The existentialism of the self in “Notes from the Underground” by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Q 1. Write an essay on the existential philosophy of the ego in personal narrations of mysterious or political persuasions.

The book selected for this assignment is Notes from the Underground by Dostoevsky

Notes from the resistance, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, is a Russian novel translated in English and was published in the twelvemonth 1864. Dostoevsky was the greatest novelist and psychologist in the field of literature. His novels pioneered component of pragmatism through modern novel. Some of the realist authors during the clip of Dostoevsky were Charles Dickenson, Honore de Balzac and so on who re-examined the intent of the novel. The notes from the resistance was Dostoevsky’s subsequently novels that focussed on the genre of pragmatism. Realistic novels put visible radiation on the existent people largely the metropolis inhabitants, cocottes, and lowly craftsmen etc. , fundamentally people who were made merriment of in the earlier literature. Before the genre of pragmatism novels on day-to-day life were considered to be below literature, which was allowed to lift above the ordinary. If you see the notes from the belowground Dostoevsky’s portrays pragmatism but makes sure of that it doesn’t rise above world, but represents life in all its complexness.

Notes from Undergroundplays a important portion in the development of realist fiction every bit good as aids to portray ego. The fresh analyses the individual’s head on the boundaries of modern society, and its effects on man’s personality. The supporter has finally gone huffy because of his incapableness to last in the society. The Underground Man is an antihero, the sort of downtrodden, indecisive victim of society that Dostoevsky would go on to research in his later plants.

Dostoevsky is said to hold writtenNotes from Undergroundin reaction to a radical novel calledWhat Is to Be Done? ( 1863 ) , written by N. G. Chernyshevsky known as the rational egotist. Rational egoism portrayed that life is based on ground and rational opportunism. Many societal and extremist minds of 1860 emphasised on influence of ground and natural jurisprudence.

During in prison 1860 Dostoevsky realised that the uneducated and the lower category associate the socialist minds with the upper category who oppressed them. Dostoevsky was a portion of the socialist minds that is one of the grounds he was put in prison. So in order to eliminate the impression from the uneducated and the lower category that the socialist don’t signifier a portion of the upper category, the lone manner is to travel back to Russian values of faith, brotherly love and personal duty. Dostoevsky assumed that theories that search for world-wide societal Torahs to edify and govern human behavior bury the single fundamentality of the complexness of human personality, the human psyche and the power of free will.

Dostoevsky’s creates the belowground adult male as mouthpiece to propagate his thoughts and put an illustration of the modern Russian society and the jobs that are produced. The Underground Man, like Dostoevsky is critical of rational egoism, other perilously totalitarian visions of utopia and bigotry of any sort.

I would wish to set forth an in-depth analysis of this book, as it portrays the facet of existential philosophy of the ego through personal narration of mysterious and political persuasion. I will get down with a brief debut on the novel, its scene, characters, elements, genre every bit good as the facets of existential philosophy of the ego through personal narration of mysterious and political influence and so on and so forth. The novel is written in the signifier of a soliloquy, wherein the supporter, who is none other than the belowground adult male is turn toing an unseeable audience who he feels ever oppose his thoughts, they are hostile and he has the fright that he is being invariably judged by them. The genre of the novel: it is satirical, a societal review as Dostoevsky at the start of his novel in a footer, states that though the journal and the storyteller are fictional, a individual such as the storyteller non merely exists, but that hemustexist because he signifies many people who are forced by the political or modern conditions of society to populate, underground, as he does, besides a fictional novel, it is a classical piece of experiential novel: a loanblend between a confession and a philosophical pacts, and a psychological novel, before Freud, Dostoevsky had already tackled the psychological complexness the chief supporter, with consciousness and deepness cognition antecedently that was unknown in 19Thursdaycentury literature. The scene of the novel is at St. Petersburg. The book has two parts: portion one ‘underground’ is set in the 1860s, the Underground Man is 40 old ages old and it begins with an debut to his character as an Underground Man, explicating his theories, he attacks the western doctrine as he feels that it is act uponing the Russian doctrine and degrading it. He wants Russia to travel back to its old faith, moral and tradition. Basically negotiations about his counter place toward society. Part two“Apropos of the Wet Snow, ” goes back to when he was 24 old ages old in 1840’s it tells us about the narrator’s patterned advance right from his young person and his position at that clip. How he was influenced by Romanticism and thoughts of “the beautiful and lofty, ” And so brings us back to his current mature position in 1860. How it has changed and become strictly misanthropic about beauty, highness, and literariness in general.

