The Importance of Raskolnikov’s Dreams in Crime and Punishment

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The Importance of Raskolnikov’s Dreams in Crime and Punishment The function of dreams has been theorized and debated by scientists, but there has yet to be a consensus as to why people dream (Payne and Nadel). Some dream theorists believe that studies on dreaming have not conclusively shown that dreams have any real purpose or significance. On the other end of the spectrum, there are dream experts that find dreaming to be essential to our mental, emotional, and physical health. In Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, the dreams featured in the novel are essential to the moral growth of the protagonist, Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, and to the reader’s understanding of the character. Henry David Thoreau believed that “[d]reams are …show more content…
In the first dream, Raskolnikov is transported to his childhood hometown and is taken back to the time of his youth. He is able to recall the town of his birth “far more vividly in his dream than he had done in memory” (57; pt. 1, ch. 5). Young Raskolnikov walks with his father past a tavern that appears to have “some kind of festivity going on” with crowds of people singing outside as he travels to the church he used to attend as a child (57). The commotion and a large strange cart in front of the tavern catch Raskolnikov’s attention. Attached to the large cart is a haggard mare and according to the owner of the horse, Mikolka, the “mare is twenty [years old] if she is a day” (58). Mikolka begins to yell to the drunken folks positioned outside of the tavern to “Get in…I’ll make her gallop!” (58). The drunken and boisterous townspeople are skeptical, but they begin to climb onto the cart. Mikolka then whips the mare once he is satisfied with the amount of people in the cart. The weight is clearly too heavy for her and so she is unable to move. The crowd of people that has gathered to watch and play a role in this scene continue to shout as the owner and others begin to whip the mare relentlessly. Pushing with all her might, the mare still gains no distance. A few onlookers make known their

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