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Crime and Punishment


Crime and Punishment Philosophical background Role of Buffoonery 19th century Russian writers used buffoons and comic characters as vehicles for competing ideological ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment
  • Philosophical background

(No Transcript)
Role of Buffoonery
  • 19th century Russian writers used buffoons and
    comic characters as vehicles for competing
    ideological issues especially Gogol and
  • Marmeloadov alcoholic with an ironic
    metaphysical side

  • Carnavalesque behavior calls attention to
    questions about environmental influence (key
    issue for utilitarians and Chernyskevky) and
    psychological disorders (Freud said that D showed
    an understanding of the mind through his
    characters that surpasses the psychologists of
    his time)
  • Questions
  • Who should care for poor people?
  • Who is responsible for their education and
  • Knows that redemptive suffering will lead to
  • Marmeledov is a holy fool

  • Nadryf is a psychological concept meaning self
    induced suffering or more precisely self
  • Marmeladov causes suffering then seeks punishment
    beatings/ vindicates behavior of neglected poor
    people. Shame and redemptive suffering.
    Spiritual power in the downtrodden that criminals
    are drawn to D observed this in prison.
  • Sonia is the holy fool who sacrifices herself for
    her family by prostitution. Holy fool

  • Katerina also has a pattern of self conscious
    shame and redemptive suffering.
  • Bloody handkerchief is her symbolic nadryf.
  • K is voice of hotly debated issues in the 1860s
  • Utilitarians K blames her position on the
    environment and social circumstances.
  • Behaviorist and determinist (Chernyshevsky Ds
    polemical target in CP)
  • Ks outburst explained as a logical reaction to
    her situation
  • Christian philosophy closer to Ds view is
    spiritual fallenness
  • Book creates tension between the two philosophies
    personal guilt and unfavorable social

  • Utilitarianism the philosophical doctrine that
    considers utility as the criterion of action, and
    the useful as good or worthwhile. Proposed by
    philosophers Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill
    that all moral, social, or political action
    should be directed toward achieving the greatest
    good for the greatest number of people.

John Stuart Mill
Jeremy Bentham
  • Chernyshevsky What is to Be Done - utopian
  • Chernyshevskys Rational Egoism based on Stuart
    and Mill ultimate criteria of morality was
  • Cherny taught that morality was a product of
    physiology when R is filled with self disgust
    and horror after his rehearsal of the crime, he
    stops to have a beer, instantly feels better, and
    shrugs his moral discomposure off as a lack of
  • Radicals moved beyond Chernys position to
    harsher doctrine that encouraged elite superior
    individuals to step over all existing moral norms
    for the sake of advancing the interest of mankind
    as a whole
  • A radical student of Cherny tried to shoot the
    Czar in 1866, also in 1866 an ex student killed a

Prisoner Dilemma
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  • Ds inspiration for the novel was a desire to
    counteract the consequences he could see as
    arising from the moral and social doctrines of
    social nihilism.
  • Nihilism is the rejection morals
  • Nihilists rejected moral absolutes and Christian
    beliefs and said that values were relative and
    that self interest (rational egoism) is to the
    end of perfecting social problems.
  • Nihilist believed that ethics should be based on
    scientific claims and that man could create a
    perfect society (rational utopia) and live
    according to the principle of self enlightened

  • Nihilist achieve aims by
  • 1) suppressing spontaneous feelings by relying on
    reason to master the contradictory and irrational
    potentialities of the human personality
  • 2) encouraging growth of a proto- Nietzschean
    egoism among the elite of superior individuals to
    whom the hopes for the future were to be

  • Nihilists believed that irrational behavior and
    psychological disorder - especially crime -
    were the result of social forces and environment
  • R has proud idealistic egoism like the Nihilists
  • Utilitarian altruistic justification for the
    proposed crime is expressed in the tavern scene
    why not kill a wretched, rapacious, useless old
    moneylender and employ the funds to alleviate the
    human misery so omnipresent in Rs world?
  • Men discussing this idea in a public place
    (tavern) shows how commonplace the ideas of
    utilitarianism were

  • D takes nihilist ideas to the extreme
    carnivalesque - he knew that they had an
    altruistic and humanitarian aim inspired by human
    suffering (believes Russians are inherently moral
    ) but that these ideas will cause negative
  • D believes the means never justify the ends
  • D believed in mans fallenness and satirized
    Nihilism through his characters Rs
    justification, Luzhins self centered motives,
    Lebezyatinikovs vulgarization of progressive
    ideas, and Svidragailov
  • R compassionate one moment becomes coldly
    unconcerned and contemptuous egoist in the next,
    totally indifferent to the misfortunes that had
    stirred his pity.

Superman Theories
  • Hegel
  • Hegelian superman exists for the noble purposes
    in the view that if the ends are noble then the
    means can be justified.
  • Emphasis on ends not means
  • Stands above the ordinary man, but works for the
    benefit of mankind

Nietzsche superman
  • Does not exist for the benefit of society
  • Exists for his own personal gratification
  • Aims are not prompted by any type of nobility but
    by self gratification
  • God is dead people can assert their own will

Superman theory
  • Possesses the strongest will and is able to make
    his desires and his powers dominant over others
  • Must stand completely alone and not allow his
    will to be influenced by others this isolates
    him from society
  • R throughout his years in Petersburg cut himself
    off from community and the normal moral social
    world. Horrified at speaking to others.
  • After crime completely exiled. Need to overcome
    alienation is at war with vanity and egotistical

  • Lampoon of the radicals younger generation
  • Utilitarian logic - same as Rs logic
  • Progress in name of science and economic truth
    goes against the Bibles love thy neighbor -
    two shivering people
  • Private charity was seen by the Utilirarians as
    demeaning to the receiver
  • Christian morality of love and self sacrifice
    seen as useless
  • Engagement to landladys daughter who was fond
    of giving alms to the poor and always dreaming of
    a nunnery was an example of Rs desire for self
    sacrifice bordering on martyrdom desire to
    comfort those that others find repellent. R saw
    the marriage as a heroic act. Utilirarianism
    offers a different kind of heroism. The two had
    argued about their beliefs she may have put the
    brakes on him until her death.

  • Lebezyatinikov is a Utilitraian with altruistic
    aims not as egotistical
  • Andrei is foremost a young progressive
  • Fabled interesting circles- socialist,
    utilitarian, and nihilist dudes
  • Andrei tends to exaggerate and distort ideas
  • Speech is confident and presumptuous , but he is
  • Passionate about what he believes and latches
    onto ideas
  • Half taught petty tyrant who makes a point of
    instantly latching onto the most fashionable
    current idea, only to vulgarize it at once, to
    make an instant caricature of everything they
    themselves serve, sometimes quite sincerely

  • Kind altruistic wants to do good
  • Talk bigger than walk
  • Doesnt understand own propaganda
  • Commune
  • Dunia taking a lover summarizes issues radicals
    cared about in 1860s
  • Communes appeared after What is to Be Done
  • Andrei discusses woman question but he hit
  • Says he respects Sonia for her protest against
    social order crime was an act against the
  • What is to Be Done discusses being able to enter
    rooms without knocking
  • Letting wife take a lover parody of ideas about
    love and jealousy in WITBD