Besides the 2nd portion describes interactions between the Underground Man and with assorted people, soldiers, classmates, and cocottes. But so we realise that the belowground adult male is so stray and alienated from people that when he really goes to interact with them he realises that he is in capable of normal interactions. Because of the confusion as to how to interact with people he treats people impolitely and fear, that leads to his ain humiliation. Which leads to more isolation he gets buried more into the hole and arises a feeling of compunction and self-loathing. The chief characters in the novel are the belowground adult male the supporter of the novel. He is a civil retainer life in 19Thursdaycentury at St. Petersburg. After working for some old ages he retires wholly and goes into an belowground province. That isolates and alienates himself wholly from society. Misanthropic, he believes that he is more intelligent than most other people in the universe every bit good as in his society. All of the events and characters in the novel are seen from the Underground Man’s position. Liza, a immature miss who sold into harlotry. The storyteller tries to deliver her from the whorehouse after kiping with her. Liza hatred her profession, and she’s the lone character in the novel who responds emotionally to the Underground Man’s attempts to carry her to go forth the occupation as it degrades her personality. Though she tries to alter the belowground adult male even though he is ill-mannered to her, finally gives up as even she has a sense of aristocracy and pride. Simonov his schoolmate the lone individual with whom maintains a small contact as he feels that he is less narrow minded and honest. But so he once more suspects that Simonov scorns him and finds his friendship troublesome. Zverkovis portrayed as an adversary and he is besides a schoolmate of the belowground adult male. The belowground adult male is covetous of Zverknov because he is successful and is liked by everyone. During school yearss Zverknov was popular, the belowground adult male considered him to be braggart and stupid.

Apollon is the belowground man’s retainer who is elder to him. The Underground feels that the retainer is invariably judging him, and he hates the manner Apollon talks.Anton Antonych Setochkinisthe caput of Underground Man’s section in the ministry. And he is the closest friend of the Underground Man. The Underground Man periodically borrows money from Anton Antonych and visits his place on Tuesdays to be social.The Officer, who beats the Underground Man frivolously in a tavern one dark, the Underground Man’s seeks retaliation against him but fails. The Underground Man dislikes the officer for his rank and assurance, but is besides afraid of him for the same grounds.

What is Existentialism? It is fundamentally a representation of motion that is concerned with the humanity of an person, it is a philosophical minute. Portray how an single battles to understand his/her being in a existence, where one finds trouble in happening freedom. The experiential define the person foremost so that he can happen his independent being. The thought is built on the impression that it is the individual who exists foremost and so one must seek to specify himself so that he/she can truly appreciate nature of humanity and life. It is concerned with being instead than merely merely bing. Besides the person is to the full responsible for making the significance of his/her life. It is the person who dictates his/her life nil else has to take duty for this act. And while decoding the value of humanity and life, the agony and the hurting will finally take human existences to happen true kernel in himself/herself. These critical truths of existential philosophy are the edifice blocks for Notes from Underground. The fresh portrays the human status as a self-contradictory state of affairs. The fresh demonstrates the being of a individual single adult male who in the center of his countless failures struggles to be, to depict himself, the existence around him in order to last.

The novel is in the signifier of diary entries. The man/narrator is seeking to trap down his ideas so that he can self-inspect and acquire a better apprehension of his ideas. Like the theory of existential philosophy, the storyteller is seeking to fight in a modern society that is stamp downing his voice. He seeking to calculate out true sense of being and is happening it hard. Jean-Paul Sartre, a innovator of existential philosophy, wrote in his work “Existentialism and Human Emotions” that “man foremost of all exists, brushs himself, surges up in the universe and defines himself afterwards” [ 1 ] . In a similar manner the belowground adult male after his retirement is seeking to calculate out how to cover with the existence as he mentions in the book that he is a witting and well-read adult male and because of this he finds trouble in pass oning with people. His self-importance is seeking to halt him every bit good as the society gives more accent on the value of ground and the belowground adult male feels that adult male should be given freedom to make up one’s mind what he/she wants to make.

