. Another climactic moment in the epilogue is when Sonya finally realizes that Raskolnikov truly loves her. When Raskolnikov falls to her knees in tears,
“How it happened he himself did not know, but suddenly it was as if something lifted him and flung him down at her feet. He wept and embraced her knees. For the first moment she was terribly frightened, and her whole face went numb. She jumped up and looked at him, trembling. But all at once, in that same moment, she understood everything. Infinite happiness lit up in her eyes; she understood, and for her there was no longer any doubt that he loved her, loved her infinitely, and that at last the moment had come . . . .”(Dostoevsky 541). The tears that Raskolnikov sheds represent his remorse over his sins and, perhaps, his joy in realizing that Sonya, the lone individual with whom he has enjoyed a meaningful relationship, loves him. It is only when he realizes that he truly cares for another person that Raskolnikov is finally able to break his alienation from humanity and begin to sincerely repent for his crimes. Without the Epilogue, the audience would be clueless to the fact that Raskolnikov truly loves Sonia and he is beginning to repent for his immoralities and understanding that there is no higher form of human. Everyone is human and every human must suffer certain consequences under certain actions. The epilogue structured in this novel, Crime and Punishment is crucial to the configuration of this novel. Many answers are yet to be answered in the length of the novel, without these desired answers the reader will be neglected to major aspects of this novel. They will not have the opportunity to see the true side of Raskolinikov, and how beautiful his relationship is with Sonia. Contrary to critics’ belief, the epilogue is an important part of any book. It is childish to believe that a reader can go through a novel with no questions as he or she is finished. In conclusion every part has a purpose and without the epilogue the book cannot be complete.

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