Raskolnikov\'s Vivid Dream

Raskolnikov’s Vivid Dream
In Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky portrays the main character, Raskolnikov, in a complex and unique fashion. He could have been portrayed as the good guy, bad guy, or just your average man on the street, but Raskolnikov is displayed with more than just one persona. His range of actions and emotions is more of a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde type character. On the outside, he appears to be in control of his situation, but he is full of turmoil on the inside. Raskolnikov’s dream presents these different personas Dostoevsky has given him. This dream also gives the reader a good, inside look into Raskolnikov’s interior conflicts.
In the beginning of his dream, Raskolnikov is out in the street. He seems to be wandering around aimlessly, with no recollection of what he is supposed to be doing or why he is there. Meanwhile, everyone else in the dream is carrying on like nothing is wrong. Before I delve into the significance of this scene, I must note how important control is to him. He is an extremely proud man, and a complete control freak. In his view, everything in his life should revolve around him. The beginning of the dream represents the loss of this control in his life. It seems that no matter what he says or does, the world will continue to spin, and the people on it continue to go about their everyday business. He can almost be compared to the young teenage girl that he finds wandering in the street. It is as though he has been psychologically raped by the murders he has committed, but unaware that he is no longer in control of his situation. No matter how he wants to feel or act, he cannot help his instinctual habits and desires. For instance, his health starts to fail him and he has this compulsive desire to reveal himself to anybody and everybody. His actions show his lack of control over whether or not he gives himself away. It is hard to tell whether Raskolnikov consciously realizes this or not. Through his own self-absorbed ways he tries to come up with every possible excuse as to why he is feeling the way he is. He blames his irritation on bad company, hunger, the lack of sleep, etc. He does the best he can to fool himself into believing he has not lost control. However, for the reasons I mentioned above, I believe he never had it in the first place.
In the next part of his dream, Raskolnikov sees the man that had called him a murderer earlier in the book. The man beckons to him as though he knows Raskolnikov. This part of the dream is an indirect interpretation of Raskolnikov’s fear of exposure. As he is following the man, he is unsure if the man is beckoning to him or not. This compares to his real-life fear of not knowing if people are aware that he is the murderer. Many times throughout the book, Raskolnikov grows weak, because he thinks that he has been found out. However, the way he feels in his dream is very different, because he follows the man in the long coat. To a certain level, I feel that he wants to be found out, in his dream and in real-life. Even though it is a heinous crime he has committed, his own self-absorption blocks any sort of guilt we would assume a murderer should feel. I think it is a common known fact that most victims or victims’ family members want the perpetrator to feel some sort of guilt or remorse, but Raskolnikov feels nothing for the victims. His self-absorption gives him this sort of pride for having got rid of, what he considers, the scum of the Earth. Basically, his major conflict is not about remorse for what he has done. It is between his instinctive desire to confess and his stronger instinct of self-protection. I find it rather hard to interpret the scene in his dream where he tries to kill the old pawnbroker. This is a very significant scene, because it illuminates Raskolnikov’s fear of inferiority. At first he feels sorry for her, because he