Notes on Crime and Punishment Themes

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Crime and Punishment Topic Tracking: Ego Psychology

Chapter 1

Ego Psychology 1: As an idealistic, introverted university student, Raskolnikov (raskol is split in Russian) goes through a series of struggles with himself that are often megalomaniacal and self-contradictory. He often seems to have a split personality.

Chapter 4

Ego Psychology 2: In a span of a couple of minutes, Raskolnikov undergoes several changes in psychology. First, he pledges that as long as he is alive, he will not let his sister marry Luhzin. Then he wonders why he should care at all. Second, he tries to help a young abused girl and save her from the lustful glances of a gentleman predator. But even after giving some money to a policeman to help the girl get home, he changes his mind and tells the policeman to leave her alone.

Chapter 6

Ego Psychology 3: Raskolnikov wonders why so many crimes are committed so poorly. He concludes that criminals go through a failure of the will. He endeavors not to let anything prevent him from carrying out the crime in complete control of his reason and will.

Chapter 7

Ego Psychology 4: In the act of committing the crime, Raskolnikov fluctuates between a cold-blooded murderer and a bumbling criminal. Although he has the presence of mind to clean the axe and his boots, he fails to close the door before murdering the old woman. His reason and will fail him at certain points in the murder.

Chapter 8

Ego Psychology 5: Raskolnikov has a strong urge to confess to the murders, but at the same time, he is defiant of being caught like a common criminal. Because of this consuming inner struggle, he faints when he overhears the police officials discuss the murders.

Chapter 13

Ego Psychology 6: Raskolnikov begins to suffer psychologically from the guilt of his conscience. He struggles between an urge to confess and an urge to "live." In front to Zametov, Raskolnikov talks recklessly and almost confesses to the murders.

Chapter 17

Ego Psychology 7: Zossimov, who has a strong interest in madness and psychology, explains that actions can sometimes be performed with extreme awareness, while the motivation behind the actions can seem like a dream. This parallels Raskolnikov's murder experience. Raskolnikov realizes that while madness can act as a cover for his behavior and useful in dealing with people, in reality, he is not mad. Many times, however, Raskolnikov knowingly and unknowingly contradicts himself.

Chapter 33

Ego Psychology 8: Porfiry makes careful study of the psychological makeup of his suspects. His psychological analysis provides him with an explanation for Nikolay's false confession, as well as Raskolnikov's erratic behavior. Porfiry even admits to using pyschological games to disturb Raskolnikov's egotistical mind. When that is unsuccessful, Porfiry finally confronts Raskolnikov about his guilt because he believes that a young, megalomaniacal person like Raskolnikov could be rehabilitated through the criminal justice system.

Chapter 37

Ego Psychology 9: Svidrigailov has always lived for his fleshly desires. Like Raskolnikov, he has his own theory of living above his conscience, above the common people. But Dounia's final rejection leaves Svidrigailov feeling destitute. He realizes that he is unsatisfied with his life and ends up killing himself.

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