Evil is a character in nature that is marked by bad moral qualities bringing about harm and misfortune. In a rational world, with a superior goal demanding righteousness and peace, evil disrupts society and results in sorrow, distress, or calamity. Evil is an almighty force of nature that has forever corrupted societies relentlessly, never to be halted. As far back as history will tell, evil has shown it’s wicked face. Evil has transgressed through centuries, hindering those who it has come to and sometimes the environment surrounding. This dire forceful has seeded traits in mankind that have grown due to society.
Forces of it’s strong antithesis, good, have fought to overcome and be rid of evil succeeding at times maybe in battle but never in the war. It seems that due to the caliber of its force and prevalence in society, man may never see an end to evil. Supporting this theory is the fact that there is a never-ending battle to resolve this sinister force. Evil has shown so overpowering that it is part of every creature and being in the known world. It comes in many different forms, styles, and shapes. Everyday life consists of many types of evil showing forth, disguising itself at times or at other putting itself in a clear eye’s view.
This all depends on the creature it is within. Those who consider or have been considered by society as “good” are the ones that have resisted and fought off this compelling force. On the contrary, as nature has revealed, evil in some creatures is too much a part of them for it to be held down. Resulting factors illustrate the argument to the belief that evil results when man interrupts natural processes. (Americana 731) Philosophers and educated people alike, for centuries have argued the conflict of nature versus nurture as two possible causes of evil in man.
The nature theory supports that man is inherently evil in a sense that there is no one to blame for his or her evil but oneself. On the other hand, the idea of nurture relays the cause of evil in man due to his society, environment, and peers. Instances throughout time, have brought evidence to support both theories defining why the conflict still exists. In order to decide if the cause is nature or nurture in a certain occurrence, one can break the evil into three categories of moral, radical, and metaphysical.
These broad categories entail different “kinds” of evil broken down into groups, putting them in order of harshness according to the form in which they appear. In the novel Crime and Punishment, the author Feodor Dostoevsky paints a picture of a man’s environment and how evil has affected him. This “environment” reveals a dark, depressing society lurking with instances of evil. Through his characters’ trials and tribulations, Dosteovsky answers the question of the cause of evil in man in the forms of moral, radical, and metaphysical. Crime and Punishment portrays evil mostly in the main character Raskolnikov.
This main character is constantly weathered with mixed emotions driving him at times almost to delirium. Dosteovsky focuses frequently upon the wicked, yet normal mind of Raskolnikov. Dosteovsky’s powerful appeal to our intellectual interests is most directly and naturally linked to the action. (Rahv 592) In other words, Dosteovsky is showing how a relatively intelligent person is vulnerable to indulge in such pure evil. Moral evil categorizes evil as wrongful actions done knowingly to misfortune or harm in a society consisting of moral principles.
Examples in past and present time include common traits such as greed, lust, and hate. Particular crimes associated with moral evil are robbery, rape, and extortion. These actions are subject to judgment and punishment, mitigation, and aggravation, repentance and remission. (Shattuck 76) The main character, Raskolnikov displays two instances of moral evil. Although, these occurrences are not in relation to one another; they still hold the same breakdown or category. Raskolnikov through his confused state plots and commits the murder of a pawnbroker.
During his past experiences doing business with her and due to the talk in the city, he became knowledgeable of her vast riches. In addition, he even knew where in her home she kept them. One day Raskolnikov overheard a conversation of two men on the street, “She is quite famous…. She always has money to lay out. She’s as rich as a Jew, she can put up her hand on five thousand rubles at once, and yet she doesn’t turn up her nose at the interest on a ruble! ” After fiercely beating the old woman to death, Raskolnikov crept into her room and began to rummage through her belongings, pocketing all the jewels and other riches he could find. Hastily he began turning everything over, and found a number of gold articles thrust in among the rags, bracelets, chains, pins, and so forth, probably pledges, some of them perhaps unredeemed. He began to cram them hastily in them pockets of his overcoat and trousers. ” (Dosteovsky 76) This instance entailed the crime of robbery that stemmed from his personality trait of greed that overpowered his conscience. Peter Petrovich, Raskolnikov’s sister’s fiancé, displays his moral evil side by framing a young girl.
