Crime and Punishment Questions and Answers
by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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What is the representation of madness in Crime and Punishment?

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The intellectual who feels himself superior to social mores, Raskolnikov commits what he believes is the perfect crime.  However, he does not reckon on his conscience which leads him to a certain paranoia born of his guilt.  This paranoia is, of course, not sane.

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Raskolnikov suffers bouts of what might be called insanity, but he also has moments of great lucidity. He is often out of control, but at times he is in perfect control of himself. If guilt and delusions of greatness can cause insanity that comes and goes, Raskolnikov is a perfect example of insanity. If one chooses to believe he is simply a man who suffers from a horrible guilty conscience after committing a horrifying act, then he is not a good example of insanity.

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If we define insanity as being in a state wherein one has lost control of a normal ability to think and function, then we can...

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