Some Final Thoughts on Crime and Punishment

Submitted by Jack L. Seaver on Tuesday, 10/20/2009, at 1:52 AM

One of the things I kept returning to while reading Crime and Punishment was that Raskolnikov's motive for murdering the pawnbroker was never really explained. While we get a great deal of insight into Raskolnikov's state of mind just prior and in the period after the murder, we still don't get an explicit reason for why he committed such a brutal crime (I don't trust Raskolnikov's after the fact explanations). The only reason we do get, is the visitation of an unexplainable urge upon Raskolnikov, a dark passenger which drives him to kill. This may not seem like much, but I do believe there is a reason that the motive lies mostly unexplained.

Throughout the novel, Raskolnikov disparages the rational egoism and "progressive thinking" of men like Luzhin. These men are suppoesd to carry the banner for an enlightened age, moving past the romanticism and backward thinking of the past. Raskolnikov's motive for murder is the exact opposite of this. It is a primordial urge, savage and animalistic, that contains no elements of rationalism or reasoned thought. Someone mentioned in class that they thought Raskolnikov killed because he felt oppressed by poverty. While I think poverty played a role in Raskolnikov's fragile mental state, his urge to murder came from somewhere deeper. I think the murder was Raskolnikov, himself formerly a student of an "enlightened" university, rebelling against these new philosophies. He cast aside his rational self in favor of the savage, sadistic animal that lay within him, and which he had always been taught to suppress. The motive lies unexplained because, ultimately, the element of Raskolnikov that drove him to kill cannot be explained, it simply exists. Neither the narrator, nor Raskolnikov, nor the reader is capable of understanding it, and so, unexplained, it hangs over the entire story.

In Notes from Underground the narrator dedicates the whole first section towards a critique of rationalism, and juxtaposes a romantic view of life as preferable to it. If this idea carries over to Crime and Punishment, then Dostoyevsky is, in a way, praising the murder as a justifiable reaction to rational egoism. This confused me. I never thought, while reading, that Dostoyevsky was calling the murder justified, and the disintegration of Raskolnikov's life seems to support this. Yet, once I thought through my other line of thinking, it led me to this point. I'm really not sure what to do with this contradiction, and perhaps this is a final paradox Dostoyevsky intends us to leave with.

The Guillotine and Social Critique

Submitted by Susannah E. Rudel on Monday, 10/19/2009, at 11:48 PM

I found the Prince’s perspective on the guillotine, on the idea of what happens to a man when he is certain he is going to die, particularly interesting in Part I of The Idiot.  I also found it odd that he chooses to share all of these thoughts with General Epanchin’s valet who he has just met.  The Prince feels it is far worse to die knowing that you are going to die, than to be tortured to death or killed in other ways, because there is no hope of survival; “But here all this last hope, which makes it ten times easier to die, is taken away for certain; here there’s the sentence, and the whole torment lies in the certainty that there’s no escape, and there’s no greater torment in the world than that” (23).  According to the Prince, it is the torment of knowing for certain that soon your life will end, perhaps even being able to hear the blade begin to fall, that is more torturous than any other way of dying, and he seems to think that such torment is inappropriate to inflict on a man; he says, “No, you can’t treat a man like that!” (23).  This comment appears to me as a critique of the use of the guillotine as inhumane, but it is a critique of French society because that is where the Prince saw the guillotine used.  The works of Dostoevsky that we have read have included a great deal of critique of the social and penal systems in Russia, but here his character is criticizing the culture Russians at the time sought in many ways to emulate.  In this case, an aspect of Russian society appears as superior to that of France, since the Prince says that unlike in France, there is no capital punishment in Russia (unless I am misreading the text) (22).  Thus, I was reminded of “Winter Notes on Summer Impressions,” because we saw Dostoevsky’s critique of the French there as well, although with respect to the hypocrisy of the French in espousing conflicting ideals of brotherhood and individualism, rather than to punishment. 

 This is unrelated, but I am confused about what happens to Nastasya at the end of Part I, as she seems to go mad, to make her change her mind about marrying the Prince.  Why does she decide to leave with Rogozhin instead?