Petrovich devised and followed through with a plan to accuse an innocent person of stealing by purposely planting evidence on them. His victim was Sonya Seminovna, who was a daughter of Raskolnikov’s friend Marmeladov. Petrovich invited Sonya to his friend Lebezyatnikov’s apartment, where he gave her ten rubles (Russian currency) as a charity. He stealthily slipped a one hundred ruble note into her jacket as she was exiting the apartment. With this, he proceeded to enter a gathering at the home of the landlord of the building in which Sonya and her family dwell.
At the gathering, Petrovich viciously accused Sonya of the crime, and even had her searched. With this, the supposed stolen money was found on Sonya resting Petrovich’s case. Lebezyatnikov followed by stepping in and explaining the truth of the matter. This demonstrated how Petrovich set Sonya up, changing the surrounding people’s belief of Sonya’s alleged crime. Petrovich’s evil in this situation was greed. He wanted Raskolnikov’s sister and mother to loathe Sonya. Peter knew that this accusation would upset them, and cause them to think little of Sonya. Also this would turn them against Raskolnikov.
The reason being that Petrovich told the ladies that Raskolnikov had given the money they sent him to Sonya, not to Sonya’s family. Basically he was attempting to bring problems to who he hoped was soon to be his family. Raskolnikov reveals another type of moral evil without his physical actions included. Raskolnikov had a strong hatred for Peter Petrovich. After his sister lost her position as a governess, income situations for her, her mother, and Raskolnikov became tight. Peter Petrovich was a wealthy bureaucrat, which enticed Dunya to marry him, knowing the benefits financially….. for her family.
Raskolnikov despised Peter Pervich for who he was and forbid such a marriage. He loathed the fact of his sister marrying to help him and his mother. “This marriage shall never take place while I live, and Mr. Luzhin may go to the devil. ” (Dosteovsky 37) Adding to his hatred was the allegation and set up of Sonya. Raskolnikov realized that Petrovich’s reasoning behind his scheme was to indeed infuriate his mother and sister. Peter knew that Dunya and her mother would be furious with Raskolnikov if they believed that the money they sent him went not to Marmeladov’s funeral, but to Sonya herself.
This sneaky, deliberate motive enraged his hatred to unspeakable terms. The three occurrences of evil seem to the naked eye as a muted or lower form of evil. Yet indeed these instances portray large means of evil. Society has set them on a smaller scale viewing them as persay “not that bad. ” On the contrary, a more wicked type has been made to seem more punishable. The form is radical evil. Radical evil explains a physically vicious, violent side to evil. “It applies to immoral behavior so persuasive in a person or a society that scruples and constraints have been utterly abandoned. (Shattuck 76) Murder, torture, and genocide all relate to Raskolnikov in it’s most prevalent sense. “The ultimate motive as unrestrained power based on force, not on law. ” (Shattuck 76) The common man sees this as the ugliest and unforsaken category of evil. The radical evil in Crime and Punishment shows forth strongest in Raskolnikov.
One of these occurrences entails Raskolnikov committing a crime and the other happens subconsciously. Although it’s a dream, Raskolnikov’s dreams go beyond the common mans’. They all involve extreme violence, bringing it almost to reality. The character lives a furtive nightmare existence, whereas their dreams are so sharply accurate as to be mistaken for real experiences. ” (Mortimer 654) Raskolnikov felt a powerful urge as he left the pawnbrokers flat one day. That feeling was curiosity placed on a dark side. He began to plot the murder of the old woman. first obtaining an ax, and then setting a time and place. Once decided, he proceeded to brutally beat the old woman to death with the ax. “Then he struck her again and yet again, with all his strength, always with the blunt side of the axe, and always on the crown of the head.
