To this art it is owing, that the atrocious crimes of our ancestors, who were alternately slaves and tyrants, are become less frequent. Those who are acquainted with the history of the two or three last centuries, may observe, how from the lap of luxury and effeminacy have sprung the most tender virtues, humanity, benevolence, and toleration of human errors. They may contemplate the effects of, what was so improperly called, ancient simplicity and good faith; humanity groaning under implacable superstition; the avarice and ambition of a few, staining with Edition: We may talk as we please of the corruption and degeneracy of the present age, but happily we see no such horrid examples of cruelty and oppression.
It is not only the common interest of mankind that crimes should not be committed, but that crimes of every kind should be less frequent, in proportion to the evil they produce to society Therefore, the means made use of by the legislature to prevent crimes, should be more powerful, in proportion as they are destructive of the public safety and happiness, and as the inducements to commit them are stronger.
It is impossible to prevent entirely all the disorders which the passions of mankind cause in society. These disorders increase in proportion to the number of people, and the opposition of private interests.
If we consult history, we shall find them increasing, in every state, with the extent of dominion. In political arithmetic, it is necessary to substitute a calculation of probabilities to mathematical exactness.
That force which continually impels us to our own private interest, like gravity, acts incessantly, unless it meets with an obstacle to oppose it.
The effects of this force are the confused series of human actions. Punishments, which I would call political obstacles, prevent the fatal effects of private interest, without destroying the impelling cause, which is that sensibility inseparable from man. The legislator acts, in this case, like a skilful architect, who endeavours to counteract the force of gravity by combining the circumstances which may contribute to the strength of his edifice. The necessity of uniting in society being granted, together with the conventions, which the opposite interests of individuals must necessarily require, a scale of crimes may be formed, Edition: Between these extremes will be comprehended, all actions contrary to the public good, which are called criminal, and which descend by insensible degrees, decreasing from the highest to the lowest.
If mathematical calculation could be applied to the obscure and infinite combinations of human actions, there might be a corresponding scale of punishments, descending from the greatest to the least; but it will be sufficient that the wise legislator mark the principal divisions, without disturbing the order, lest to crimes of the first degree, be assigned punishments of the last.
If there were an exact and universal scale of crimes and punishments, we should then have a common measure of the degree of liberty and slavery, humanity and cruelty, of different nations. Any action, which is not comprehended in the above mentioned scale, will not be called a crime, or punished as such, except by those who have an interest in the denomination. The uncertainty of the extreme points of this scale, hath produced a system of morality which contradicts the laws; Edition: Hence that fatal lethargy of political bodies, which terminates in their destruction.
Whoever reads, with a philosophic eye, the history of nations, and their laws, will generally find, that the ideas of virtue and vice, of a good or a bad citizen, change with the revolution of ages; not in proportion to the alteration of circumstances, and consequently conformable to the common good; but in proportion to the passions and errors by which the different lawgivers were successively influenced.
He will frequently observe, that the passions and vices of one age, are the foundation of the morality of the following; that violent passion, the offspring of fanaticism and enthusiasm, being weakened by time, which reduces all the phenomena of the natural and moral world to an equality, become, by degrees, the prudence of the age, and an useful instrument in the hands of the powerful or artful politician.
Hence the uncertainty of our notions of honour and virtue; an uncertainty which will ever remain, because they change with the revolutions of time, Edition: Pleasure and pain are the only springs of action in beings endowed with sensibility. Even among the motives which incite men to acts of religion, the invisible Legislator has ordained rewards and punishments. From a partial distribution of these will arise that contradiction, so little observed, because so common; I mean, that of punishing by the laws the crimes which the laws have occasioned.
If an equal punishment be ordained for two crimes that injure society in different degrees, there is nothing to deter men from committing the greater, as often as it is attended with greater advantage. The foregoing reflections authorise me to assert, that crimes are only to be measured by the injury done to society.
