Dostoevsky - The Underground Man

In a life-long struggle, Dostoevsky thought about whether God exists.  He came to the conclusion that the Christian life, with its "sublime virtues" of love and self-sacrifice, promotes a spirit of brotherhood and togetherness.  For Dostoevsky, that was a way of life to be preferred above others.

Key to Dostoevsky's world view is the concept of suffering.  As Sonya tells Raskolnikov:  "Accept suffering, and be redeemed by it." 

For some, the idea of suffering holds not a speck of redemptive power whatsoever.  For Dostoevsky, though, suffering and love are intertwined.  He observed people constantly inflicting suffering on each other - even on loved ones.  Dostoevsky saw this as an inescapable (but not necessarily bad) part of the human condition.

We see these ideas come to life in Dostoevsky's characters.  After some thought, Raskolnikkov follows Sonya's advice.  He kisses the earth and declares himself a murderer.  It is his path to rejoin the human family. 

"In a way," says Professor Jones, "the House of the Dead," where prisoners live, "is a place of birth." 

Is it really possible, thus, that an "Underground Man" - like Dostoevsky, during his prisoner years - could have a deeper sense of what life is about than individuals who have never endured the hardships of suffering?

Were Dostoevsky still alive, he would surely answer that question ... "yes."

See, also:

Dostoevsky - Great Writer of the Modern World  

Dostoevsky - Crime and Punishment  

Crime and Punishment - The Murder Scene  

Crime and Punishment - Death of the Pawnbroker

Crime and Punishment - Raskolnikov

Crime and Punishment - Alienation  

Crime and Punishment - Suffering

AND ... See:

Brothers Karamazov, in 15 parts

Media Credits

From the British television series, "The Modern World: Ten Great Writers." 

This video clip is from the episode, "Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment," which originally aired on 24 January 1988.  Online, courtesy BFI and YouTube.

David Hinton

David Hinton

Professor John Jones
Merton College, Oxford

Ian McDiarmid

Katy Behean

Mrs. Marmeladov:
Mair Coleman

Charlie Drake

Douglas Hodge

Timothy Spall

Old Woman (Alyona Ivanovna) :
Ann Way

Underground Man:
Patrick Malahide

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Dostoevsky - The Underground Man" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Apr 21, 2019.
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