Dostoevsky the Prophet

Submitted by Brigitte C. Morency on Monday, 10/19/2009, at 11:21 PM

The way I see it, Dostoevsky can add one more title to his already impressive repetoire: prophet. Not only did he accurately gague the times in which he lived, but he also managed to project the path on which society was headed. Raskolnikov's dream at the end of the novel appears to be a prediction of the 20th century. He dreams of a future where some illness has distorted men's minds to the point where they stop relating to one another. Everyone thinks he is independently intelligent, and refuses to communicate. Wars break out and soldiers fight to the death over nothing. Famine breaks out, and all but the chosen few perish.

Granted, Dostoevsky didn't predict EVERYTHING that would happen in the 20th century, but he realized that the emerging intellectual elitism and rational egoism of the 19th century would bring future generations to ruin. Considering the fact that we are here now proves the falisty of Dostoevsky's beliefs. Yet at the same time, I can't help but respect this man's foresight and genius.




Also, I wish I could have his babies.


Submitted by Victoria E. Gauthier on Sunday, 10/18/2009, at 10:14 PM

This is my second time reading Crime and Punishment, and I'm still slightly annoyed by the epilogue.  I understand its purpose moreso now ("soft didacticism" is a great descriptor) BUT I'm still stuck, perhaps in my own cynicism.  At the same time, I hate nitpicking (I might as well be saying "Gee Picasso, could you straighten out that face for me a little bit? I'd like it to be more realistic") and I find myself wondering why exactly the epilogue feels so wrong.

Mostly, I take issue with Raskolnikov's courtroom confession and his ultimate "resurrection through love" with Sonya.  The end of Part 6 leaves the reader wanting so much more, which the Epilogue doesn't really deliver satisfactorily.  After the hundreds of pages of mental pacing and anguish, we're only given this abrupt and uncharacteristically CLEAR confession.  It's so inconsistent with the at times unbearable internal struggle that we as readers were previously subjected to.  Even the narrator states that "there was something crude about it all..." (536). 

Also, where were Razumikhin's fantastically heroic tales of the old Raskolnikov earlier in the novel?  I can't help but feeling really forced into this abrupt character change, even though I know that it's necessary. 

Maybe I'm just put off by the cheese factor and the intense religious symbolism about rebirth and resurrection (the Gospels, his illness during Holy Week, Sonya's perpetual Christlike self-sacrifice, suffering, the the love that she and Raskolnikov share, which is more like the early christian concept of agape than anything). Does anything actually change? Even after his courtroom confession, we have to deal with the same old annoying Raskolnikov, dwelling  on his personal blunders, going back and forth between what was his actual crime, etc...Then he looks out of his hospital window, sees Sonya, and realizes he's loved? Just like that?

Gypsum mine knee kissin' resurrection.

That's it?

Blood and Symbolism in Crime and Punishment

Submitted by Muddasir M. Ayaz on Sunday, 10/18/2009, at 11:36 AM

Returning to the scene of the crime (since the crime is what allows for the rest of the novel to take place), I remembered how while reading it, the scene with the bloody sock that could not be washed was remarkably reminiscent of Lady Macbeth and her inability to wash the blood from her hands in Macbeth. Going back, I noticed that the first thing Raskolnikov actually steals after killing his landlady is a purse on her chest with crosses on it. The fact that Dostoevsky could have had Raskolnikov steal anything from the old lady first, but chooses to place the focus on a cross-bearing purse seems significant. The role of the cross here, seems indicative of Raskolnikov's abandonment of the spiritual, and he is actually unable to repent until he recieves the wooden cross from Sonya later in the book, as though to suggest that the cross itself was symbolic of the unrepentant soul waiting for the opportunity for grace from above. Raskolnikov also deals with blood in a rather strange way. He first attempts to wipe blood onto red silk, believing that it would not be noticeable, but all of the blood on his clothes ends up buried somewhere.  Raskolnikov seems more concerned with the blood that has been left on his garments than the money itself. I wonder if that works to Dostoevsky's advantage, because the emphasis on blood allows him to turn the crime into an opportunity for spiritual growth. Blood reappears in the novel (e.g., in Katerina Ivanovna's death) but is surprisingly not mentioned with respect to Svidrigailov's suicide. If blood were a signifier of  repentance or spiritual progress of some form, would it then suggest that Svidrigailov never repented? If so, what would be said of his understanding that he was a being uncapable of love?

