Crime and Punishment and Frankenstein
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Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Frankenstein by Mary Shelly are two novels which explore the mind and the morality of human nature. One, an epic work of psychic exploration and great depth, the other a tragic story of the cruelness of mankind. In Crime and Punishment, the rehabilitation of man, and the decaying psyche of a criminal are two ideas that are not only evident, but are the roots of many discussions about humanity and the nature of the human mind. In Frankenstein, the cruelness of man and his both denial and impending acceptance of responsibility for his actions are two themes that are seen throughout the novel.
In one of Dostoevsky’s grandest and most famous works, Crime and Punishment, we are taken on a journey through the mind of a murder, the lives of those who surround him, and his rehabilitation. This murderer, Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, is a genius in his own mind, but lets his wit get the best of him. Clouded by paranoia and delusions, his mind is constantly a tossing, turning, scattered place. In Mary Shelly’s novel of tragic loss and the cruelness of man, we learn the story of Victor Frankenstein, a man who let ambition and the consequences of his actions follow him unto his death. The consequences of his actions are a constant weight upon his soul, and make him very uneasy. He feels that he is responsible for the fate that has befallen his friends, family, and himself.
Both novels explore similar themes of human nature and the mind of man. They both also use similar literary techniques and points of view. In Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, we learn about how one’s own conscience can destroy his mind, and the fear of being caught can drive a man to absolute paranoia. In Frankenstein, the responsibility of creating such a monstrosity has a similar effect, and makes Victor Frankenstein extremely ill. In Crime and Punishment, the point of view changes to whichever character we are most intimate with at the current point in the story. In Frankenstein, a similar technique is followed.
There are also some key differences between Frankenstein and Crime and Punishment. This is seen in not only the sheer size difference, but also in the meaning of which the two novels where written. In the author’s foreword in Frankenstein, she explains that the story was written in a ghost story contest she was having with her two friends. Fyodor Dostoevsky lived in a time without freedom of speech, and a time of much political unrest. His novel is a literary masterpiece that comments on many issues of his time including religion, politics, and the nature of people.
Frankenstein is a tale of tragic loss and consequence that touches on the ideas of responsibility, human nature, and the cruelness of mankind. Crime and Punishment is an epic work that not only takes us through the mind of a killer, but discusses in depth many topics of psychology and politics. The tone of both novels also seems to differ. In Frankenstein, Victor is often troubled and has to deal with the deaths that he has caused, but there are moments of calmness, an undercurrent of the appreciation of the natural beauty of the world. In Crime and Punishment, though sometimes relieved but more enlightening characters, the tone is darker and more uneasy. The settings are always crowded, dirty, and poor. In Frankenstein, the settings are cleaner, sometimes darker, and at times more serene.
Crime and Punishment, and Frankenstein: two novels that explore the depths of the human mind. Through psychological discussions, interrogations, and entering the minds of two very different, but similar characters, we learn about the thoughts of two authors that desire to spark the minds of others. Crime and Punishment sparks discussions about politics, the rehabilitation of man, how each character is unique and plays a vital part in the story, and the hazed, decaying mind of a killer. Frankenstein tugs at our heartstrings with the power of our actions and the destroying effects of their consequences.
Two novels alike, two novels very different- Crime and punishment and Frankenstein are a pair of novels that were written in completely different settings, and for completely different reasons, yet still touch on very similar subjects. As it is so that the topics of human nature, action and consequence, and man’s conscience are so very universal. Books have been written about these topics and they will continue to be written forever more. Crime and Punishment and Frankenstein are just two in the numerous list of literary masterpieces that have been written and will continue to be written; forever more.