Raskolnikov’s Desire for Confession and Punishment

Reyyan Bal


Much criticism about Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment has focused on the variety and ambivalence of Raskolnikov’s motives for committing the crime or transgression of the title. Sergei Hackel, in his article “Raskolnikov through the Looking-Glass: Dostoevsky and Camus’s L’Etranger”, sums up the various motives that have been discussed in relation to Raskolnikov’s crime as follows: In fact, it is the multiplicity of possible motives that makes Raskolnikov so convincing a presence. Was he seeking money to help his family? Or simply seeking money? Was he putting his concept of the Napoleonic superman to the test? Or killing to relieve the tension created by introspection in his claustrophobic room? Was he mentally or physically ill? Tempted by Satan? Was he expressing his resentment against society? Or attempting to bridge the gulf between society and himself by attracting the former's attention? Or by killing, and thus utterly possessing, one of society's representatives? Or seeking punishment to allay some subconscious guilt? Indulging a will to suffer? (196)

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21533/epiphany.v2i1.17


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