Blood poured out as if from an overturned glass and the body toppled over on it’s back. (Dosteovsky 74) A short time after the old woman died, her younger sister walked in, in which Raskolnikov reacted to split her head for the sake of no witnesses. Two murders were fiercely committed for the sake of simple curiosity. Preceding these murders Raskolnikov dreamt a horrible detailed nightmare. The scene included a young boy watching an old mare being savagely beaten by a group of peasants. The main character of the dream, Mikolka, basically represented Raskolnikov subconsciously.
Mikolka was upset that the mare wouldn’t gallop; for the horse was old, decrepit and could barely walk. Knowingly, Mikolka and his crew whipped the horse mercilessly, becoming wilder and angrier as the beating persisted. “Mikolka lost his temper and began raving blows on the little mare in a passion of anger, as if he really expected her to gallop. ” (Dosteovsky 54) The horse showered in it’s own blood, finally died The murder of the two women and the beating of the horse show wicked, bone chattering, pure evil. The taking of life unfortunately is and has always been the way in which radical evil has commonly occurred.
What makes evil essentially radical is not the motive involved, but the post-motive actions of the culprit. A being’s personal characteristics hold strong responsibility for the evil actions committed. Their attitude feeds toward the reason for the malignancy when it is expressed. A wicked attitude one might pervay before and/or after the sin is committed, sometimes is more baneful and frightening than the action itself. This attitude is categorized as metaphysical evil. In other terms metaphysical evil is the designated attitude of assent and approval toward moral and radical evil. Shattuck 76) This “face” behind the evil is usually motivated by a feeling of superior human will and power. Crime and Punishment portrays metaphysical evil at its darkest points. Raskolnikov reveals this evil in his conscience and subconscience mind as in the radical form.
The murder of the two woman also convey’s Raskolnikov’s metaphysically evil side. When the beating of the old woman was finished and he was rummaging through her room this form faced forth. “He was even laughing at himself into his mind, the idea that perhaps the old woman was still alive and might yet recover consciousness. (Dosteovsky 74) The basic point of Raskolnikov laughing for any reason at such a time displays his metaphysical evil. The obvious fear and disgruntlement evoked in the readers mind ultimately supports that fact. Raskolnikov also expresses this misery in his dream that entailed the ghastly beating of the horse. “Suddenly there was a great explosion of laughter that drowned everything else… Even the old man could not help laughing. ” Dosteovsky 54) These men were not only torturing the helpless animal, but were enjoying it too.
The laughter created during the peasants’ gruesome antics was brought by the metaphysical turpitude lurking in Raskolnikov’s head. Moral, radical, and metaphysical categories of evil breakdown one’s reasoning to better support the argument of nature versus nurture. Crime and Punishment has shown that evil in man is inherent and is brought in no other way. Yes indeed society can initially bring the evil, but impart can not “plant the seed. ” Curiosity and desire lie within every creature, and are also two of the simplest forms of evil.
What some today don’t realize are the particular universal actions and ideas, of people are themselves purely evil. The customary human desire for sexual actions displays this. Sex is an action induced by lust. Lust is a primary moral evil. Every creature contains this feeling, and whether they decide to express it is influenced by their environment. Raskolnikov was curious to find what is like to commit murder. His personality and attitude coerced him into action. The personality he attributed was swayed by his environment, but yet something must have been there to be vacillated.
What, that is influenced in a man can be compared to a seed. The larger the seed of evil in a creature, the more chance it has to grow to sinister levels. In a sense, one might only reveal it with lust, while another is murdering numerous individuals. That statement exhibits the point at which one’s environment takes over. Therefore proving that an inevitably “good” creature is labeled that way because that creature is winning the battle against his own evils. and attitude coerced him into action. The personality he attributed was swayed by his environment, but yet something