Ordinary and the Extraordinary

Submitted by Daeyeong Kim on Friday, 10/16/2009, at 7:03 PM

The initial encounter between Raskolnikov and Porfiry regarding the distinction between an ordinary and extraordinary man intrigued me a lot. Raskolnikov holds a sort of utilitarian view of the world in terms of happiness. If one old lady who makes everyone miserable can be eliminated (and her wealth, theoretically distributed to those who actually need it, instead of a remote monastery), it is the "duty" of the extraordinary to carry out the elimination. His rationalization is based on two things: first, that the old woman's death itself will have negligible negative impact on the world; and two, that her death will bring happiness to many, because she is the source of misery to many people. Before carrying out his murder scheme, he overhears people complaining about Ivanovna and how the world would be much better if she weren't alive. This mode of utilitarian thinking is clearly the basis of his academic article as well. It follows that he believes himself to be part of the "Extraordinary." Raskolnikov vehemently denies this as he states, "that I do not consider myself a Muhammad or a Napoleon ... or any such person whatsoever, and am consequently unable, not being them, to give you a satisfactory explanation of how I would act" (265). I very much liked Porfiry's wry reply: "But, my goodness, who in our Russia nowadays doesn't consider himself a Napoleon?" (265). Although said in jest, there is perhaps some truth in this statement; rational egoism is based on principles of self-interest, individuality, etc and ultimately leads to self-importance, self-aggrandizement. Perhaps this is Dostoevsky again criticizing the 19th century enlightened man, who thinks he is so great because his enlightened mind will only lead to rational, productive acts. Pointing to Raskolnikov's constant paranoia and mental instability, Dostoevsky seems to think otherwise.

Sin, Death, and Dostoevsky

Submitted by Hannah M. Gais on Friday, 10/16/2009, at 5:43 PM

Raskolnikov's rapid decline into insanity and despair throughout Crime and Punishment is one of the most interesting things in the text.  That is, throughout the novel we see the effects of his murder take over his life, whether these are the physical effects, the guilt, or the fear of being caught and what being caught would do to his family.  Either way, Raskolnikov -- unlike some of the other "evil" characters like Svidrigailov -- acts as a perfect example the effects of immoral actions on the individual and his well-being.  Provided Dostoevsky's Christian background, we can think back to one of the Bible passages that I think is quite relivant here: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).  So what does this mean in the context of Crime and Punishment?  "Death" when used in the New Testament not only refers to physical death but also the "death" of the soul.  Life, thus, refers to the biological state of living as well as one's "life" in Christ.  According to many orthodox Christians, the effect of sin being brought into the world was indeed physical death, which is intimately connected to spiritual death as well.  What we see, thus, in Crime and Punishment is the rapid decline of Raskolnikov into a state of spiritual death that ends -- or at least ceases to become worse -- with his public repentance.  Thus, Dostoevsky seems to be using Raskolnikov as a representation of an age-old idea within the Orthodox Church.

Overlooking "Crime and Punishment"

Submitted by Elyse J. Yarmosky on Thursday, 10/15/2009, at 7:48 PM

First of all, I guess I was a little intimidated by the amount of insightful thought-power happening on this blog. Oops.


Second of all, a little anecdote: This is my second time reading Crime and Punishment. The first time, I was seventeen, a senior in high school, and concurrently reading The Brothers Karamazov for a philosophy class which I still consider the sole reason I'm a philosophy major and, I guess more importantly, an atheist. I was so entrenched in The Brothers Karamazov that I was bored by, even annoyed by, the distraction that was Crime and Punishment. Yes, I judged without reason. I mostly just glossed over it, anxious to get back to the wicked indulgence I felt when reading the Grand Inquisitor. To me, The Brothers Karamazov was my heart and soul, and Crime and Punishment was merely an afterthought.

Well, three years later, I am so grateful for the opportunity to reread this book because I feel like I've discovered treasure where once I only saw a patch of dirt. I never could have imagined the rich intricacy of this book, or that it would blow my mind and send my convictions topsy-turvy just like The Brothers K once did.

I was telling a friend today that I think the real magic of a truly talented author is the ability to take an event, a moment, an instant--however mundane or however life-altering--and be able to coax out of its implications a treatise on life, philosophy, morality. In other words, the ability to make a mountain out of a molehill, for a good purpose. Here, Dostoevsky takes the murder of a pawnbroker and her sister (by no means a molehill in context, but relatively so) and creates an intimate, dangerously intoxicating story that leaves the reader feeling sympathy towards, maybe even some respect for, or at least aligned with the perspective of, the murderer. Parallel lives, prostitutes, depravity, sexual passion, reason and rationality--these are all layers that emerge from and simultaneously shed light on what was simply a passing event. This is the true magic of Dostoevsky.

