Jacques Madaule relates the following in his essay on Raskolnikov: "boredom is an affirmation of a man’s solitude"(80). Raskolnikov
, faced with the monotonous banality of every day existence with the masses
, seeks a means to detach himself from an insipid society
by rising above it. From this desire, his concept of the ordinary and extraordinary man is produced. Raskolnikov uses Napoleon
, as a points of reference for his theory, stating that, "they were without exception criminals, from the very fact that, making a new law
, they transgressed the ancient one, handed down from their ancestors and held sacred by the people
, and they did not stop short of bloodshed either…."(Dostoevsky 242). While propriety
dictates average men, Raskolnikov sees morality as a human construct that is relative to the society that man is part of. Like Mahomet, Lycurus, Solon, and Napoleon, Raskolnikov feels that he has the right to transgress moral
law. Moreover, Raskolnikov concludes that he can exert his will over others, for he believes that he, as a benefactor of society, is a capable of "giving a new word" to humanity(Dostoevsky 242). Following the Machiavellian idea of "the ends justify the means," Raskolnikov murders Aloyna Ivanovna because he sees her as part of the corruption in Russia
. She is "a kind of female minotaur
devouring the prey of society until a white knight
is able to destroy her"(Wasiolek 107) Raskolnikov believes that he is exemplifying altruism
in its purest form through committing a deplorable sin, however, there can be no sin in the absence of God. Because Raskolnikov is a self-determinist, he believes that he has become divine by denying the divinity of God. With no deity there is no fear of divine retribution, therefore, Raskolnikov believes that he has only to concern himself with staying out of the clutches of authorities who enforce the laws of mankind.
Although Raskolnikov evinces qualities that clearly place him above the rank and file, he falls short of being extraordinary. Raskolnikov's very essence trembles out of fear of being ordinary. Just what is an individual? Society would lead its members to believe that an individual is "a multitude of one million divided by one million." Mankind, with its anthill mentality, attempts to assimilate and mold humans to fit society's agenda. Down to the quick of his soul, Raskolnikov feels the tether being drawn into an unbreakable knot. Backed into a corner, without hope or means of escape, Raskolnikov becomes chattel and sustenance for the societal beast. Emerson extols the idea that, "imitation is suicide." Raskolnikov is truly a sympathetic figure, for he attempts to embrace originality and is run over by the societal juggernaut for his efforts. Orwell puts it succinctly in his novel 1984 when he states, "the future of an individual is a boot stomping a human face for eternity."