Literature; Crime; Psychology; Sociology
Criminologists in the nineteenth century gave much effort to identify, classify, and understand the physical, social, and psychological characteristics of the world’s criminals. Using the lens of these early criminological theories and the scholarly interpretations of Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov, this paper explores the dimensions of Raskolnikov as a criminal character. Ultimately, these developing psychological and criminal anthropological theories are not successful in explaining the character of Raskolnikov. This exploration sheds light on a fundamental characteristic of human nature that Dostoevsky understands. Just as Raskolnikov is unable to be fully characterized by his utilitarian social theories, and by the theories of early criminologists, humanity is fundamentally unable to be reduced to a theory.
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