Updated: Jul 1
Russian literature is a biome of exhilaration, not in form of adventures, thrill and mysteries but dramas and philosophies that hike your psyche to an ecstasy of a perpetual loop augmented with the deepest and the most tribulating human emotions presented to the readership in a way not many can.
While in Tolstoy's War and Peace you might have come across the enigmatic and the blissful society residing and sipping their tea in the high-standing Petersberg community, Dostoyevsky herein vivifies the lapses in the trying times faced by the beings struck by poverty.
Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
This book is a mist of blackness that erupts out of the anxiety and depression of one young man who is intelligent enough to take what he thinks is his right. A psychological drama of a proportion that can meddle with your senses just enough to visualise the pits of inky darkness called "Human Mind". It brings out the irate feelings of a young man who has finally given up and no longer cares how and what befalls around.
Raskolnikov, plagued by poverty and with a surplus of intellect to think his way out has a clouded vision that shoves him forward to be his undoing.
“To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in someone else's.” He reasons, he deduces that is the way to his enlightenment, to stoop and take what is his, only if he dares to. Because only then he will be considered a Man otherwise live to be a louse like every other insignificant creature crawling on the earth with no vision.
Warped by his demented theories of greatness, young Rodion commits the crime of killing an old hag of a pawnbroker who used to prey on the needy to fill up her chest with the yieldings of the devil. That was his CRIME! and what follows next is the punishment he gets, because
“The man who has a conscience suffers whilst acknowledging his sin. That is his punishment.” Everything that comes next is merely his punishment, whether he realizes it or no.
We get to see the frailty of a man who is being torn apart from inside, across his mind and heart and his entire being. The culmination of all the anxieties from before being added to his murderous adventure is something his mind cannot take. We see in him the perfect representation of insanity that can ever be judged upon a human body.
This book is the dire representation of a murderer's clockwork, once a life is taken, a gear falls out of place and however, you try to be calm and go along with life, the functioning of the clockwork will never be the same again. And more than legal punishments and prosecution, the real punishment lies in your own mind. Your mind cages you into the locker of flesh and blood, unable to express yourself, unable to leave your guard down in fear of slipping something which might, in turn, be your doom.
Dostoyevsky has accomplished imbuing his life in prison in the perfect way possible and transcending this dark drama into something phenomenally connected to the psyche of a murderer. Also, there was perfect segregation through the murderous intent, of a cold-blooded killer and someone who doesn't quite know what he is doing. Raskolnikov's intention to kill, his attempt and his success is something overly related to the anxious human psyche and what a mind can do once convoluted like he was.
As they say in the old fairy tales, "Be careful what you wish for"
for the human mind is a dangerous place and to be entrapped in it for a millennia of torture is perfectly portrayed by Dostoyevsky in the masterpiece called "Crime & Punishment"
If you hadn't yet read this book, this is one book you should definitely put in your TBR before anything else.
Find the book on Amazon here