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Word Count: 882
In the novel Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky suffering is an integral part of every characters role Dostoevsky uses comic characters as instruments for competing ideological issues A typical example is the loquacious bar room character Marmeladov an alcoholic with an ironic abstract side to his personality Through his behavior Marmeladov draws the readers attention to questions about environmental and psychological influence and theology and specifically the conflict between organized religion and personal spirituality His confession to Raskolnikov sets the stage for a complex pattern of cross references to these ideas and their impact on the main characters At the center of these related questions is Marmeladovs self-assured claim that he knows that redemptive suffering will lead to salvation such as when he tells Raskolnikov that he knows with certainty that God has a special place reserved in heaven for repentant drinkers then He will summon us Come forth ye drunkards and He will hold out His hands to us and we shall fall down before Him Dostoevsky 20 Connected to this theological side of Marmeladov and the basis of a psychological subtext is his enjoyment of self-induced suffering such as the abuse of Katerina Ivanovna when he returns home after drinking He says This does not hurt me but is a positive consolation Dostoevsky 23 Dostoevsky uses Marmeladovs comic behavior to counterpoint the metaphysical guilt that Raskolnikov tries to suppress His justification appeals to Raskolnikov not only because it vindicates the behavior of neglected poor people but more importantly because it offers an unconventional view of moral masochism right at the very moment when Raskolnikov is contemplating ruining his life with the lie of murder in the name of humanitarianism or a crime in the name of a higher good However it is Sonia the holy fool who is forced to work as a prostitute who will eventually bring this lie to the surface In the meantime Raskolnikov will be drawn
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