“Which action would give the greatest number of people the greatest pleasure? ” is a question a functional would request him or perhaps herself before making a decision. Utilitarianism is the belief system in which an action is recognized as ethically acceptable if that action rewards a large number of people. The book Crime and Punishment simply by Fyodor Dostoyevsky explores mid-nineteenth century utilitarianism as a inspiration of characters’ actions, while demonstrating his own perspective on the viewpoint. Dostoyevsky will be able to reveal the actual selfish and unselfish character of character types, such as Raskolnikov and Sonya, through each of their uses of utilitarianism.
First, Raskolnikov selfishly uses utilitarianism to hide his true motivations behind murdering the pawnbroker, Alyona Ivanovna. Raskolnikov reasons to himself that Alyona Ivanovna is a skinnelegeme to society by hoarding all of her money instead of helping the poor. By killing her and using her money to help others, Raskolnikov decides that he would always be carrying out a very good deed. Raskolnikov first provides the idea of murdering her once overhearing one particular man within a bar telling another, “A hundred thousands of good actions could be done and helped, on that old woman’s cash which will be left in a monastery! [¦] For starters life hundreds would be salvaged from corruption and decay” (Dostoyevsky 54). Here, the writer emphasizes the negative result of enabling Alyona Ivanovna live. Eliminating her would have beneficial results for the poor, who be given one more opportunity in life. Despite Raskolnikov’s utilitarian pretenses, his logic demonstrates to be meaningless when he as well kills Lizaveta Ivanovna, the pawnbroker’s innocent sister whose death may not have taken advantage of anyone. Moreover, Raskolnikov him self confesses down the line that he really murdered Alyona Ivanovna in order to provide evidence that he was an “extraordinary man” who can break moral boundaries for the greater good. This shows that Raskolnikov did not completely accept his vulnerable condition, though having been destitute, this individual wanted to build that he was still over others and seize some kind of freedom by some means, also violence. From this example, Dostoyevsky recognizes that utilitarianism can easily always be misused to disguise motives behind ignoble actions.
Next, Dounia’s decision to marry Pyotr Petrvich Luzhin is also based on an unselfish type of utilitarianism. Dounia had not been in love with her fiance. In fact , Pulcheria actually wrote in her notification to her son, Rodion Raskolnikov, “[Dounia] has been in a sort of fever for the last few days, and has already made a normal plan for your becoming in the long run an associate and even a partner in Pyotr Petrovich’s legal business [¦] we certainly have [great hopes] of his helping us to pay for the university studies” (Dostoyevsky 30-1). Dounia and Pulcheria include based their decision of Dounia’s matrimony solely around the prospect of improvement of their family’s well being. When Dounia, as a bride-to-be, should be organizing and getting excited on her behalf wedding, the lady instead excites herself over the idea that her brother may get a exclusive job and finish his research at the university or college. Raskolnikov, knowing from the letter itself that Luzhin is usually not a good man, responds by stating, “It’s very clear enough: for [Dounia’s self], on her behalf comfort, to save her lifestyle she would not really sell himself, but for another individual she is carrying it out! [¦] Which what it all amounts to, for her brother, for her mom, she will sell off herself! She will sell anything! ” (Dostoyevsky 36). Dostoyevsky uses the dialogue of Pulcheria and Raskolnikov to reveal both the hopes of mother and child set on Luzhin, and Raskolnikov’s rejection and sense of self-pride. In this way, however , this is certainly another part of utilitarianisms negative aspects, with Raskolnikov in an anti-utilitarian position through this situation. Thus, Dostoyevsky demonstratesonce again that the utilitarian attitude and reason for actionsthat hurt persons, Dounia in this case, can be harmful and can wrap up making everybody involved more serious off.
Dostoyevsky juxtaposes Pulcheria’s and Raskolnikov’s people through their very own dialogue. While Pulcheria contains a motherly, family-oriented nature, Raskolnikov’s dialogue displays his excessive conceit and insecurity in accepting others’ help. Furthermore, by choosing to marry Luzhin for her family’s sake, Dounia is choosing the action that benefits the most people. She would sacrifice her happiness and a chance for marrying someone she really loves on her family’s joy. However , this plan of action backfires after when the girl realizes that marrying Luzhin will not gain her family members at all due to his miserly personality. In cases like this, utilitarianism endeavors to undo-options the problems of Raskolnikov’s family, and Dounia’s selfishness can be reflected in the manner she tools utilitarianism. Additionally, it highlights right after between Douniaand her brother, by different Raskolnikov’s haughtiness with Dounia’s humility and honesty.
