How can Raskolnikov’s “horse dream” in Part 1 Chapter 5 be seen as a microcosm of the novel as a whole?
The horse is symbolic of Rodya’s murder of Alyona and Lizaveta. Especially in Lizaveta’s case, the woman did not deserve to die and had done nothing wrong. Mikolka believes he has a right to murder the horse. This is similar to how Rodya feels he has the right to murder the pawnbroker because he is superior man, or ubermensch.
The dream is situated before the actual murder takes place. This foreshadows Rodya’s rejection of his ideas about being an ubermensch. Despite his inherent hatred for Alyona, he still feels incredible guilt as the result of her murder. Similarly, he is horrified by the death of the horse and cannot understand Mikolka’s justification for killing the horse.