They err, therefore, who imagine that a crime is greater, or less, according to the intention of the person by whom it is committed; for this will depend on the actual impression of objects on the senses, and on the previous disposition of the mind; both which will vary in different persons, and even in the same person at different times, according to the succession of ideas, passions, and circumstances. Upon that system, it would be necessary to form, not only a particular code for every individual, but a new penal law for every crime.
Men, often with the best intention, do the greatest injury to society, and with the worst, do it the most essential services. Others have estimated crimes rather by the dignity of the person offended, than by their consequences to society.
If this were the true standard, Edition: In short, others have imagined, that the greatness of the sin should aggravate the crime. But the fallacy of this opinion will appear on the slightest consideration of the relations between man and man, and between God and man. The relations between man and man are relations of equality. Necessity alone hath produced, from the opposition of private passions and interests, the idea of public utility, which is the foundation of human justice.
The other are relations of dependence, between an imperfect creature and his Creator, the most perfect of beings, who has reserved to himself the sole right of being both lawgiver and judge; for he alone can, without injustice, be, at the same time, both one and the other. If he hath decreed eternal punishments for those who disobey his will, shall an insect dare to put himself in the place of divine justice, to pretend to punish for the Almighty, who is himself all-sufficient; who cannot receive impressions of pleasure or pain, and who alone, of all other beings, acts without being acted upon?
The degree of sin depends on the malignity of the heart, which is impenetrable to finite being. If that were admitted, men may punish when God pardons, and pardon when God condemns; and thus act in opposition to the Supreme Being.
We have proved, then, that crimes are to be estimated by the injury done to society. This is one of those palpable truths, which, though evident to the meanest capacity, yet, by a combination of circumstances, are only known to a few thinking men in every nation, and in every age.
But opinions, worthy only of the despotism of Asia, and passions armed with power and authority, have, generally by insensible and sometimes by violent impressions on the timid credulity of men, effaced those simple ideas which perhaps constituted the first philosophy of infant society. Happily the philosophy of the present enlightened Edition: A scrupulous adherence to order would require, that we should now examine and distinguish the different species of crimes, and the modes of punishment; but they are so variable in their nature, from the different circumstances of ages and countries, that the detail would be tiresome and endless.
It will be sufficient for my purpose, to point out the most general principles, and the most common and dangerous errors, in order to undeceive, as well those who, from a mistaken zeal for liberty, would introduce anarchy and confusion, as those who pretend to reduce society in general to the regularity of a convent.
Some crimes are immediately destructive of society, or its representative; others attack the private security of the life, property or honour of individuals; and a third class consists of such actions as are contrary to the laws which relate to the general good of the community.
The first, which are of the highest degree, as they are most destructive to society, are called crimes of Leze-majesty. Every crime, even of the most private nature, injures society; but every crime does not threaten its immediate destruction.
Moral, as well as physical actions, have their sphere of activity differently circumscribed, like all the movements of nature, by time and space; it is therefore a sophistical interpretation, the common philosophy of slaves, that would confound the limits of things established by eternal truth.
To these succeed crimes which are destructive of the security of individuals. This security being the principal end of all society, and to which every citizen hath an undoubted right, it becomes indispensably necessary, that to these crimes the greatest of punishments should be assigned. The opinion, that every member of society has a right to do anything that is not contrary to the laws, without fearing any other inconveniencies than those which are the natural consequences of the action itself, is a political dogma, which Edition: By this principle, our minds become free, active and vigorous; by this alone we are inspired with that virtue which knows no fear, so different from that pliant prudence worthy of those only who can bear a precarious existence.
Attempts, therefore, against the life and liberty of a citizen, are crimes of the highest nature. Under this head we comprehend not only assassinations and robberies committed by the populace, but by grandees and magistrates; whose example acts with more force, and at a greater distance, destroying the ideas of justice and duty among the subjects, and substituting that of the right of the strongest, equally dangerous to those who exercise it, and to those who suffer.
There is a remarkable difference between the civil laws, those jealous guardians of life and property, and the laws of, what is called, honour, which particularly respects the opinion of others. Honour is a term which has been the foundation of many long and brilliant reasonings, without annexing to it any precise or fixed idea.
