Falling Underground

A comparative analysis of the ‘anti-heroes’ of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Notes From Underground and Albert Camus’ “The Fall”.

The paper compares and contrasts two stories – “Notes from Underground” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and “The Fall” by Albert Camus. It shows the way in which the protagonists – a nameless anti-hero in Dostoyevsky’s novel and Jean Baptiste Clamence in The Fall – deal with their disillusionment with society and humanity.
In 1864 Fyodor Dostoyevsky introduced his nameless anti-hero, an introverted individual who is introspective and self-conscious. The character’s constant dilemma regarding his self worth causes him to alternately retreat into the safe anonymity of his ‘underground’ and to strike out and humiliate people in order to revenge himself for his own humiliation at the hands of others. In his own notebooks, Dostoyevsky asserts that he portrayed in his protagonist a real man of the Russian majority (Notes From Underground 9). Nearly a century later Albert Camus introduced Jean Baptiste Clamence as a hero of our time in The Fall which Lermontov defined as a portrait but not of one individual; it is the aggregate of the vices of our whole generation in their fullest expression (The Fall 3).