Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dostoevsky" Wordplay

Dostoevsky wrote various instances of wordplay, or double meanings, into Crime and Punishment.
In the original Russian text, the names of the major characters in Crime and Punishment have something of a double meaning.

However, these are not seen when translated to different languages.
Name Word Meaning (in Russian)
Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov raskol a schism, or split
Pyotr Petrovich Luzhin luzha a puddle
Dmitri Prokofych Razumikhin razum reason,intelligence Alexander Grigorievich Zamyotov zametit to notice, to realize
Semyon Zakharovich

Marmeladov marmalade
Arkady Ivanovich Svidrigailov Svidrigailo a Lithuanian Prince

One of the triumphs of world literature, The Brothers Karamazov is a summation of Dostoyevsky's beliefs and concerns and develops his greatest themes: rationalism versus irrationalism; the struggle between love and hatred, faith and unfaith; the dangers represented by socialism and the attempt to engineer human happiness; the power of sensuality; the reality and unreality of God; and the conflict between
and the conflict between generations.

The central drama of the novel is the struggle between the repulsive father, Fyodor Karamazov, and his four sons.
Each of the sons represents a universal trait of humanity:
Alyosha, saintliness; Dmitri, passion and sensuality; Ivan, the intellect; and Smerdyakov, ugliness of body, mind, and spirit. Dostoyevsky explores the right of a child to raise his hand against his father and, by extension, the right of man to raise his hand against God. The novel seems to encompass the breadth of the human condition and its capabilities;
here, the art and vision of Dostoyevsky reached their peak.

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