How miserable is the condition of the human mind, to which the most distant and least essential matters, the revolution of the heavenly bodies, are more distinctly known, than the most interesting truths of morality, which are always confused and fluctuating, as they happen to be driven by the gales of passion, or received and transmitted by ignorance! But this will cease to appear strange, if it be considered, that as objects, when too near the eye, appear confused, so the too great vicinity of the ideas of morality, is the reason why the simple ideas, of which they are composed, are easily confounded; but which must be separated, before Edition: Honour, then, is one of those complex ideas, which are an aggregate not only of simple ones, but of others so complicated, that, in their various modes of affecsing the human mind, they sometimes exclude part of the elements of which they are composed; retaining only some few of the most common, as many algebraic quantities admit one common divisor.
To find this common divisor of the different ideas attached to the word honour, it will be necessary to go back to the original formation of society. The first laws, and the first magistrates, owed their existence to the necessity of preventing the disorders, which the natural despotism of individuals would unavoidably produce. This was the object of the establishment of society, and was either in reality or in appearance, the principal design of all codes of laws, even the most pernicious. But the more intimate connections of men, and the progress of their knowledge, gave rise to an infinite number of necessities, and mutual acts of friendship, between the members Edition: These necessities were not foreseen by the laws, and could not be satisfied by the actual power of each individual.
At this epocha began to be established the despotism of opinion, as being the only means of obtaining those benefits which the law could not procure, and of removing those evils against which the laws were no security. It is opinion, that tormentor of the wise and the ignorant, that has exalted the appearance of virtue above virtue itself.
Hence the esteem of men becomes not only useful, but necessary, to every one, to prevent his sinking below the common level. The ambitious man grasps at it, as being necessary to his designs; the vain man sues for it, as a testimony of his merit; the honest man demands it as his due; and the most men consider it as necessary to their existence.
Honour, being produced after the formation of society, could not be a part of the common deposite, and therefore, whilst we act under its influence, we return, for that instant, to a state of nature, and withdraw ourselves from the laws, which in this case are insufficient for our protection. Hence it follows, that in extreme political liberty, and in absolute despotism, all ideas of honour disappear, or are confounded with others.
In the first case, reputation becomes useless from Edition: Honour, then, is one of the fundamental principles of those monarchies, which are a limited despotism, and in these, like revolutions in despotic states, it is a momentary return to a state of nature, and original equality. From the necessity of the esteem of others, have arisen single combats, and they have been established by the anarchy of the laws. They are thought to have been unknown to the ancients; perhaps because they did not assemble in their temples, in their theatres, or with their friends, suspiciously armed with swords; and, perhaps, because single combats were a common spectacle, exhibited to the people by gladiators, who were slaves, and whom freemen disdained to imitate.
In vain have the laws endeavoured to abolish this custom, by punishing the offenders with death. A man of honour, deprived of the esteem of others, foresees that he must be reduced, either to a solitary existence, insupportable to a social creature, or become the object of perpetual insult; considerations sufficient to overcome the fear of death. What is the reason that duels are not so frequent among the common people, as amongst the great?
Not only because they do not wear swords, but because to men of that class reputation is of less importance than it is to those of a higher rank, who commonly regard each other with distrust and jealousy.
It may not be without its use to repeat here, what has been mentioned by other writers, viz. Another class of crimes are those which disturb the public tranquillity and the quiet of the citizens; such as tumults and riots in the public streets, which are intended for commerce and the passage of the inhabitants; the discourses of fanatics, which rouse the passions of the curious multitude, and gain strength from the number of their hearers, who, though deaf to calm and solid reasoning, are always affected by obscure and mysterious enthusiasm.
The illumination of the streets, during the night, at the public expense; guards stationed in different quarters of the city; the plain and moral discourses of religion, reserved for the silence and tranquillity of churches, and protected by authority; and harangues in support of the interest of the public, delivered only at the general meetings of the nation, in parliament, or where the sovereign resides; are all means to prevent the dangerous effects of the misguided passions of the people Edition: I do not know of any exception to this general axiom, that Every member of the society should know when he is criminal, and when innocent.
