Should the character of Raskolnikov be considered a madman or a mentally disturbed person? Throughout the novel, Raskolnikov displays many symptoms that can be considered crazy. On the other hand, there are several mental defects that fit with Raskolnikov's behavior. Analyzing Raskolnikov correctly is not completely possible, nor is proving he was mad and not sick. Raskolnikov's actions throughout 'Crime and Punishment', however, can prove that he suffers from several mental illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and paranoia.
Schizophrenia is one of the many diseases that cause the disruption of daily life. It is a disabling chronic disease that affects the brain and way of thinking. People who have this disease tend to suffer from a wide range of symptoms including suicidal thoughts, poor hygiene, and distorted thought methods. This disease can cause the afflicted to fear other people have power over them and their minds, when in reality, there is no such situation. There are many other symptoms to this disease, but it is still debilitating no matter what symptoms a schizophrenic have (“Schizophrenia”; “Schizophrenia: Trusted”).
Raskolnikov appears to suffer from schizophrenia because he has unusual thoughts, hallucinations, and the inability to speak normally. Some of the regular indicators of schizophrenia are described as, “[…] unusual thoughts or perceptions, including hallucinations, delusions, thought disorder, and disorders of movement,” along with the previously mentioned symptoms (“Schizophrenia: Trusted”). Raskolnikov's thought processes, and the thoughts themselves, are anything but normal. He contemplates killing his landlady, even though he really has no reason. He also, before the murders, “[…] bec[a]me so completely absorbed in himself, and isolated from his fellows that he dreaded meeting […] any one at all” (Dostoevsky 1). This state of mind can be classified as a “thought disorder” where there is a “loss of contact with reality” (“Schizophrenia”).
[...] Throughout the novel, Raskolnikov definitely shows the symptom of hallucinations. A hallucination is “something a person sees, hears, smells, or feels that no one else can see, hear, smell, or feel” (“Schizophrenia”). His first hallucination is of the beating of an old mare, and he later has another of the beating of his landlady. The dreams themselves provide many disturbing details such as the description of the beating of the mare as blow[s] fell; the mare staggered, sank back, tried to pull, but the bar fell again with a swinging blow on her back and she fell on the ground like a (Dostoevsky 61). [...]
[...] Raskolnikov tries to buy in to the belief that there are some people in the world who are more elite than the others, and than these elite have the right to transgress moral law. He also desperately clings to the idea that he is a “superman” or one of the elite figures. He keeps talking himself into different situations, which make him seem like he is going insane. He feels like he is higher than the common people and that killing the pawnbroker was good for all. [...]
[...] Raskolnikov may not have always been dealing with a paranoia disorder, but after he committed the murders, his actions changed, reacting to the thought of being caught red-handed. The best example of his fear of persecution is when he obsesses over the bloodstains he fears are all over him directly after the murders. Raskolnikov takes great care to clean all of the blood off of the axe, but then he begins to worry there is blood on his clothes even though the first glance there seemed to be nothing but stains on the boots. [...]
[...] The symptoms of paranoia that Raskolnikov displays are feelings of self importance and fear of persecution. Raskolnikov's extraordinary man theory is proof enough that he suffers from the paranoia symptom of self importance. He not only believes, or at least not only tries to believe, in the extraordinary man theory, but he feels that he is an extraordinary being. To Raskolnikov, he is above the law and can do as he pleases, even if it means killing for the greater good. [...]
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