Crime and Punishment

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maz89
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Crime and Punishment

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For people who've read Dostoevsky's novel, how did you feel about that epilogue? Huge spoilers, if you intend to ever read this classic.

For me, the change of heart came out of nowhere, felt slapped on to appease audiences looking for a happy ending. Sofya's love was suddenly able to pull Raskolnikov out of his diseased mind? I'm all for the rehabilitative power of pure love but this is Raskolnikov we're talking about: the guy who killed just because he wanted to know he could, just because he fancied he was extraordinary and therefore had the right. He's the guy who refused to accept the punishment because he didn't even believe it was a crime. For him, his only crime was that he got caught. And while his relationship with Sofya is well developed over the course of the novel, it truly felt like his mindset was beyond repair - even when he admitted his crime to the police at the end just for the sake of Sofya.

Maybe the epilogue was simply confirmation that, despite his theory, Raskolnikov was not a Napoleon after all and that was why he was able to be saved by love. But then I still don't think the ending chapter holds up to the rest of the book. Am I missing something?
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Raxivace
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Re: Crime and Punishment

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maz89 wrote: Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:15 am For people who've read Dostoevsky's novel, how did you feel about that epilogue? Huge spoilers, if you intend to ever read this classic.
I finished reading this earlier today.

I don't think ending came out nowhere exactly, because after having read a bit about Dosotevsky it doesn't seem that surprising that after criticizing a materialist worldview, "Western philosophy", them dang atheists, socialism etc. in most of the rest of the novel, that he would instead put forth idealistic Christianity as an alternative. That being said on a purely dramatic level I don't find the shift for Raskolnikov very convincing either. On a philosophical level I don't think Dostoevsky really wrestles very heavily with his own idealistic worldview- like supposedly a belief in Jesus is what will keep people from becoming Raskolnikovs that murder others. Does he honestly think that a belief in Christ hasn't inspired or justified countless murders and deaths too? Like I'd love to know what he thought of something like the Salem Witch Trials.

I'm not even saying there isn't a good response to that criticism either, but it just seems like obvious criticism to argument that religion will prevent social ills like murder.
Last edited by Raxivace on Thu Jan 13, 2022 3:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"[Cinema] is a labyrinth with a treacherous resemblance to reality." - Andrew Sarris
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Raxivace
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Re: Crime and Punishment

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In general I think I have a lot more respect for Dostoevsky the social realist novelist than I do Dostoevsky the moral philosopher and Christian apologist, and they kind of feel at war to me in the novel.

Like he's at his strongest in this book when he's exploring the conflict between Theory and reality (And I think there's always something to be said for this conflict in general. The difference between our ability to understand and represent and define and criticize and improve reality and what reality itself might actually be), but when Dostoevsky actually advocates a replacement for the Theory he criticized like in C&P's epilogue things just get kind of silly.
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maz89
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Re: Crime and Punishment

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Sorry for getting back to this so late, but that's interesting, the idea that Dosteovsky was going for a Christian redemption at the end. I didn't pick up on it but that's maybe because I didn't take a step back and look at the themes with a wider lens (or read up on Dosteovsky and his beliefs, in general).
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Raxivace
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Re: Crime and Punishment

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Yeah apparently everything with Raskolnikov in prison and such at the end and him finding Jesus is based pretty directly on Dostoevsky's own life.



^This is a kind of neat animation that talks about it somewhat. I think the intro or explanatory notes to my copy of C&P also goes into it, or maybe some article or something I had read about it.
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maz89
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Re: Crime and Punishment

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Nice video. Didn't know C&P was a product of Dostoevsky's disillusionment with social reform, and his connection to spirituality.
"Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose"
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