Sonya’s affect on Raskolnikov
Sonya, throughout the story had a great affect on Raskolnikov’s changes. In the novel, Crime and Punishment by Fyoder Dostoevsky, this can be seen from all the things Sonya had done for Raskolnikov and what affect the cold person turned loving.
Sonya is the daughter of Rodia’s friend that was forced into prostitution to provide for the family, but all is done willingly out of love. In Sonya, one can see a great sinner as Raskalnikov at peace with her and with God. Sonya’s knowledge that God alone gives one worth allows Sonya to love others unconditionally, including Raskalnikov. Sonya also helps Raskolnikov to get rid of suffering from guilt. Sonya, being extremely religious, believes that everyone deserves a second chance. Sonya then shows Raskolnikov how to be forgiven in God’s eyes. Then convinces Rodia to confess to everyone the murders of the old money lender so that in God’s eyes will be forgiven.
Against Sonya’s meekness and love, Raskalnikov begins to break. At first, Rodia is argumentative, mocking Sonya’s childlike faith. “She’s a holy fool!” Raskalnikov thinks to, but yet Rodia is still drawn to Sonya’s strength. At last, Raskalnikov begins to realize that he is not alone, and it is because of this realization that the great sinner began to confess to Sonya. It can be said that, in this confession, Raskalnikov’s strength returns.
However, Raskalnikov’s confession to Sonya is not enough, and Sonya knows it. Sonya “asks only one thing of her beloved: that he should acknowledge the reality of . . . mankind outside himself, and should solemnly declare his acceptance of this new . . . faith by an act of confession to all the people.” Sonya tells Raskalnikov to bow down at a crossroads, kiss the earth that Rodia had offended and say aloud “I have killed!”
After repenting, Sonya says that Raskalnikov must face the consequences of the actions. Only through accepting guilt will Raskalnikov be healed, but Rodia is unwilling to do so. Raskolnikov is unrepentant and not absolved of guilt, but eventually, Rodia makes up his mind to confess and in a nervous fit, falls to the ground at the Haymarket crossroads and kisses it. But the words “I killed,” which had perhaps been ready on Rodia’s lips had died inside. Raskalnikov is unrepentant still. Ego prohibits Rodia from total submission.
Yet, finally from Sonya’s convincing and help, Raskalnikov submits to the authorities and is sentenced to prison in Siberia. Ever devoted, Sonya follows, but Raskalnikov is “ashamed before her” and treats her badly. Raskalnikov is still unrepentant, for Rodia thinks the crimes are “simply a blunder, the sort of thing that might happen to anyone,” but Rodia is ashamed by allowing guilt to come in. Although Rodia is physically in prison, Raskalnikov’s real prison is spiritual. Raskalnikov remains a slave to guilt, and it is only through repentance that the chains will be loosed and Sonya in all aspect help Rodia through confession and finally feeling free from guilt that was in him for so long.
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Society has always used punishment to discourage potential criminals from unlawful action. Since society has the highest interest in preventing murder, it should use the strongest punishment available to deter murder. The death penalty is arguably the strongest deterrent for murder and the strongest punishment for other unspeakable crimes. If murderers are sentenced to death and executed, potential murderers will think twice before killing for fear of losing their own life. For years, criminologists analyzed murder rates to see if they fluctuated with the likelihood of convicted murderers being executed, but the results were inconclusive.
Then in 1973 Isaac Ehrlich employed a new kind of analysis, which produced results showing that for every inmate who was executed, 7 lives were spared because others were deterred from committing murder. (Kanitz) Supporters of Ehrlich in follow-up studies have produced similar results. Additionally, even if some studies regarding deterrence are inconclusive, that is only because the death penalty is rarely used and takes years before an execution is actually carried out. Punishments which are swift and sure, are the best deterrent.
The fact that some states or countries which do not use the death penalty, have lower murder rates than those that do is not evidence of the failure of deterrence. States with high murder rates would have even higher rates if they did not use the death penalty. Ernest van den Haag, a Professor of Jurisprudence at Fordham University who has studied the question of deterrence closely wrote: “Even though statistical demonstrations are not conclusive and perhaps cannot be, capital punishment is likely to deter more than other punishments because people fear death more than anything else.
