Marxist Theory and Crime and Punishment Throughout human history countless philosophers have risen with what they thought to be the best form of government for society as a whole. Karl Marx may be the most influential philosopher in Russian history. According to The Free Dictionary, Marxism is the concept that “class struggle plays a central role in understanding society’s allegedly inevitable development from bourgeois oppression under capitalism to a socialist and ultimately classless society”. With this theory, Marx had a great impact on Russian literature? specifically, Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. According the the Marxist theory, one would interpret Crime and Punishment as a perfect example of Marxist class divisions in the 19th century
As stated that the definition of Marxism, it says that one goes from a capitalist government, to a socialist government, and ultimately a classless society with communism. Here, this novel stands to be a perfect example of a rise to communism, and the rise of a proletariat. With this, a Marxist theory would begin to see Raskolnikov as a version of the proletariat, or common man, in charge of a violent overthrow. It is believed by Marxist theorists that the proletariat goes through various stages of development. In the beginning they struggle against the bourgeois, then this metamorphosizes itself into suffering, and the finally through the growth of the masses, victory arises for the common man. The goal of the Marxist man is to violently overthrow capitalism. Even though Raskolnikov does not conduct a violent overthrow of the government, he comes together in the same way, by violently killing what he sees as a leach on society. Raskolnikov battles his emotions and morality because of the murder of the pawnbroker and therefore suffers because of it. Though Porfiry and Sonia partake in him finding his salvation, it is ultimately Raskolnikov himself that realizes that by accepting his sins he overcomes his emotions and finds redemption. When “suddenly it was as if something lifted him and flung him down at her feet. He wept and embraced her knees”,
Marxist criminologists see power being held by the Bourgeoisie and laws are a reflection of Bourgeois ideology. The legal system (lawyers, judges and the courts) and the police all serve the interests of the Bourgeoisie. These institutions are used to control the masses, prevent revolution and keep people in a state of false consciousness.