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Crime and Punishment1

The main character of the novel Crime and Punishment by Feodor Dostoevsky, Raskolnikov, is in reality two totally contradicting personalities. One part of him is the intellectual. This part is cold and inhumane. It is this side that enables him to commit the most terrible crime imaginable - taking another human life. The other part of his personality is warm and compassionate. This is the side of him that does charitable acts and fights out against the evil in his society. This dichotomy of Raskolnikovs personality can be clearly seen through the dream about the mare, as well as through other characters in the novel.Raskolnikov's dream about the mare can be used to probe deep into his mentality to discover how he really feels inside. The dream suggests that Raskolnikov is a "split" man; after all, his name in Russian means, "split". He has a cruel and thoughtless side as well as a caring, compassionate side to his personality. Through the dream and the symbols within, a reader can cast Raskolnikov, as well as other characters from Crime And Punishment, into any of the various parts in the dream. Each part that a character takes on leads to a different conclusion about that character. Raskolnikov himself "fits" into the positions of Mikolka, the child, and the mare. If Mikolka, the drunken owner of the mare, were to represent Raskolnikov, then the mare would most probably represent Alyona Ivanovna. The senseless beating of the mare by Mikolka is similar to the brutal attack on Alyona by Rodion. These heartless attacks foreshadow the crime that Raskolnikov is contemplating. Dostoevsky unveils Raskolnikov's cruel side during this dream, if it is to be interpreted in this way. Similarly, the little boy could represent Raskolnikovs compassionate side. The child, watching the beating, realizes the absurdity of it. He even rushes to Mikolka, ready to punish him for killing the mare. This illustrates Rodion's internal struggle while con...

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