The Deconstruction of Raskolnikov as Übermensch

1420 words 6 pages
THE DECONSTRUCTION OF RASKOLNIKOV AS ÜBERMENSCH

‘Murderer!’ he said suddenly, in a low but clear and distinct voice (pg. 231). In just one word (Part 3, Chapter VI of Crime and Punishment), the stranger’s direct label is a stabbing remark in opposition of Raskolnikov’s assumed identity. It is the debasement of a man-god, to be more apt a superman, who is ever so close to falling off the perch and into the abyss. “It was impossible to be sure, but it seemed to Raskolnikov that his face again wore its coldly hostile and triumphant smile” (231). Raskolnikov as the extraordinary man seeks not greatness but justice to serve his pursuits. The elevation is left to the ordinary people who are willing subordinates as puppets along the string.
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Raskolnikov thinks to himself, “Does a Napoleon crawl under an old woman’s bed?” (232), and it becomes apparent that the deconstruction of his identity has started. These stricken pangs of conscientious debate are not characteristic of an extraordinary man. He goes on to say, “the old woman was only a symptom of my illness… I killed not a human being but a principle! Yes, I killed a principle, but as for surmounting the barriers, I did not do that; I remained on this side… The only thing I knew how to do was kill! And I could not do that properly either, it seems…” (233). Belov describes one justification of the murder of Alyona Ivanova when he states, “it was simple arithmetic: to kill one worthless, harmful, and rich being, in order to use money to make many beautiful but poor people happy” (489). By showing that utilitarianism is tied at the hip with nihilism, the failure to satisfy the former provision condemns this belief as empty and serves to further augment the portrayal of Raskolnikov as a base creature. I strongly hold that to serve his ideology, Raskolnikov deludes himself from recognizing and then accepting himself as a rational egoist. He is fractured and is trying to desperately hold on the superman mindset in the midst of his cognizance regarding the murder’s failure. In his insecurity, he is fearful of the

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