They fear most death deliberately inflicted by law and scheduled by the courts. Whatever people fear most is likely to deter most. Hence, the threat of the death penalty may deter some murderers who otherwise might not have been deterred. And surely the death penalty is the only penalty that could deter prisoners already serving a life sentence and tempted to kill a guard, or offenders about to be arrested and facing a life sentence. Perhaps they will not be deterred. But they would certainly not be deterred by anything else. We owe all the protection we can give to law enforcers exposed to special risks. “(Carlisle, 199)
Although capital punishment cannot deter all murderers, the fear of death must deter some. One cannot measure how many lives this system spares since no concrete numbers can be formed. One must come to the conclusion that the death penalty deters those who conjure thoughts of vicious crimes for they fear the potential death penalty. When someone takes a life, the balance of justice is disturbed. Unless that balance is restored, society surrenders to an unruly state. Only the taking of the murderer’s life restores the balance and allows society to show convincingly that murder is an intolerable crime, which will be punished in kind.
Retribution has its basis in religious values, which have historically maintained that it is fair to take an “eye for an eye. ” Therefore, a life for a life. Although the victim and the victim’s family cannot be restored to the status, which preceded the murder, at least an execution brings closure to the ordeal for the victim’s family and ensures that the murderer will take no more victims. For the most cruel and heinous crimes, the ones for which the death penalty is applicable, offenders deserve the strictest punishment under the judicial system.
The strongest punishment for unthinkable crimes is the death penalty. Any lesser punishment would undermine the values society places on protecting lives. Robert Macy, District Attorney of Oklahoma City, described his concept of the need for retribution in one case: “In 1991, a young mother was rendered helpless and made to watch as her baby was executed. The mother was then mutilated and killed. The killer should not lie in some prison with three meals a day, clean sheets, cable TV, family visits and endless appeals.
For justice to prevail, some killers just need to die. ” (Wynn) Mr. Macys personal views are very strong and should be taken under consideration whenever the laws surrounding capital punishment are to be revised or edited in any way. Guidelines should be presented to prosecutors and judges that outline the basis for crimes punishable by death. There is no proof that any innocent person has actually been executed since increased safeguards and appeals were added to the death penalty system in the 1970s. (Bean) Even if such executions have occurred, they are very rare.
If improvements are needed in the system of representation, or in the use of scientific evidence such as DNA testing, then those reforms should be instituted. However, the need for reform is not a reason to abolish the death penalty. Also, many of the claims of innocence by those who have been released from death row are actually based on legal technicalities. Just because someone’s conviction is overturned years later and the prosecutor decides not to retry him, does not mean he is actually innocent. If it can be shown that someone is innocent, surely a governor would grant clemency and spare the person.
Hypothetical claims of innocence are usually just delaying tactics to put off the execution as long as possible. Given the thorough system of appeals through numerous state and federal courts in the United States of America, the execution of an innocent individual today is nearly impossible. Discretion has always been an essential part of our justice system. No one expects the prosecutor to pursue every possible offense or punishment, nor do we expect the same sentence to be imposed just because two crimes appear similar. Each crime is unique, both because the circumstances of each victim are different and because each defendant is unique.
The U. S. Supreme Court has held that a mandatory death penalty, which applied to everyone convicted of first-degree murder, would be unconstitutional. (Paris) Hence, we must give prosecutors and juries some visible guidelines. The death penalty punishes those whose crimes are heinous enough to justify capital punishment. This is why guidelines that clearly illustrate the prerequisites needed to obtain such a punishment as the death penalty. The guilty should still be punished appropriately, even if their crimes are not punishable by death.
High paid, skillful lawyers should not be able to get selected defendants off on technicalities. The existence of some systemic problems is no reason to abandon the whole capital punishment system. Finally, the death penalty certainly deters the murderer who is executed. Strictly speaking, this is a form of incapacitation; similar to the way a robber put in prison is prevented from committing crimes on the streets. Vicious murderers must be killed to prevent them from murdering again. Both as a deterrent and as a form of permanent incapacitation, the death penalty helps to prevent future crime.
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