Crime and Punishment


crime and punishment

Have you ever realized that anarchy and nihilism are somewhat connected? An anarchy is a system of people that runs without a government. This means that there is not an overall authority that rules over all of the people like a democracy or a monarchy would. In the same sense, nihilism is a rejection of authority. So, then, we can deduce that some anarchists can also be nihilists. However, have you ever wondered how these kinds of ¬†mindsets operate? Think of it this way–who makes the laws? Who decides what is right and wrong? In the days of cruel monarchy, some great thinkers began to think in this manner of rejecting authority. Author Fyodor Dostoevsky writes about this kind of thinking in his novel entitled¬†Crime and Punishment.

Crime and Punishment

Nihilistic thoughts

The main character, whose name is Raskolnikov, decides that he must murder a wayward pawnbroker and take her money because she is evil. While this may not seem out of the ordinary, it is actually a look into how a nihilist might think.

The law obviously prohibits murder. However, here is Raskolnikov, a young law student, who thinks that his moral compass is stronger than that of the government’s law. In thinking this, he decides to act out of his own conscious rather than obeying the law set out for him. This is clearly a rejection of authority and shows some nihilistic thinking.

Throughout this novel, Raskolnikov continues to think this way, and it leads him down a treacherous path to what seems to his bitter end. However, his change of mind towards the end leads to redemption.