Dostoevsky 's Crime And Punishment And The Stranger Essay

1683 Words Oct 25th, 2016 7 Pages
Written in two different time periods, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Albert Camus’ The Stranger illustrate differing ideas on the influence of society on the individual. Published in 1866, Crime and Punishment draws on the ideas developing during the 19th century of Great Man Theory, the notions that there exists a tension between society and the individual, and that some individuals may transcend the influence of society act independent of societal forces. As such, society influences Raskolnikov, who tries to show he can transcend its pressure and ultimately fails in his attempt. In contrast, written after the first World War, The Stranger draws on modernist and existentialist ideas that a life does not have meaning by simply contributing to society. For this reason, society pressures Meursault into adopting its form of morality, yet Meursault sees fault in its ideas and remains independent. Therefore, in both Crime and Punishment and The Stranger, society plays a central role in influencing the murderers, yet while it overpowers Raskolnikov, Meursault succeeds in remaining largely independent from its pressures. In Crime and Punishment, society influences Raskolnikov in his actions leading up to and following the murder through his pursuit of wealth, his motives for the crime, and his change in morals. One major issue that Raskolnikov faces is that of money and status. In Russia during the 1860s, poverty was a pressing issue for students such as…

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