Foil and Symbol in Crime and Punishment

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Term Papers- foil and symbol Foil: A literary device where the author creates a character whose primary purpose is to create a contrast to another character by laying emphasis or drawing attention to the latter’s traits and characteristics through the former’s obviously contradictory one. Raskolnikov and Svidrigailov Raskolnikov | Svidrigailov | * Inately a good person who is driven by his ideals. When he realizes his ideals are not good, he feels guilty. * Continually has an internal struggle * Desires to help others when he feels guilty * Wants to convince himself that there is a chance for an atonement, and despairs when he doubts the possibility of redemption. | * Very self- absorbed * Believes pursuit of pleasure is the most important thing in life * Helps other solely to make himself feel better * Indifferent to moral consequence * Nothing is entirely good or entirely evil * Recognizes he is disgusting * Accepts that he cannot force society to conform to his desires | Svidrigailov comes closest to living Raskolnikov’s “extraordinary man” philosophy. Svidrigailov is an important character in Crime and Punishment because his decisions and lifestyle portray the punishment and fate of men who adhere to the “extraordinary man” theory. There comes a point in the novel when both Raskolnikov and Svidrigailov feel a sense of hopelessness and listlessness for their beliefs and actions. Raskonikov, however, is redeemed by his love for Sonya and the love his friends and family. He experiences humility. Donya does not love Svidrigailov, and he can no longer enjoy simple pleasures and looks forward to nothing. Svirigailov exemplifies the redemption and happiness that comes to Raskolnikov because the have two very different fates. Svidrigailov proves that the “extraordinary man” theory cannot produce anything worthwhile.

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