Crime And Punishment "Is There Not Such A Thing As Crime?" Disdusses Crime And Punishment, By Feodor Dostoevsky, Beloved, By Toni Morrison, And Utopia, By Sir Thomas More

1221 words - 5 pages

Part 2, Question 1 - Is there or is there not such a thing as crime?For this question, I have chosen to discuss the following three works of literature:Crime and Punishment, by Feodor Dostoevsky, Beloved, by Toni Morrison, and Utopia,by Sir Thomas More.To begin with an omniscient and philosophical frame of reference, crime is onlydefined as crime by the society defining it. When a mass of human beings coagulate to¬gether and form a civilized society, they are bound to make rules and laws to follow andbide by; for laws are one of the cornerstones of a civilized society. If there were no laws,society would be uncivilized and in a chaotic state of anarchy. These laws are decided ...view middle of the document...

In Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, the laws are already defined in EarlyNineteenth century St. Petersburg, Russia. Henceforth, when one breaks a law they havecommitted a crime and are eligible for arrest and punishment by the upholders of law insociety, the police. A particular act that is defined as criminal is that of murder.Raskolnikov knows of this very well, for he has committed two murders, both of them ille¬gal and in cold blood. Obviously, this act is defined as criminal because of the moral andlegal implications one faces when committing it. Most, if not all people in Russia at thattime would agree that murder is defined as a crime.But Raskolnikov has other ideas about his crime. At first, he committed the mur¬der of the old moneylender only for his monetary gain, and her daughter was a totallyunintentional murder. After the murder, once Raskolnikov has thought the implicationsof it over, he matures intellectually and sides with his extraordinary man theory. Using thisview, Raskolnikov feels he has transgressed crime...The particular act of murder is defined as a moral crime by most people's con¬sciences, and also by the authorities. This is such a simple concept, it is just difficult to putinto words. Murder is illegal and very wrong, as seen by the people of 'civilized'civilizations, God, and the police. Enough said.In Morrison's Beloved, the laws are again defined and well established in EarlyNineteenth century rural Ohio, although they are skewed toward white people; blackpeople have almost no rights at all. Various acts that occurred in this book can be consid¬ered criminal acts. The acts of infanticide and segregation were definitely criminal acts,due to the morals involved. We as humans were raised by our parents and environmentto learn that murder [infanticide] is ethically evil. So, using this knowledge we automati¬cally process this information as wrong! That is why it is difficult to extrapolate in writingon the subject of why particular acts are defined...

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