Great Books IV Final Paper Rough Draft: Raskolnikov’s Dreams in Crime and Punishment help him see truths he cannot accept in reality.
Most people dream. Dreams allow us to be able to be what we cannot be in real life and say what we cannot say. There are many theories of dreams some of which can be seen in the classic Russian novel Crime and Punishment written by Fyodor Dostoevsky. The main Character, Raskolnikov, carries out treacherous acts which lead to guilt. This guilt leads to Raskolnikov becoming ill and other consequences. Many times throughout his illness he experiences symbolic dreams. Raskolnikov’s dreams help him to see truths that he will not accept when he is awake.
In his first dream, Raskolnikov imagines himself as a little boy with his father. As they were walking to the church, they both notice a drunken man, Mikolka, and a group of drunken friends who are all beating his horse to death for walking too slowly and failing to pull a well overloaded cart. “‘Hop in! Hop in, all of yer!’ Shouts Mikolka. ‘She’ll take the lot of yer. I’ll flog ‘er dead!’” (Dostoevsky 53). When the horse fails to pull the men in the cart, Mikolka and the group of drunken men beat the horse to death before the eyes of the child, Raskolnikov. Only after the mare has been killed with whips and crow bars does Raskolnikov wake up from his dream.
Behind Mikokla’s act of violence in the dream, is the larger plan of Raskolnikov to murder the old pawnbroker lady. Despite the differences in Mikolka and Raskolnikov, the act of murder is the same Mikolka hates his victim, the horse, as much as Raskolnikov hates the pawnbroker. The imagery of the peasant standing over the mare with an axe later mirrors Raskolnikov standing over the pawnbroker administering fatal blows. This shows, however, that Raskolnikov does have some heart. The truth is, he doesn’t really want to commit the murder. Mikolka, on the other hand feels as though society would benefit from the horse’s murder and this is how Raskolnikov feels. Because of how he felt towards Alyona he sees of himself murdering the women just like Mikolka murders the horse.
At one point in the book Raskolnikov faints, again, and gets a very bad fever. While he is unconscious, he has his third dream. He dreams that he goes back to the apartment in which he murdered Alyona and her sister Lizaveta. He then noticed a coat that seemed out of place and walked toward it. When he pulls the coat back he sees the face of Alyona. “Fury seized him. With all his might, he began to smash the old woman on the head but with every blow of the ax the laughter…became louder and louder” (Dostoevsky 267). Surrounded by laughter, it becomes clear to Raskolnikov that he feels guilty and will never be free as long as the murder is unresolved.
Raskolnikov no longer had the ability to escape from the guilt he was feeling for murdering Alyona and more importan...