Raskolnikov: Extraordinary or Just Ordinary?

Essay by Pie7775High School, 11th grade December 2004

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If you murder someone who only does wrong in the world, does that make you an extraordinary person or just a plain killer? This is one of the great debates in Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Raskolnikov is a poor man who lives in a poor, Russian society. He watches evil people have large sums of money and this makes him try to take the money back. Raskolnikov is basically Robin Hood in Russia, where he robs from the rich and gives to the poor. Only in the story the poor is he and he is not just robbing, but also killing the rich. Now Raskolnikov thinks he is doing a righteous act, but that is easily debatable.

Raskolnikov is not an extraordinary man. According to his description of an extraordinary man, "The only difference is that I don't contend that extraordinary people are always bound to commit breaches of morals, as you call it.

In fact, I doubt whether such an argument could be published. I simply hinted that an extraordinary man has the right...that is not an official right, but an inner right to decide in his own conscience to overstep...certain obstacles, and only in case it is essential for the practical fulfillment of his idea (sometimes, perhaps, of benefit to the whole of humanity)."(Dostoevsky 242) Now this is what Raskolnikov states an extraordinary man is, but he did something that is completely different than that. He murdered Lizaveta for her money so he could attend a school and make a better life for himself. When asked by Sonia why he did it he gives her many different reasons such as the whole I'm like Napoleon theory and that he wanted money. The first reason when asked is, "Oh, well- to plunder. Leave off, Sonia."(Dostoevsky...