If censors, and, in general, arbitrary magistrates, be necessary in any government, it proceeds from some fault in the constitution. The uncertainty of crimes hath sacrificed more victims to secret tyranny, than have ever suffered by public and solemn cruelty. What are, in general, the proper punishments for crimes? Is the punishment of death, really useful, or necessary for the safety or good order of society? Are tortures and torments consistent with justice, or do they answer the end proposed by the laws?
Which is the best method of preventing crimes? Are the same punishments equally useful at all times? What influence have they on manners? These problems should be solved with that geometrical precision which the mist of Edition: If I have no other merit than that of having first presented to my country, with a greater degree of evidence, what other nations have written, and are beginning to practise, I shall account myself fortunate; but if, by supporting the rights of mankind and of invincible truth, I shall contribute to save from the agonies of death one unfortunate victim of tyranny, or of ignorance, equally fatal; his blessings, and tears of transport, will be a sufficient consolation to me for the contempt of all mankind.
From the foregoing considerations it is evident, that the intent of punishments is not to torment a sensible being, nor to undo a crime already committed. Is it possible that torments, and useless cruelty, the instruments of furious fanaticism, or Edition: Can the groans of a tortured wretch recal the time past, or reverse the crime he has committed?
The end of punishment, therefore, is no other, than to prevent others from committing the like offence. Such punishments, therefore, and such a mode of inflicting them, ought to be chosen, as will make strongest and most lasting impressions on the minds of others, with the least torment to the body of the criminal.
To determine exactly the credibility of a witness, and the force of evidence, is an important point in every good legislation.
Every man of common sense, that is, every one whose ideas have some connexion with each other, and whose sensations Edition: Hence it appears, how frivolous is the reasoning of those, who reject the testimony of women on account of their weakness; how puerile it is, not to admit the evidence of those who are under sentence of death, because they are dead in law; and how irrational, to exclude persons branded with infamy: The credibility of a witness, then, should only diminish in proportion to the hatred, friendship, or connexions subsisting between him and the delinquent.
One witness is not sufficient; for whilst the accused denies what the other affirms, truth remains suspended, and the right that every one has to be believed innocent, turns the balance in his favour. The credibility of a witness is the less, as the atrociousness of the crime is greater, from the improbability of its having been committed; as in cases of witchcraft, and acts of wanton cruelty. The writers on penal laws have adopted a contrary principle, viz. Let us translate this sentence, that mankind may see one of the many unreasonable principles to which they are ignorantly subject.
In the most atrocious crimes the slightest conjectures are sufficient, and the judge is allowed to exceed the limits of the law.
The absurd practices of legislators are often the effect of timidity, which is a principal source of the contradictions of mankind. The legislators, or rather lawyers, whose opinions, when alive, were interested and venal, but which after their death become of decisive authority, and are sovereign arbiters of the lives and fortunes of men , terrified by the condemnation of some innocent person, have burdened the law with pompous and useless formalities, the scrupulous observance of which will place anarchical impunity on the throne of justice; at other times, perplexed by atrocious crimes of difficult proof, they imagined themselves under a necessity of superseding the very formalities established by themselves; and thus, at one time, with despotic impatience, and at another with feminine timidity, they transform their solemn judgments into a game of hazard.
In the case of witchcraft, it Edition: In like manner, in cases of wanton cruelty, the presumption is always against the accuser, without some motive of fear or hate. There are no spontaneous or superfluous sentiments in the heart of man; they are all the result of impressions on the senses. The credibility of a witness may also be diminished, by his being a member of a private society, whose customs and principles of conduct are either not known, or are different from those of the public.
Such a man has not only his own passions, but those of the society of which he is a member. Besides, violent and uncommon actions, such as real crimes, leave a trace in the multitude of circumstances that attend them, and in their effects; but words Edition: It is infinitely easier then to found an accusation on the words, than on the actions of a man; for in these, the number of circumstances, urged against the accused, afford him variety of means of justification. The following general theorem is of great use in determining the certainty of fact.
