Apathy in Crime and Punishment

One thing we see about Raskolnikov time and time again in the begging of the book, is his chronic lack of caring about anything.

That’s actually how the book starts:

a young man left the closet he rented from tenants… walked out to the street, and slowly, as if indecisively

Later in the book we see everything from Raskolnikov walking to strange places without caring, making bad life decisions because he didn’t care, and ruining other people’s lives because he didn’t care.

All of this changes very quickly and very much after the murder of the pawnbroker.

Suddenly, Raskolnikov cares about who hears what, and suddenly there are people around him more and more often.  We see this when he asks Razumihin what he said while asleep, and when he talks to Zaroff in the restaurant.  Everything about this formerly characteristically apathetic boy is turned upside down, as his every action becomes more articulate and deliberate, not to mention his intentions become more sinister.

We see this most when the walk into Porfiry’s house.  Raskolnikov normally walks around with his head down, thinking to himself.  This time, we see an entirely new side to him that is pretty scary.  He thinks about how he can make himself seem innocent in front of the investigator, and then teases Razumin to make Razumhim seem upset, while he walks in laughing and cheery.  This entire manipulation of the sitauation shows that, not only is Raskolnikov extremely intelligent, but he knows just how to push people’s buttons to get them to do what he wants.  He’s a manipulator.  We see him being a bit of a manipulator with Zaroff in the tea place, but it’s a bit different.  There, he is trying to hint to Zaroff that he is, in fact the killer.  The incident at Porfiry’s house is totally different.



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