Raskolnikov is an highly intelligent and idealistic young man living in St Petersburg. However, the abject poverty of his circumstances contrasts sharply with his intellectual prowess and ambition, and the frustration that builds up in him as as result of his miserable living conditions causes him to commit a serious crime. In this speech, Raskolnikov reveals his theory to the man who is interrogating him, a theory which justifies murder in the name of progress…

All great leaders of men are, without exception, criminals. Take Napoleon, for example. In order to create a new set of laws for his empire, he had to trangress the ancient ones. He didn’t stop short of blood-shed either, if that bloodshed was necessary to his cause. Because bloodshed gives them strength. It’s remarkable, in fact, that the vast majority of great men were also responsible for terrible carnage in their day. Even men who are only a little out of ordinary must be criminals by their very nature. Otherwise, they never rise above the masses, and they can’t stand being part of the masses. They shouldn’t be made to remain ‘ordinary’ or humanity will never move forward. What would you think, Inspector, if Sir Isaac Newton’s discoveries could only have become known to the world by sacrificing a life, or even ten lives, or a hundred? Wouldn’t Newton have the right, even the duty to dispose of those people? Not anybody he wanted, mind you, just those who stood directly in the way of his progress. You See? If that kind of a person must step over a corpse or wade through blood for the sake of his ideas, he must find sanction for these actions in his conscience. 
I do acknowledge that the categories of ‘ordinary’ and ‘extraordinary’ are somewhat arbritrary classifications. But Nature herself divides men into these two categories; in other words, ordinary men who are the raw material that serves to reproduce humankins, and extraordinary men who have the gift to give utterance to a new word. The first preserve the world and people it, the second move the world forward and lead it to its goal. All of them have an equal right to exist – and vive la gueere eternelle – until our Savior comes again!