F.M. Dostoevsky. "Crime and Punishment"
It wasn’t to help my mother I did the murder - that’s nonsense - I didn’t do the murder to gain wealth and power and to become a benefactor of mankind. Nonsense! I simply did it; I did the murder for myself, for myself alone, and whether I became a benefactor to others, or spent my life like a spider catching men in my web and sucking the life out of men, I couldn’t have cared at that moment…. And it was not the money I wanted, Sonia, when I did it. It was not so muchthe money I wanted, but something else…. I know it all now…. Understand me! Perhaps I should never have committed a murder again. I wanted to find out something else; it was something else led me on. I wanted to find out then and quickly whether I was a louse like everybody else or a man. Whether I can step over barriers or not, whether I dare stoop to pick up or not, whether I am a trembling creature or whether I have the right …’
Again that awful sensation he had known of late passed with deadly chill over his soul. Again it became suddenly plain and perceptible to him that he had just told a fearful lie - that he would never now be able to speak freely of everything - that he would never again be able to speak of anything to anyone.
‘He knows,’ flashed through his mind like lightning.
‘Good God!’ he cried, ‘can it be, can it be, that I shall really take an axe, that I shall strike her on the head, split her skull open … that I shall tread in the sticky warm blood, break the lock, steal and tremble; hide, all spattered in the blood … with the axe…. Good God, can it be?’
He seemed hardly to know what he was doing. He could not stay still or concentrate his attention on anything; his ideas seemed to gallop after one another, he talked incoherently, his hands trembled slightly.
‘But how did I murder her? Is that how men do murders? Do men go to commit a murder as I went then? I will tell you some day how I went! Did I murder the old woman? I murdered myself, not her! I crushed myself once for all, for ever…. But it was the devil that killed thatold woman, not I. Enough, enough, Sonia, enough! Let me be!’ he cried in a sudden spasm of agony, ‘let me be!’
Dark agonising ideas rose in his mind - the idea that he was mad and that at that moment he was incapable of reasoning, of protecting himself, that he ought perhaps to be doing something utterly different from what he was now doing. ‘Good God!’ he muttered ‘I must fly, fly,’ and he rushed into the entry.
‘Or throw up life altogether!’ he cried suddenly, in a frenzy - ‘accept one’s lot humbly as it is, once for all and stifle everything in oneself, giving up all claim to activity, life and love!’
‘The old woman is of no consequence,’ he thought, hotly and incoherently. ‘The old woman was a mistake perhaps, but she is not what matters! The old woman was only an illness…. I was in ahurry to overstep…. I didn’t kill a human being, but a principle! I killed the principle, but I didn’t overstep, I stopped on this side…. I was only capable of killing.