I am excited to see what a second reading of The Brothers Karamazov will reveal for me, and I guess if I've learned one thing, it's that I shouldn't judge a book on the first read (or, in my case, glance), no matter how desparate I am to get the hell out of high school.


Submitted by Genelle L. Diaz-Silveira on Thursday, 10/15/2009, at 9:08 AM


Raskolnokov is an almost fatalist, an almost Freudian, an almost new thinker. He almost embraces all of these ideologies but falls short in favor of indecision. It is not just that Raskolnikov's conviction and punishment were inevitable that led him to destruction, but also that he accepted these things as such. His psychology is not just one of paranoia but one of extreme malleability. The fact that he is pushed to action by a series of chance occurrences demonstrates the caprice with which he operates. Too many times he is plagued by a "cynicism of perdition" leading him to surrender all concern, then to inevitably become concerned anew with an almost damning fear of getting caught.

Although his actions are incredibly contingent on externalities, however,  it was his inability to relate to the world that laid the foundation for his murder. His prolonged period of  physical and mental isolation effectively rid him of a functioning understanding of the world. He consistently mulls over several permutations of the same problem or action in his head, coming to many conclusions and repeatedly cycling through them. After the murder, for example, and even during it, he thinks himself both clever and utterly foolish. He scolds himself for forgetting to get rid of the sock and other bloodied items, and for forgetting the loop in his coat, while praising himself for later finding a hiding spot for these things. And in the midst of all this paranoia, he resigns to that "cynicism of perdition" and leaves his door wide open while he goes to do this. He no longer knows how the things around him relate to him and is left to function in isolation despite the fact that he is now constantly surrounded by people. The "emptiness and estrangement" that rose in his soul after the murder forever severed any tie he could have had with the outside world.

Anticipating Freud

Submitted by Jeffrey A. Tucker on Thursday, 10/15/2009, at 3:51 AM

In Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky lampoons the empirical interpreters of human behavior, who are so quick to assume that all choices are guided by social and unconscious pressures. Ironically, these pre-Freudians resemble nothing so much in D's conception as early Calvinists: their deterministic explanations for the world are so adaptable to any kind of evidence that they in fact represent the interpretation of no evidence whatsoever. Just as a Freudian can craft any story to explain a dream after the fact to suit their theory, so can the "rationalist" observers to Raskolnikov's trial piece together the evidence to show it as an open and shut case of temporary insanity. The fact that he threw away the purse without examining its contents delights them and makes their case; the fact that he insisted he was motivated in large part by his need for money is an annoying contradiction, unless it can be written off as another way in which his social conditions made him do it. Hilariously, Porfiry Petrovich at different times explains to Raskolnikov why he could not possibly be the murderer, as a consequence of the psychological conclusions Petrovich had drawn from their conversations (the murderer would not possibly talk with the investigator in such-and-such a way, etc.).

On the other hand, there is in fact a maddening inevitability to Raskolnikov's conviction and punishment. His all-encompassing paranoia and fear of having been caught leads him over and over again to flirt with giving himself away, practically from the moment he commits the crime. In fact it seems precisely as if his psychology has doomed him, and even before that, the conversations he overheard (first about the righteousness of murdering the widow and then about Lizaveta's absence from six to seven) seem in retrospect, to him, to have given him no choice but to carry out the crime. As he reflects, Raskolnikov strives to be a great man, a Napoleon, but is doomed to fail from the start.

Raskolnikov and the Enlightenment

Submitted by Richard S. Hevier on Thursday, 10/15/2009, at 12:43 AM

Raskolnikov is, in many ways, a personification of Dostoevsky’s discussion of the enlightenment.  He is unpredictable, and at times, one can guess what he may do by simply discerning what is the least sensible.  That is not to say he does not calculate, but he calculates abstractly and whimsically.  He decides to go drinking when he is ill, and on page 156, the narrator points out that he would linger around the more grotesque Petersburg streets just to make his sick heart “‘all the more sickening.’”  Like the underground man, he not only lashes out at people that mean well but relishes in his choosing hardship.