“I am a ill adult male. … I am a vindictive adult male. I am an unattractive man” the belowground adult male describes himself in self-deprecating mode. [ 2 ] In an extract from “Being and Nothingness” Sartre writes that “the human being is non merely the being by whom negations are disclosed in the universe ; he is besides the being who can take negative attitudes toward himself” . Sartre’s hypothesises is that few work forces, in order to do the negative a portion of their subjectiveness “establish their human personality as a ageless negation” . [ 3 ] Even the belowground adult male has gone through the same thing. In a ageless province of self-negation, he survives. The belowground adult male has one thing that he can be proud of is his intelligence, without intelligence he is lost. The ability to introspect gives him the chance of experiential development. “The solace that an intelligent adult male can non go anything earnestly, and it is merely a sap who becomes anything” . Sartre wrote in “Being and Nothingness” that “consciousness is a being, the nature of which is to be witting of the void of its being” . [ 4 ] Despite the belowground man’s pride of holding intelligence and perceptual experience he is still really lost. He appears to be trapped in the modern universe that he can non specify and he is happening it hard to understand. He is witting of his full being. The full novel the storyteller engages into the paradox of frills of inactiveness and free will. Besides the writer is torn into two universes the desire to be a portion of universe and a portion that wants to specify himself. He wants to move in a manner that will assist him acquire rid of all self-obligations and saving.

At this point where he wants to liberate himself from the tickets of good and bad he enters into the kingdom of world. Where one twenty-four hours he wakes up following to a cocotte and he tries to instill values because she is involved in a horrid activity. He tell her to happen true love. In this procedure he himself seems to happen love. But so he realises that she is being the dominant one and the hero. He acts ill-mannered with her and sends her out of his house when she comes to see him. “I was incapable of love, for I repeat, with me loving meant tyrannizing and demoing my moral superiority” he says that he can non love, he is merely capable of being rude. And the fresh ends he confesses that he has written all evil material and the hope of love with that miss dissolves after she leaves him. Now once more he is all entirely in a corner and he regrets of composing all evil memories. “I have felt ashamed all the clip I’ve been composing this narrative ; so it’s barely literature so much as a disciplinary punishment” [ 5 ] the belowground adult male is once more lonely and sad. But if you go to see he is really better off. Through his battle to understand the existence, being, humanity … . He genuinely finds himself. With all the pandemonium of happening his being he finds oneness with his true ego. Even if he doesn’t understand the existence he still is witting that a universe exists and that he is non lost or cold and like him there are many who are lost in this new modern universe. And because of all the battle he able to understand his duty for his ain action. He is a true illustration of the humanity of the person, an single struggling with the nature of his being, with his being and with the existence around him.

There’s a really of import symbol in this novel that besides brings out the experiential facet is the Crystal Palace that brings out the political influence. The industrial revolution had many Dehumanising and impersonal features that alienated people and besides caused isolation. The experiential feel this is due to the standardisation and collectivization of worlds in the age of machines. So in the notes from the belowground adult male the crystal castle is mocked to be a signifier of mechanised societal technology due to its immense glass and iron-cast edifice that was built for the Great exhibition in London 1851. And this displayed the latest scientific discovery of the mechanized age. But for Dostoevsky the castle was non a symbol for rational advancement but was a incubus that symbolise exanimate conformity, inordinate pride, solitariness, and mutilation of human being.

If you apply the theory of ego by Aurobindo here the chief supporter has reached the witting province of head and feels he has reached his ultimatum. He feels he is far superior to the people of the modern universe who give ground more accent than free will and instinct. He says they are still stuck in the unconscious head. But he is still yet to accomplish the Godhead consciousness that is the Super head. Sri Aurobindo takes affair, life, and head, all three as limited signifiers of consciousness. It is the Godhead coconsciousness that is above the three. But by the terminal he feels he has achieved anything but fails to gain that throughout the manner all this battles have about enabled him to gain his true ego. Even in De Profundis Oscar Wilde through self-fulfillment and the battles enabled him to travel beyond the ace head to witting province which helps him to forgive Bossie.