When the proofs of a crime are dependent on each other, that is, when the evidence of each witness, taken separately, proves nothing; or when all the proofs are dependent upon one, the number of proofs neither increase nor diminish the probability of the fact; for the force of the whole is no greater than the force of that on which they depend; and if this fails, they all fall to the ground.
When the proofs are independent on each other, Edition: It may seem extraordinary that I speak of probability with regard to crimes, which, to deserve a punishment, must be certain. But this paradox will vanish, when it is considered, that, strictly speaking, moral certainty is only probability; but which is called a certainty, because every man in his senses assents to it from an habit produced by the necessity of acting, and which is anterior to all speculation.
That certainty which is necessary to decide that the accused is guilty, is the very same which determines every man in the most important transactions of his life. The proofs of a crime may be divided into two classes, perfect and imperfect.
I call those perfect which exclude the possibility of innocence; imperfect, those which do not exclude this possibility. Of the first, one only is sufficient for condemnation; of the second, as many are required as form a perfect proof: It should be also observed, that the imperfect proofs of Edition: But it is much easier to feel this moral certainty of proofs, than to define it exactly.
For this reason, I think it an excellent law which establishes assistants to the principal judge, and those chosen by lot; for that ignorance, which judges by its feelings, is less subject to error, than the knowledge of the laws which judges by opinion. Where the laws are clear and precise, the office of the judge is merely to ascertain the fact. If, in examining the proofs of a crime, acuteness and dexterity be required; if clearness and precision be necessary in summing up the result; to judge of the result itself, nothing is wanting but plain and ordinary good sense, a less fallacious guide than the knowledge of a judge accustomed to find guilty, and to reduce all things to an artificial system, borrowed from his studies.
Happy the nation, where the knowledge of the law is not a science! It is an admirable law which ordains, that every man shall be tried by his peers; for when life, liberty and fortune are in question, the sentiments, which a difference of rank and fortune inspire, should be silent; that superiority with which the fortunate look upon the unfortunate, and that Edition: But when the crime is an offence against a fellow-subject, one half of the judges should be peers to the accused, and the other peers to the person offended.
So that all private interest, which, in spite of ourselves, modifies the appearance of objects, even in the eyes of the most equitable, is counteracted, and nothing remains to turn aside the direction of truth and the laws.
It is also just, that the accused should have the liberty of excluding a certain number of his judges. Where this liberty is enjoyed for a long time, without any instance to the contrary, the criminal seems to condemn himself. I shall not enter into particulars. There may be some persons who expect that I should say all that can be said upon this subject; to such, what I have already written must be unintelligible. Secret accusations are a manifest abuse, but consecrated by custom in many nations, where, from the weakness of the government, they are necessary.
This custom makes men false and treacherous. Whoever suspects another to be an informer, beholds in him an enemy; and, from thence, mankind are accustomed to disguise their real sentiments; and from the habit of concealing them from others, they at last even hide them from themselves. Unhappy are those, who have arrived at this point! Without any certain and fixed principles to guide them, they fluctuate in the vast sea of opinion, and are busied only in escaping the monsters which surround them; to those, the present is always embittered by the uncertainty of the future; deprived of the pleasures of tranquillity and security, some fleeting moments of happiness, scattered thinly through their wretched lives, console them for the misery of existing.
Shall we, amongst such men, find Edition: Amongst such men shall we find incorruptible magistrates, who, with the spirit of freedom and patriotic eloquence, will support and explain the true interest of their sovereign; who, with the tributes, offer up at the throne the love and blessing of the people, and thus bestow on the palaces of the great, and the humble cottage, peace and security; and to the industrious a prospect of bettering their lot, that useful ferment and vital principle of states?
Who can defend himself from calumny, armed with that impenetrable shield of tyranny, secrecy? What a miserable government must that be, where the sovereign suspects an enemy in every subject, and, to secure the tranquillity of the public, is obliged to sacrifice the repose of every individual?
By what arguments is it pretended, that secret accusations may be justified? The public safety, say they, and the security and maintenance of the established form of government.
