Conflicting thoughts about the character of Notes from Underground by Dostoevsky have often attracted the attention of literary critics not only from ideological point of view, but also from the semantic-stylistic point. Until now, however, the paradoxical logic of character’s reasoning was not fully studied. Its originality is particularly evident in the comparative analysis of reflection of a superfluous man or the underground man.
The researchers of this novella by Dostoevsky came to the conclusion that the underground man is, as a form of superfluous people in the new historical conditions.
Dostoevsky himself, talking about his character, pointed out those differences of the underground man that made him not qualitatively similar to the superfluous men.
The writer believed that with the image of his character he for the first time allocated the man from the Russian majority and for the first time he exposed his ugly and tragic side, while the literary images of superfluous men, according to Dostoevsky, were used to portray lives of exceptions. In formulating his judgment, Dostoevsky obviously meant typological and historical features that reflected on the characters.
Prototypes of the literary image of the underground man could be found among the commoners that made the social layer in the 60s of the 19th century. That layer was relatively large and widely represented in the society and the bureaucracy, although not at its highest levels.
The characteristic features of different ranks of consciousness of men of sixties bring the underground man together with new people. However, there are major differences between them as well – they become even more noticeable when Dostoevsky plays them, opposing his character to the socialist people of sixties. It is true that the character of Notes from Underground and new people are rationalists. However, the underground man according to the writer’s job destroys rationality from within, bringing its logical preconditions and opportunities to a logical end and coming to the destroying helpless impasse. Only this makes the character different from other rationalists, with whom he argues. The rationalists think it possible to stop at something by inconsistency and incompleteness of thoughts.
As for the individuality of the underground man, it is even in favorable conditions of the liberal changes couldn’t open to them and become a part of them. The superfluous men have an alternative - they can cease to be unnecessary. But the underground man cannot change because of the tragedy of the underground, consisting in suffering, and the inability to achieve the best.
Conflicting thoughts about the character of Notes from Underground by Dostoevsky have often attracted the attention of literary critics not only from ideological point of view, but also from the semantic-stylistic point. Until now, however, the paradoxical logic of character’s reasoning was not fully studied.