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Crime and Punishment Literary Analysis

In: English and Literature

Submitted By zaza97
Words 498
Pages 2
Azaria Antoine
Mrs. Swan
AP English Literature and Composition

Throughout the ages people have wondered what the truth behind dreams are. Questions like, why do we dream? And what is the purpose and meaning of dreams? have often crossed people’s minds. Some psychologists believe that dreams allow us to be what we cannot be, and to say what we do not say, in our more repressed daily lives; others believe they are just ones imagination at work. Such ideas can be used to explain the dreams of Raskolnikov in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel, Crime and Punishment. Dostoyevsky’s use of imagery, symbolism and foreshadowing, in each Aspect of the dream reflect facets of Raskolnikov's complex personality and his attitude toward the crime he intends to commit.
In his dream, Raskolnikov imagines himself as a young boy with his father. As they were walking, they noticed a drunken man, Mikolka, and a group of his drunk friends beating his horse to death for failing to walk while pulling an overloaded cart. Many aspects of the dream served as a symbol. The beaten horse in the dream, symbolizes Alyona, who Raskolnikov had planned to murder, while the young boy, Raskolnikov, and Mikolka together symbolize both sides of Raskolnikov’s conflicting conscience. While the young raskolnikov was pained by the brutal treatment shown to the horse, Mikolka felt as if the horse was useless to him and that she wasn’t doing any good for society and the people around her, and therefore deserved to die. The young boy represents the soft side of Raskolnikov that knows the crime he plans to commit is wrong. On the other hand Mikolka represented the side of Raskolnikov that believed that Alyona’s death would be a benefit to society. This showed that Raskolnikov wasn’t sure of himself, and that although he felt his crime would be justified, part of him knew it was morally wrong.
Foreshadowing is also seen in the brutal way the horse was killed. Mikolka’s merciless beating of the mare is similar to the brutal attack Raskolnikov plans on the old woman. This foreshadowed the cold and brutal way in which he kills Alyona. Just like the horse, Raskolnikov mercilessly murders Alyona with an ax and even made an attempt to continue axing her. Raskolnikov’s guilt is also foreshadowed by the feelings of the young boy in his dreams, which symbolized his moral side. After committing the murder, he becomes paranoid to the point of illness. He often feels that someone has found out what he’s done, and only reacts to conversations about the murder. After some time he even develops the urge to confess his crime. Raskolnikov’s bothered conscience was foreshadowed in his dream. However he rejected his moral side and chose to go along with the murder plan.
An extensive use of imagery is also seen in Raskolnikov’s horse dream. In the dream, he “leaps up and flings himself on Mikolka, striking out in a frenzy with his fists”

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