Raskolnikov vs. Svidrigailov In his book Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky explores the paths of two men, Raskolnikov and Svidrigailov. These two men encompass many similar problems and obstacles throughout their lives. Both commit murders and are faced with the long and mentally excruciating journey of seeking redemption. They also share many characteristics of their personalities. The reason that the outcomes of their lives are so drastically different is due to the fact that they have completely different perspectives on life.
Raskolnikov is obsessed with his “superman theory.” He is constantly trying to prove that he is part of the 10% of extraordinary people in the world. He wants to become an eminent figure such as Napoleon. At first he believed that the murders he committed would make him part of this elite class. Once he realized that he had made mistakes during the crime he began to question his theory. After much frustration he decided to go to the scene of the crime. This gave him a rush that made him feel invincible.
He believed that this would prove if, or if not he was “super.” Once he realized that he wasn’t part of this class, he suffered a mental breakdown. This pushed him to confess his crime to Sonya. She helped him rationalize his crime and admit his guilt. The outcome of this conversation was that it helped him admit his fate. Svidrigailov contains many similar traits of that of a “superman.” Due to his egocentricity, he commits his crimes without any signs of remorse.
Crime and Punishment consists of many people who have committed distinct crimes, and all of them have served their punishments in one way or another. Raskolnikov was one of the main characters in the novel. Raskolnikov had committed the crime of a premeditated murder. Svidrigailov, on the other hand, did things because they made him feel good. Svidrigailov's biggest crime was falling in love with ...
Throughout the novel he is constantly self involved. His beliefs on the female race are strange for his time but reflect his personality quite well. He believes that women love humiliation and surprisingly still expects to win Dunya’s love. When she rejects him he breaks down and kills himself.
He couldn’t rationalize his wrongdoings and therefore couldn’t internally admit his guilt. Both Raskolnikov and Svidrigailov are headed down the same path throughout the novel. They share the same goal of redemption and equal inevitability of their failure. Dunya was the same objective to Svidrigailov as the superman theory to Raskolnikov. When either was faced with the failure of reaching their goal, they suffered a massive psychological breakdown. Their different perspectives on life drove them to choose different outcomes of their journeys.
Svidrigailov would have rather died than spent life in prison. He was very egotistical and didn’t like to admit he was wrong, therefore he decided to commit suicide. This trait would be found in most super humans. Raskolnikov on the other hand, strived on comfort and aesthetics. As soon as Sonya began to comfort him, he easily gave in to her ideas and rationalized the next steps of his life.
Throughout the novel, both characters were faced with the dilemma of guilt. They both denied it for a while, and hurt others in doing so. Every human being has an image in their mind of the personality they would like to have. Svidrigailov portrayed this image in Raskolnikov’s mind. When Raskolnikov began to feel guilt, he realized he wasn’t super. Once he got to know Svidrigailov, he began to envy several of his traits.
In the end Raskolnikov rejoined society due to the fact that he was able to admit his guilt and rationalize his mistakes. The fact that he did rejoin society proves that he was no superman at all.