 Paradoxically, Raskolnikov does his utmost to help the family of the dying drunkard.  He points to his friendship, but even so, it was quite the extraordinary effort.  He not only surrendered all of his money to the cause, but miraculously remained disturbingly poised during the whole endeavor.  It is in this section (7) of Part II that I believe Dostoevsky pours forth a great deal of his romanticism, because it is an inexplicable and beautiful rendition of a disturbed man.  Raskolnikov, hardly capable of retaining any bit of sanity aids in the (as peaceful as could be) death of man whose name was not known in the street and was rejected by his wife.  The scene where he asks the child to pray for him expounds on the religious aspect to this romanticism; there is something mysterious and otherworldly in his reasons.  I think that his crime and this episode exemplify Raskolnikov’s innermost need to express his freedom, a freedom that Dostoevsky illuminated in House of the Dead very clearly.

 I find page 186 symbolic of the good and evil Raskolnikov has wrought and emerged from with blood on his hands.  When Fomich sees him exiting the drunkard’s apartment, he comments on his blood-soaked countenance, to which Raskolnikov responds: “Soaked, yes…I’ve got blood all over me!”  I think that he relishes in this blood because he truly wants to be found out and to be “all over” with it, but more importantly, it juxtaposes with circumstances of his first blood-stained adventure—the murder.  Here, Dostoevsky delves into the conflicting nature of man, which is the main reason in Notes for his rejecting the enlightenment formula.

The Romanticist-Rationalist Duel Continues

Submitted by Eva M. Becker on Wednesday, 10/14/2009, at 11:00 PM

In a book that would be difficult to consider beach reading, The Fifth Chapter in Part II offers  a momentary comic relief through a cleverly crafted criticism of enlightened rationalism, in which romanticism, represented by Ramuzhin, lampoons rationalism, played by Mr. Luzhin. After reading works such as Winter Notes on Summer Impressions and Notes from the Underground and understanding the critique that Dostoevsky makes apropos of the irreconcilable ideals of "progress" and human nature, more subtle ways in which his argument is presented, as is the case here, offer not only momentary comic relief, but a deeper understanding of the text itself.

However, not only is the conversation between Mr. Luzhin and Ramuzhikin a way for Dostoevsky to present his critique, but the very appearance of Luzhin and his interactions with the others in the room. For example, Mr. Luzhin, before saying a word to anybody, is rather strikingly poked fun at for his attire, which show that he is very self-conscious and concerned of making a good impression. Later, Ramuzhikin subtly, yet hilariously, continues to nettle him, as when he casually makes the remarks about the “frightful hole” that is the Bekaleyev house where Luzhin has just temporarily set up Dunya and her mother. Ramuzhikin then responds to Luzhin’s inquiry of “the latest ideas,” telling him that “there’s no practical attitude to life at all. Nevertheless, Luzhin tries again, arguing, “our literature is getting more mature; many harmful prejudices have been eradicated” and that “there exists such a thing as success, or, as it is called now, progress…” to which Ramuzhikin laconically, and powerfully, rebukes him, calling all of Luzhin’s ideas platitudinous. In effect, this brief scene is worth noting for observing all the different ways in Dostoevsky presents his philosophical arguments, ranging from the hard didacticism of Winter Notes and Underground to the soft didacticism present in such scenes as these in Crime and Punishment.

The "Great Man Theory"

Submitted by Susannah E. Rudel on Wednesday, 10/14/2009, at 10:30 PM

First, while this is not particularly important, I’m curious why Dostoevsky constantly switches the names he uses to refer to his characters?  Why do all of these characters have so many names?

Second, I was intrigued by our discussion of the “Great Man Theory” in class the other day and paid particular attention to mentions of that while finishing the novel.  Rather than killing for money or for the greater good, Raskolnikov says that he committed murder for himself, essentially in order to find out if he is a “great man,” and thus has the right to take power and kill; “…whether I was a louse like all the rest, or a man?  Would I be able to step over or not?  Would I dare to reach down and take, or not?  Am I trembling creature, or do I have the right…” (419).  Because Raskolnikov made so many mistakes in the murder, he concludes that he is not a “great man.”  Dostoevsky uses the idea of “stepping over” repeatedly in writing about this theory, including when Svidrigailov gives his account of Raskolnikov’s theory to Dunya and says that geniuses are able to commit evil without hesitation, they are able to “step over” the evil, but Raskolnikov is clearly not a man of genius because of his errors (491).  It is interesting that although Raskolnikov seems adamant in his conviction that the murder was planned rationally and that he did it to prove himself, he makes no attempt to defend himself while on trial or explain his theory.  I’m not sure what to make of this discrepancy, especially because at the point of his trial he has not repented for his crime, and even believes while in prison that his crime was confessing.  In fact, he seems to believe that had he not confessed, he would have been right in committing murder; “But those men [“great men”] endured their steps, and therefore they were right, while I did not endure, and so I had no right to permit myself that step” (544). 