The fresh intertwines doctrine, psychological science and divinity facets because of which the novel becomes much more interesting and entertaining, but though a fabricated novel the narratives represent the existent rational world of the 19Thursdaycentury. Dostoevsky trades with the experiential inquiries the function of adult male in the universe and the thought of God being rejected.

The period of 17 and 18 centuries propagated the value of ground, declared the possible development of Man and Society, and gave adult male freedom from superstitious notion. Dostoevsky felt that by the 19th century as the belief in God was worsening and more accent was given to ground, worlds began losing their morality and began traveling directionless into the barbarous circle of life. Alternatively of delivering Man for the better, the Enlightenment had abandoned its religious connexion. The philosophers were seeking for a new definition of modern adult male.

Notes from the belowground adult male gives a better contemplation of the European idea. The 19th century was characterized by a barbarous resistance of experiential thought in which there was no production. Dostoevsky and Friedrich Nietzsche- another rational Russian author characterizes this philosophical split, one terminal, Dostoevsky calls for Man to encompass Christian religion and ethical motives, at the other side Nietzsche, rejects faith as unnatural and causes adult male to interrupt the regulations of a modern-day moral values. , Man and God were still every bit much a enigma as before, by the bend of the century and so it still remains. Dostoevsky in notes from the resistance shows us the Underground Man, is a black and pathetic animal who betrays himself and is wholly incognizant of it. Dostoevsky has created him as anti-modern writer imploring his fellow Russians to discontinue from the West.

“The most influential critic among Dostoevsky ‘s friends and protagonists, Apollon Grigorev ( 1822-1864 ) published a reappraisal in which he praised the novel. He said, Notes from Undergroundoffers an highly perceptive and profound position of adult male. V. V. Rozanov ( 1856-1919 ) approached Dostoevsky ‘s work as a pupil of philosophic and spiritual idea. He had already rejected positivism, philistinism and rationalism, and the attack to Dostoevsky advocated by positivists like Mikhaylovsky and Dobrolyubov. Rozanov found in Dostoevsky a religious instructor and leader and valued him as a great prophesier. He was one of the first to indicate out that in many respectsNotes from Undergroundwas the rational key to understanding the novels that followed it. Rozanov found thatNotes from Undergroundconcerned itself with the following major points: unfavorable judgment of the thought that it is possible for world, by agencies of ground, to make a perfect society and to get rid of agony. The thought that human imperfectness is a jurisprudence of nature and the cause of human agony ; by this concluding agony is, if non justified, at least made acceptable. The thought that worlds are basically irrational and inexplicable existences, capable of the most baronial and at the same clip the most basal actions.” [ 6 ]


Kevin Aho. “ Existentialism: An Introduction. ” n.d. hypertext transfer protocol: // id=gEhZAwAAQBAJ & A ; pg=PT20 & A ; lpg=PT20 & A ; dq=existentialism+in+crystal+palace & A ; source=bl & A ; ots=MXgWKw9WME & A ; sig=xijmS1ukoYAsEpQS2w-36FVRIwY & A ; hl=en & A ; sa=X & A ; ei=kbDEVIzZLIvc8AWsooHgAQ & A ; ved=0CDAQ6AEwBA # v=onepage & A ; q=existentialism % 20in % 20crystal % 2.

Cliffnotes. n.d. hypertext transfer protocol: // .

Fyodor Dostoevsky.Notes from the undergroundman. n.d. [ 2 ] [ 5 ] .

Gregory B. Sadler. “ Existentialism: Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes From the Underground. ” n.d. hypertext transfer protocol: // v=KyH6SPtDOEE.

Jen Marder, Mike Meyer, and Fred Wyshak.A Study usher. n.d. hypertext transfer protocol: //

LESSON 8 Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground. n.d. & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & gt ; [ 6 ] .

Rapoport, Yelizaveta. “ Fyodor Dostoevsky: An Analysis of Existentialism within Notes from Underground. ” n.d. & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & gt ; [ 1 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] .

Sparknotes. n.d. hypertext transfer protocol: //

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *