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Crime and Punishment Essay

The meaning of “Notes from Underground” to the artistic world is difficult to overestimate. As mentioned by L. P. Grosman: “’Notes from Underground’ – is one of the most exposing compositions of Dostoyevsky. Never has it happened again that he opens up in such fullness all of his most intimate thoughts, not meant for show secrets of his heart” (Grosman, 299). Becoming the prelude to other great works of Dostoyevsky, “Notes from Underground” influenced world literature, not only Russian literary growth.

Merezhkovskii thought that the main difference between Dostoyevsky’s and Nietzsche’s “last freedoms” is that Dostoyevsky, growing “underground” ideas in his characters, but not completing them still tried to “grasp” onto Russian orthodoxy, while the other – praised the man: “Just as Nietzsche […] Dostoyevsky considers the last gift of freedom to be the man-god, the antichrist, with the difference in the two being that Nietzsche blesses this gift, and Dostoyevsky curses it” (Merezhkovskii, 217 – 218).

By the thoughts of Berdyaev, if before “Notes from Underground” Dostoyevsky was no more than a: humanist, full of compassion for the ‘poor people’, the ‘humiliated and insulted’, the characters of the ‘House of the Dead’, then from ‘Notes from Underground’ begins the brilliant ideological dialectic of Dostoyevsky. He is no longer simply a psychologist, he is a metaphysician; he explores, to the depths, the tragedies of human spirit. He is no longer a humanist by the old meaning of the word; He has completely torn away from Belinsky’s humanism. (Berdyaev, 36).

At the same time Berdyaev did not share this opinion with Shestov about Dostoyevsky being an exclusive underground psychologist: “Dostoyevsky possesses underground psychology only in the moment of the spiritual journey of man. He does not leave us in the hopeless circle of underground psychology, he removes us from it” (Berdyaev, 141). Losing humanistic faith in man, Dostoyevsky has no choice but to be loyal to the Christian principles, deepening, strengthening and enriching them; therefore, he cannot be a “gloom, hopelessly-pessimistic” writer.

In his darkest and most painful moments Dostoyevsky has the “light of Christ” – the “freeing light” (37). “Notes from Underground” was praised as one of the most reaction producing stories by Yermylov, where-in was conducted not only “malicious controversy” with the novel of a “genius” Russian revolutionary-democrat NG Chernyshevsky, but also told about “moral crimes”. Thus “in the face of the conscience of mankind” Dostoyevsky’s role in moral crime proved “heavy” because “you cannot talk about the crime with malice! ” (Yermylov, 42 – 43).

Exploring the works of the 1860’s, in particular the novel “Notes from Underground”, Kirpotin concluded about the importance of its poetics for all following works of Dostoyevsky and specific to his novel form: The poetics of ‘Notes from Underground’ contains within it undeveloped poetics from the later works of Dostoyevsky. The merging of philosophy and narration in ‘Notes from Underground’, and its dissolution in the story soon after […] led to the creation of the first great novel by Dostoyevsky – ‘Crime and Punishment’, a new novel which was specific to Dostoyevsky’s type.

(Kirpotin, 472, 475) The genius of Dostoyevsky in “Notes from Underground” is expressed in that he felt, and strongly expressed the psychology of philosophical experience. Demonstrating how one’s character forms or deforms under heavy influence, he was able to show the crystallization of the human spirit; this concept has gained world renowned meaning. Separating Dostoyevsky from his character and considering “Notes from Underground” as a complete work of art and nothing less, Kirpotin admitted the truth expressed in the story about the author’s vision, retaining its aesthetic nature.

However, through aesthetics Dostoyevsky “peered into anthology, into the philosophy of the world, into space and society”, but – stated Kirpotin – “as he understood them, of course” (Kirpotin, 175). Understanding the writer, according to Kirpotin was inadequate for the ideas of the advanced people in society; Dostoyevsky kept to his ingenious artistic discoveries despite his beliefs.

Prospective studies carried out under the archetypal approach in the study of the “underground” image help find the answers to a number of important questions about this work: on the true place of the man from the “underground” in Dostoyevsky’s work, on the expressive or un-expressive characteristics in all its characters and on the means of poetic incarnation of the “underground” phenomenon, on the influence of the image of an “underground” hero on the classic works of world literature, which spawned a whole gallery of “underground” characters.


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