The Burden Of Humanity Essay

530 words - 3 pages

James HutchinsonHutchinson 1
AP Literature
19 October 2010
The Burden of Humanity
Without a doubt, one of the most morally ambiguous characters in European literature is Raskolnikov from Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. This is mainly because he is neither clearly-defined nor does he have an obvious motivation. He is just slightly too vulnerable to be a nihilist, yet too cynical to be a romantic, and at the same time, not quite indifferent enough to qualify as an absurd hero. Because of these archetypal shortcomings, it is extremely difficult to categorize Raskolnikov, which is what ultimately makes him so fascinating. It may be that the reader follows him to the end simply because he is a walking contradiction, nearly impossible to pinpoint.
A strange aspect of ...view middle of the document...

The man's depression is revealed, yet is given a simplistic explanation, leaving the rest of the novel to dig deeper into his psyche. He (our hero) is also described as the protagonist but is not portrayed in a remotely heroic light nor worthy of the reader's sympathy. In fact, for the first chapter, he seems nothing more than a bitter, pretentious degenerate. Not until Raskolnikov's nightmare does the reader gain a glimpse of the broken, desperate man hiding behind a mask of indifference.
Perhaps the most compelling side to Raskolnikov is his seemingly arrogant swagger that covers his ache for human contact. His pride and intellectualism lead him to disdain humanity as fit merely to
Hutchinson 2
perpetuate the species. Additionally, he believes that he is an elite “superhuman” and can consequently transgress accepted moral standards for higher purposes such as utilitarian good. In this sense, he views himself as the absurd hero. However, unlike Mersault from The Stranger, he is not indifferent nor unfeeling enough to successfully transcend human compassion. After he murders the pawnbroker Alyona Ivanovna, he is so burdened with guilt that it becomes apparent he is not a true “superhuman” such as his hero Napoleon. No matter how desperately he tries to rid himself of human nature, he cannot stop his growing shame. Raskolnikov seems to be sheer evidence that, in literature at least, the spirit is often much stronger than the mind.
In conclusion, Raskolnikov serves mainly as a counter-argument against nihilism and rationalism. His inherent compassion, which he is incapable of suppressing, shows that his humanity outweighs his reliance on egoism. Ultimately, Dostoevsky makes the case that plain reason without pity, empathy, or love leads to nothing but catastrophe, and life cannot be lived without the burden of humanity.

Other Papers Like The Burden of Humanity

How Silas Is Drawn Back Into Humanity by the Loss of His Gold

5174 words - 21 pages English Coursework: HOW IS SILAS MARNER DRAWN BACK INTO HUMANITY WHEN HE LOSES HIS GOLD? The novel Silas Marner is set in the 1780s because George Eliot describes Silas Marner (the main character) as living in Raveloe ‘’in the early years of the century’’ and by this time he had been living there for fifteen years. By the end of the novel, when a further sixteen years have elapsed since Eppie’s arrival, they are in the 1820s. George Eliot

Comparative Study Of Texts: Brave New World/ Blade Runner (Note: Essay On Humanity, And Human's Relationship With The Natural World)

1214 words - 5 pages In the worlds of the narrative text Brave New World (1932), composed by Aldous Huxley and the visual text Blade Runner (Director's Cut) (1992), directed by Ridley Scott, perhaps the most significant thematic concern is that of the intervention into the natural order by elitist human forces. Responders are confronted with stark, forlorn visions of a future that has alienated the natural environment from humanity, creating a society of moral

The Humanity of Frankenstein's Creature

614 words - 3 pages Victor Frankenstein’s creature was born benevolent and only becomes malevolent due to the injustices, cruelty, and prejudice inflicted on him from mankind. One of the first instances of cruelty from mankind towards the creature was his own father abandoned it shortly after he was born. As a young boy, Victor Frankenstein was fascinated with the works of ancient and outdated achlemists. He later went to attend a university where he learns

Not Finished

1578 words - 7 pages On the Nature of Time, the Will to Power, and the Overman: Concepts from Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra Written in parables, Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra is difficult at best to understand, and near impossible to appreciate. It is not until the work is dissected that the reader can see the material vision of humanity that Zarathustra would have him embrace. The nature of humanity as Zarathustra sees it is quite

Seligram Case

600 words - 3 pages CASE WRITE UP ON SELIGRAM, INC.: ELECTRONIC TESTING OPERATIONS Computation of the costs of the five components in Exhibit 6 using the (a) Existing System, (b) First Modified System, (c) Second Modified System (a) The existing system: Total Cost = Direct Labor Cost + Burden = Direct Labor Cost + (Burden Rate x Direct Labor Cost) = Direct Labor Cost + (145% x Direct Labor Cost) Accordingly, using

