In this post, I would like for you to discuss your thoughts on Raskolnikov and how he relates to the Superman theory, byronic heroism, and existential heroism.
Superman Theory: Raskolnikov commits his crime in order to prove his own idea of the "Extraordinary Man" theory (taken from Nietzsche & Hegel). Raskolnikov believes that all men fall into one of two categories: ordinary, and extraordinary. The ordinary man lives in submission to the law, the extraordinary man has a right to bypass the law. A man who is extraordinary possesses the knowledge to put into practice ideologies that can change civilization. So, Caesar, Napoleon, Ghandi, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, MLK; all of these men would be considered "extraordinary" due to their ability to be innovative. Extraordinary men must give back to society, even if they must break laws to do so. Raskolnikov murders the old woman because he believes that the ends will justify the means. She is a plague on society, and therefore must be removed. But, his experience of guilt directly following the act challenges his status as an extraordinary man, because in theory, only ordinary men would experience this. Read into the above philosopher's theories if you would like to know more. Then, discuss in detail your opinion of Raskolnikov. Does he fit into the extraordinary category? Why or why not? Will one even know if they do?
Byronic Hero: The byronic hero is usually isolated from society, or a wanderer. He is highly intelligent and prideful, and when his pride is challenged, he loses his identity. This hero is moody, incredibly emotional, arrogant, confident, and extremely self conscious. He is known to disagree with societal rules and morality, and does not hesitate to rebel against it. When he does rebel, he is usually unrepentant regarding it (think Heathcliffe and his pride, he would never admit regretting his decision until it was too late). The Byronic hero is the quintessential brooding "bad boy", and is, therefore, unsettling, and fascinating. It seems safe to assume that a byronic hero is often romantically involved with an innocent lover, the "light to his dark", but can never seem to live up to her goodness. Discuss your opinion, Is this the category that Raskolnikov fits? How does Sonya affect this one?
Existential Hero: Think Grendel, Grendel, Grendel! Existential heros face an existential crisis, they begin to feel as if their lives are pointless, and begin to question...why are we here? After much consideration, and usually a trip down the nihilistic road, existential heroes come to the conclusion that life is absurd, and meaningless. They create their own destiny, only themselves, "blink by blink" (Grendel). They leave the realm of nihilism and become heroic, it seems, in the decision to embrace life regardless of this absurdity. Their attitude is their choice. They find comfort in the fact that there is...nothing, and they are free to create their own universe, at will. These characters usually come off as brass, morose, disillusioned, and crazy. Does Raskolnikov find his home here? Why or why not? Did he experience an existential crisis? Dally in nihilism? Explain your thoughts.