I’m about 90 pages away from finishing “Crime and Punishment” for the first time. I gotta say, I’ve definitely enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Both as thought-provoking, and as a story to engage. It’s not like an action-paced, can’t put it down type thriller. I definitely can’t read it after 10pm. And it’s hard to read a few pages at a time. The best times I had with the book are when I devoted an hour or two at a time to enter its’ pages.
You can find stuff all over the internet analyzing the contents of the book. The symbolism (or possible symbolism) runs deep, throughout every section of the book, whether intended or not. Themes of guilt, spirituality, mercy, grace, freedom, forgiveness, piety, “carrying a cross”, reason, etc. All you gotta do is check the stuff on Wikipedia to know it’s a pretty full book.
Raskolnikov has committed murder. Most of the book is told through his mind/life, describing the guilt in such ways that you almost sweat with/for the man. But one conversation about a paper he wrote before any of this happened stood out for me. About how a man might know if he’s destined for something great. Destined to bring/say something “new” into the world. He continually uses Napoleon as an illustration of such a man, saying whatever was necessary for Napoleon to become what he did, would’ve been justifiable.
If something “new” is to be brought, then what is old must die/pass on/be transformed. And whatever might stand in the way of that is to be dealt with as mere stepping stones, necessarily crossed towards greatness.
Perhaps this is why murder has taken place? 🙂 Most likely not, as “mere stepping stones” shouldn’t have the power to cause this much guilt in someone destined for greatness.
And then you discover Dostoevsky’s intentions for this to be a type of illustration to the public.
even when it’s done for the cause of greater good.
Probably still a pretty appropriate message for an age where politicians and business moguls alike are promising some sort of “secret knowledge” or “path” to a more Utopian society, if we are willing to sacrifice a certain type of life. (they usually don’t talk about what is sacrificed)
but they involve a different approach to death. (Romans 8:13).