Notes from the Underground Questions and Answers
by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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In Notes From The Underground, why does the Underground Man treat Liza as he does?

In Notes from the Underground, the Underground Man treats Liza so poorly because she is a threat to his self-identify and to his belief system. The Underground Man views himself and all of humanity as hopelessly cruel, depraved, and savage. Liza's naivete, love, and beauty threaten to reveal the Underground Man's worldview as a carefully constructed illusion on which he has wasted his life.

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In Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novella, Notes from the Underground, the narrator (the Underground Man) treats Liza so poorly because she intensifies his self-loathing. Her physical and spiritual beauty stand in stark contrast to his feelings of ugliness.

Throughout the novella, the narrator excoriates himself for being unattractive and self-destructive, yet he remains falsely proud in his refusal to improve himself in any way. He finds it much easier and more comfortable to condemn himself and all of society as irrational animals, incapable of overcoming their impulses. As a defense mechanism, he treats others just as badly as he treats himself in order to avoid any honest self-appraisal. He...

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