What About Sonya?

Submitted by Danielle M. Morrissette on Tuesday, 10/13/2009, at 10:11 PM

One thing that keeps coming to my mind when I read the parts of the novel about Sonya is that she is a completely unrealistic character. While she certainly has more complexity to her within the prostitute archetype (i.e. the sullied dove with the heart of gold), I still find her character not entirely believable. She starts off as a prostitute because of guilt, which was in part due to her step-mother, and because of the need for someone to support her ex-civil servant, lag-about alcoholic father, her consumptive ill-tempered step-mother, plus all of her half brothers and sisters. I just find it incredibly hard to believe that a person as quiet, as meek, as   naive as Sonya could have survived very long at all in the violent underworld of nineteenth-century St. Petersburg. That's the first thing. The second thing is her ability to continue to support her father's family, despite the fact that it's his weakness of character and self-loathing that keeps her in her terrible position of doing a job that degrades her gentle spirit on a daily basis. And once he dies, she's stuck worrying about how her siblings will survive once the inevitable happens to her stepmother.

Sonya, in my estimation, is just not that strong of a character who would be able to continue like that for so long. Her unshaken faith in humanity is another startling aspect of her character. Despite the fact the Raskolnikov has been an incredibly unstable and capricious man, she agrees to help him with his redemption, first in the market place at Sadovaya, and then to the wilds of Siberia where he's serving time. What happened with her half-brothers and sisters that she was so concerned about? There just seems to be many holes where her story is concerned as well as with the development of her character in general. 


More on Nietzsche

Submitted by Samuel T. Aden on Tuesday, 10/13/2009, at 1:01 PM

I think there is an extremely pretentious parallel we can draw between the dream-sequence scene in Crime and Punishment where the mare is flogged to death, and the anecdote describing Nietzsche's final breach of sanity where he supposedly attempts to rescue a horse being excessively whipped by flinging his arms around its neck. I say 'anecdote' since regardless of whether it actually happened or not, it is what is remembered by modern culture as representative of one historical figure's departure from any conventional relationship with reality. This could be taken in many directions. Thank god this is a blog and not an essay so I just can list a few.

There is an obvious inheritance that is recieved by Nietzsche from Dostoevsky's work that has been definitively outlined and summarized by Corina.

Also, Raskolnikov's tendancy to traverse the boundary between insanity (with his strange sickness, frantic episodes, and generally Golyadkin-esque behavior) and cunning (in the irrevocable relationship between his intentions and methodologies, however eccentric) is perhaps only resultant from his immersion in truly 'real' events (Petersburg society, poverty, murder). He was not locked up in an asylum following any of his psychological crises, as was the case with Nietzsche; though this may only prove that insanity is a totally false perception and Dostoevsky's mere ability to characterize the compulsions and identities of these Golyadkins and Raskolnikovs makes the whole quesiton of sanity look like a complicated, yet simply misunderstood crisis in subjectivity. The trouble with this whole investigation is that Nietzsche is not fiction, and Dostoevsky is (not even realism on some levels). Also, where Golyadkin and Raskolnikov may suffer from a literarily constructed psychological disease, Nietzsche had syphilis.

To remedy the problem of fiction, we might assume that the 'anecdote' is a historical fiction constructed by modern culture to develop a certain relationship to Nietzsche's philosophical tradition. Dostoevsky would here be helpful to us in attempting to recognize the nature of the constructed fiction itself, as in the case of Raskolnikov's dream in Crime and Punishment, it is a psychological exploration of precisely those events. As Dostoevsky's work is something of  a collection of cultural artifacts (in precisely being 'modern' cultural representations of Russian society) it therefore would effect the construction of contemporary's culture's intentions in developing this particular fiction of Nietzsche's psychological breakdown.