Ma Case

916 words - 4 pages Managerial Accounting Case Study 2: Seligram, Inc: ETO 96122050 96122051 96122052 96122073 96122085 96122088 96122092 Group 1 At the beginning, the Electronic Testing Operations (ETO) measured two components of cost: direct labor and burden, but the burden is grouped into a single cost pool that includes all costs and divided by direct labor dollars to obtain the burden rate. (Q2) ETO’s manager picked up 5 components to evaluate the impact

Where Ther Is No Freedom

825 words - 4 pages WHERE THERE IS NO FREEDOM, THERE IS NO HUMANITY. “WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.” (1984, Slogans of the party) When freedom is forbidden, humanity becomes unobtainable. If a person or a government takes away a persons ability to determine their actions without restraint, it is not only unkind but I believe, inhumane. A person’s humanity is everything that makes them human. Their emotions, dreams, sexual

The Metamorphesis

762 words - 4 pages Short Essay Kafka, “The Metamorphosis”: pg.1411 beginning with “His father, however,” ending at the end of Part 2. In Kafkas “The Metamorphosis”, the question of how much of Gregor’s humanity remains makes up most of the second section of the story. As the members of the Samsa family adapt to the situation they’ve been put in now with Gregor, each one seems to form a different belief of how much humanity indeed does or can remain in him

Frankenstein/Bladerunne

917 words - 4 pages As Max Cady stated in Cape Fear: “Now you will learn about loss! Loss of freedom! Loss of humanity! Now you and I will truly be the same…” words which are so incredibly applicable to the novel, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, and the film Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott. Both these texts raise questions about humanity, particularly its loss due to advancements of science and technology, in an effort to challenge views of their respective

Strength Of The Family Unit

600 words - 3 pages emotional support. When life is overwhelming, loved ones can help carry the burden of everyday problems, in order to give strength to face the challenges of tomorrow. In fact, according to the Allina Health System Foundation (1999), “In strong families, members can rely on each other… for a sympathetic ear, or just when they need to know someone cares” (¶ 10). Through times of crisis, relatives provide refuge through telephone calls, internet

Seligram

579 words - 3 pages system to become obsolete when the process experiences increased automation. 2. Calculate the reported costs of the five components described in Exhibit 6 under: a) The existing cost system b) The system proposed by the accounting manager c) The system proposed by the consultant The cost for the five components described in exhibit 6 can be shown as follows: a) Using the given burden rate of 145%, the calculated costs of the existing system

Related Essays

The Main Problem Of Humanity Is Forgetting The Creator

1167 words - 5 pages The Main Problem of Humanity is Forgetting The Creator by Shah Abdul Hannan Philosophically thinking, the biggest problem of the world is forgetting Allah, the creator; to  become indifferent of His existence. Allah subhana wa ta-a-la said, "O Man! what has seduced thee from thy Lord Most Benificent?" (82:6). At present day it is indeed a reality that mankind is  negligent of their creator. Atheistic beliefs are predominant  in Europe

The Theme Of Humanity In Uncle Tom's Cabin

814 words - 4 pages The Theme of Humanity Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The First Seven Chapters By Shelby Hammonds In the first seven chapters of Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe the novel shows slave-owning families who think they are being humane, but in reality, no business with owning human beings is in any way humane. “I was a fool to think I could make anything good out of such a deadly evil...” says Mrs. Shelby. As she said this, she was

An Evolutionary Fork: Fossil Record Evidence Of Humanity And Its Variation From The Primate

1694 words - 7 pages An Evolutionary Fork: Fossil Record Evidence of Humanity and Its Variation From the Primate The early history of humans (homo-sapiens) is a contentious and heavily debated subject in the scientific community. Exactly when and from which ancestry our species evolved is a topic of speculation that many disagree on. What most in the scientific community can almost unanimously agree on is that homo-sapiens did indeed evolve from lesser beings

The Psychology Of Hate: How We Deny Human Beings Their Humanity

1531 words - 7 pages The Psychology of Hate: How We Deny Human Beings Their Humanity This world cannot coexist with terrorism. Be it hijackings, bombings, hostage crises or sieges, terrorism has become a dark form of hatred in our decaying world; this petrifying presence of violence is one of the most distinctive challenges that our civilization has yet to solve. All of these violent acts of terrorism stem from manifestations of hatred and intolerance of those