But what a strange constitution is that, where the government, which hath in its favour not only power but opinion, still more efficacious, yet fears its own subjects? The indemnity of the informer. Do not the laws defend him sufficiently; and are there subjects more powerful than the laws? When secret calumny is authorised, and punished only when public.
The nature of the crime. If actions, indifferent in themselves, or even useful to the public, were called crimes, both the accusation and the trial could never be too secret. But can there be any crime, committed against the public, which ought not to be publicly punished? I respect all governments; and I speak not of any one in particular. Such may sometimes be the nature of circumstances, that when abuses are inherent in the constitution, it may be imagined, that to rectify them, would be to destroy the constitution itself.
But were I to dictate new laws in a remote corner of the universe, the good of posterity, ever present to my mind, would hold back my trembling hand, and prevent me from authorising secret accusations. Public accusations, says Montesquieu, are more conformable to the nature of a republic, where zeal for the public good is the principal passion of a citizen, than of a monarchy, in which, as this sentiment is very feeble, from the nature of the government, the best establishment is that of commissioners, who, in the name of the public, accuse the infractors of the laws.
But in all governments as well in a republic as in a monarchy, Edition: The torture of a criminal, during the course of his trial, is a cruelty, consecrated by custom in most nations. It is used with an intent either to make him confess his crime, or explain some contradictions, into which he had been led during his examination; or discover his accomplices; or for some kind of metaphysical and incomprehensible purgation of infamy; or, finally, in order to discover other crimes, of which he is not accused, but of which he may be guilty.
No man can be judged a criminal until he be found guilty; nor can society take from him the public protection, until it have been proved that he has violated the conditions on which it was granted.
What right, then, but that of power, can authorise the punishment of a citizen, so long Edition: The dilemma is frequent. Either he is guilty, or not guilty. If guilty, he should only suffer the punishment ordained by the laws, and torture becomes useless, as his confession is unnecessary.
If he be not guilty, you torture the innocent; for, in the eye of the law, every man is innocent, whose crime has not been proved.
Besides, it is confounding all relations, to expect that a man should be both the accuser and accused; and that pain should be the test of truth, as if truth resided in the muscles and fibres of a wretch in torture. By this method, the robust will escape, and the feeble be condemned. These are the inconveniencies of this pretended test of truth, worthy only of a cannibal; and which the Romans, in many respects barbarous, and whose savage virtue has been too much admired, reserved for the slaves alone.
What is the political intention of punishments? To terrify, and to be an example to others. Is this intention answered, by thus privately torturing the guilty and the innocent? It is doubtless of importance, that no crime should remain unpunished; but it is useless to make a public example of the author of a crime hid in darkness. A crime already committed, and for which there can be no remedy, can only be punished by a Edition: There is another ridiculous motive for torture, namely, to purge a man from infamy.
Ought such an abuse to be tolerated in the eighteenth century? Can pain, which is a sensation, have any connection with a moral sentiment, a matter of opinion?
It is not difficult to trace this senseless law to its origin; for an absurdity, adopted by a whole nation, must have some affinity with other ideas, established and respected by the same nation. This custom seems to be the offspring of religion, by which mankind, in all nations and in all ages, are so generally influenced. We are taught by our infallible church, that those stains of sin, contracted through human frailty, and which have not deserved the eternal anger of the Almighty, are to be purged away, in another life, by an Edition: Now infamy is a stain, and if the punishments and fire of purgatory can take away all spiritual stains, why should not the pain of torture take away those of a civil nature?
I imagine that the confession of a criminal, which in some tribunals is required, as being essential to his condemnation, has a similar origin, and has been taken from the mysterious tribunal of penitence, where the confession of sins is a necessary part of the sacrament. Thus have men abused the unerring light of revelation; and in the times of tractable ignorance, having no other, they naturally had recourse to it on every occasion, making the most remote and absurd applications.