Sonya shows unselfish utilitarianism by to become prostitute in order to support her poverty-stricken family members. Her dad, a drunkard, is constantly unemployed. Any job he gains, he loses shortly after. It’s up to Sonya to create home funds, and therefore meals to the table, hence the family might survive. When Raskolnikov visits Sonya for the first time, he says to her, “But you best sinner, accurate [¦] along with your worst bad thing is that you have destroyed and betrayed yourself for nothing. Just isn’t that afraid? [¦] It will be better, one thousand times better and better to jump into the drinking water and end it all! “(Dostoyevsky 255). Sonya responds to him, “But what could become of them? ” (Dostoyevsky 255). Sonya does not mind in the least that Raskolnikov abuse her so directly, the girl seems to think what he is saying holds true. The author juxtaposes Raskolnikov’s and Sonya’s personalities in this case. The fact that Raskolnikov is indeed forthright with the way in which he takes liberties when talking to Sonya shows his selfishness. This contrasts sharply with her humility and meaning innocence. She understands that although her prostitution does not help her relatives rise out of poverty, it is only as a result of her that they can be able to endure. She has sold herself on her family, and it becomes obvious to the reader that she would go to increased lengths in order to secure an improved future on her behalf family. While both Raskolnikov and Sonya know, actually suicide could only serve to put her out of her unhappiness, but it probably would not help her family at all. By doing the utmost that the lady can to assist her relatives, Sonya is definitely applying a utilitarian calculusto her lifestyle. She turns into a martyr on her behalf beloved relatives, and by receiving the responsibility of breadwinner, she demonstrates her capabilities of empathy and understanding, the particular attributes that Raskolnikov does not have.
Finally, Svidrigailov shows unselfish utilitarianism after he realizes that he just causes discomfort to Dounia and that she is going to continue to refuses his appreciate. Soon, Svidrigailov performs various acts of charity and good actions before his suicide, for the purpose of injecting his existence with meaning. He takesSonya’s siblings to an orphanage and securestheir well-being, offering Sonya three thousand rubles to use to travel to Siberia with Raskolnikov when he is locked up, and giving fifteen 1000 rubles to his fiancee’s family. Once Sonya’s daddy dies, Svidrigailov even explains to Raskolnikov, “I will take on all the agreements, the funeral and that. You know it’s a query of money and, as I told you, I have lots to spare” (Dostoyevsky 343). Additionally , this individual lies to everyone that he is heading off to America for quite a while. This lay allows him to go away without question and die without opposition to his suicide. His generous acts offer his death a utilitarian meaning because his death leaves others better off. Finally, even his suicide is known as a utilitarian action. By about to die, he is eliminating himself via Dounia’s life, in which he had only caused unhappiness and struggles. Svidrigailov’s acts of utilitarianism differ from others’ functions in that he performs these people as a result of being a changed man. Even though Svidrigailov’s true mother nature is not really generous, he becomes and so once this individual realizes he has no reason for life any further. Overall, Svidrigailov’s true personality ultimately succumbs to utilitarianism. The author’s choice of making Svidrigailov a dynamic character allows Dostoyevsky to represent a different potential application of utilitarianism. The author recognizes that the practical outlookcould also be used in an attempt to froid. Moreover, utilitarianism used in a purely unselfish way can provide for some peoplea better, even more meaningful existence.
The lesson Dosteyevsky leaves the reader with is the fact sacrifice is crucial to utilitarianism, and the sacrifice is not necessarily worth the reward. The pawnbroker’s life is sacrificed to supposedly support society, Dounia attempts to sacrifice her married life on her family’s well being, Sonya eschew her existence for her family’s survival, and Svidrigailov surrender his a single cent and lifestyle to help others. Throughout Offense and Treatment, utilitarianism shows the true characteristics of a persona through her or his willingness to sacrifice. In addition , the author’s use of accommodement and characters’ behavior allowsDostoyevsky to convey his own perspective that ideologies, such as utilitarianism, should not be used blindly and are useful or not with regards to the specificsof specific situation.