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11. In arguing that the novel's theme is universal, you could point out that Dostoevsky touches on three critical issues: the nature of crime, the psychology of the criminal, and the way criminals can be punished.
a. Dostoevsky asserts the need for an objective moral standard, in which values are fixed. Explain what he says happens when an individual believes he can define his own moral standard. You might discuss how the struggle between individual ethics and society's values have frequently been a problem in many countries. Does Dostoevsky's concept of moral standards have any relevance today?
b. The novel concentrates on the psychology of the criminal. Dostoevsky describes various motives and reasons for Raskolnikov's crime, but none of them are ever really enough to explain why a certain individual chooses to commit crime and others don't. You could show, using contemporary examples, that the psychology of the criminal is still a mystery, and that the issue of how much influence society has on creating criminals is still alive.
c. Dostoevsky analyzes punishment that works. You can argue that criminals who can't be rehabilitated are a major problem in any country. But you must decide whether the solution Dostoevsky proposes is workable or not, by speculating on how well Porfiry's methods of getting Raskolnikov to confess and ask for help would work on the typical killer. Remember to point out that Raskolnikov is the only criminal in the novel who is rehabilitated. You can argue that Svidrigailov's suicide and Luzhin's arrogance prove that Raskolnikov is not a typical criminal.
12. Since both Raskolnikov and Svidrigailov are plagued by dreams, your answer ought to discuss both of them. For both men, Dostoevsky uses dreams to reveal the state of their minds and souls. And since Svidrigailov commits suicide while Raskolnikov is reformed, you should show what is different as well as what is similar in their dreams.
Because Raskolnikov is the protagonist and because his dreams are usually described in more detail, it's appropriate to start with him. He has three strikingly different dreams: the first is the one about the horse (Part I, Chapter V); the second is a mocking replay of the murder (Part III, Chapter VI); and the third is about a plague (Part VII, Chapter II). You can explain how each of them is related to the behavior that follows it, and describe what you think the dream means to the dreamer. Think about whether Raskolnikov sees himself clearly in each dream. You might argue that the dreams force him to act, or that rather they predict how he will act.
Svidrigailov's nightmare, just before he commits suicide (part VI, Chapter VI), should be related to Raskolnikov's dreams. Explain how it is like them, and how it is different. Consider whether it reveals the truth about his behavior to his conscious mind so that he's forced to see himself as he really is.
In your conclusion, speculate on why you think Dostoevsky chose to use this device of dreams as a way to make the characters more complex. If you like, it would be appropriate to discuss modern ideas about the significance of dreams.