Moreover, infamy is a sentiment regulated neither by the laws nor by reason, but entirely by opinion. But torture renders the victim infamous, and therefore cannot take infamy away. Another intention of torture is, to oblige the supposed criminal to reconcile the contradictions into which he may have fallen during his examination; as if the dread of punishment, the uncertainty of his fate, the solemnity of the court, the majesty of the judge, and the ignorance of the accused, were not abundantly sufficient to account for contradictions, which are so common to men even in a state of tranquillity; and which must Edition: This infamous test of truth is a remaining monument of that ancient and savage legislation, in which trials by fire, by boiling water, or the uncertainty of combats, were called judgments of God; as if the links of that eternal chain, whose beginning is in the breast of the first cause of all things, could never be disunited by the institutions of men.
The only difference between torture, and trials by fire and boiling water, is, that the event of the first depends on the will of the accused; and of the second, on a fact entirely physical and external: A man on the rack, in the convulsions of torture, has it as little in his power to declare the truth, as, in former times, to prevent, without fraud, the effect of fire or of boiling water.
Every act of the will is invariably in proportion to the force of the impression on our senses. The required expiation, however, is complicated in Crime and Punishment by the split personality—a typically Dostoevskian ploy—of the protagonist. The schizophrenia of Raskolnikov is best illustrated by his ambivalent motives for murdering the pawnbroker. He does intend to atone for his misdeed by subsequently living an upright life dedicated to humanitarian enterprises.
Raskolnikov, however, shortly becomes convinced of his own superiority. He intends to prove his superiority by committing murder and justifying it on the basis of his own superiority.
This psychological configuration is common enough, but, unlike most paranoid schizophrenics, Raskolnikov carries his design through—a signal tribute to the depth of his convictions. The results are predictably confusing. Is it justifiable to commit an atrocity in the name of improvement of the human condition?
This essential question remains unanswered in Crime and Punishment ; Raskolnikov, egocentrically impelled by pride, cannot decide whether or not he is superior, one of those supermen entitled to violate any law or any principle to serve the cause of ultimate justice, however justice might be construed.
Only through suffering can Raskolnikov gain religious redemption he desperately seeks by the end of the play. Every character in the play seems to experiences it, and goes through major sacrifices to improve their lives.
In order to help feed her family, she sacrifices self being to sell her body. Another character that suffers is the main character himself, Raskolnikov. He is a poor, former student who is unable to continue his studies due to money problems. Despite his hard demeanor, inside he is suffering for what he has done. When he finally does confess to Sonya about the murder, she tells him that through suffering, he will find redemption for the sin. The conflict in Crime and Punishment is the internal development of Raskolnikov's character.
In Raskolnikov's mind are two contrasting personalities, each demanding control over him. One side, brought out by poverty and egoism, is the murderer who kills the pawnbroker. The other side, inspired by the love of others and his inner goodness, is his caring conscience which desires to help those around him.
The conflict rages on throughout the play, and in the end Raskolnikov's good side wins over as he accepts his guilt, admits to his wrongness and turns his life over to Sonia and God. The costumes that the actors wore fit the time that the play was set.
Crime and Punishment Part Two: Essay In Part Two of Crime and Punishment, the reader sees a continuation of many themes earlier presented, but in a new and more extreme environment. As Raskolnikov tries to remain clear of accusation, he continues.
- Seeking Atonement in Crime and Punishment Raskolnikov, the protagonist of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment was a complicated man who committed a crime. Raskolnikov murdered a woman who was a plague .
Free Essays from Bartleby | Russian author and philosopher, Fyodor Dostoevsky, was best known for his literary contributions between and Of his. An immediate punishment is more useful; because the smaller the interval of time between the punishment and the crime, the stronger and more lasting will be the association of the two ideas of Crime and Punishment: so that they may be considered, one as the cause, and the other as the unavoidable and necessary effect. It is .
Free Essay: Crime and Punishment In his book “Crime and Punishment”, Dostoevsky explores the path of Raskolnikov who has many problems and obstacles. An Essay on Crime and Punishment by Cesare Becarria comedyq.ga Page 3 AN ESSAY ON CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS. CHAPTER I. OF THE ORIGIN OF PUNISHMENTS. Laws are the conditions under which men, naturally independent, united themselves in society.