October 5, 2010

Book Review: Crime and Punishment

Title: Crime and Punishment
Author: Fyodor Dostoevsky
Publisher: Signet Classics (2006)
Pages: 534
Genre: Classic Russian Literature

"Early one evening, during an exceptional heat wave in the beginning of July, a young man walked out into the street from the closet-like room he rented on Stoliarny Place." (1st sentence in the book) This unimposing man is walking out into the street to commit a horrible crime, a crime which he believes to be morally acceptable. If Napoleon had committed a single crime in order to secure his position in the world so that he was able to liberate a nation, would he be morally permitted?

The majority of the story is the consequence of the crime and the effects that this crime has on Raskolnikov, the perpetrator. If he truly were a great man who will benefit society, then his crime should transgress human emotions and the law. He struggles with depression and paranoia to the point of physical deterioration. Is his theory of transgressing the law incorrect or his he not destined to be a great man?

The descriptions, the theories, the perspectives, the thought provocation, and the storyline all make this a great valuable read. Everything is justified to some degree. Even murder may have a supposed admirable motive behind it. It all depends on your perspective. It appears that nothing is black and white.