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Crime and Punishment
Transcript of Crime and Punishment
By Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1968
Raskolnikov's internal conflict is the main factor that drives the plot of the story forward. Raskolnikov's overpowering guilt from the murders and his conscience over whether or not he should confess to the police dominates the novel which cause it to revolve mainly around him. Raskolnikov also has the internal conflict of either to commit suicide or confess. He constantly considering committed suicide but he believes that it is an embarrassing act and he is much better than that. As a result, he chooses to confess.
The Murder Scene
Alienation from society
Depressed, guilty, gloomy and haughty
Unappreciative of the people around him who attempt to help him
He sins for no one but himself
Quiet, timid, and easily embarrassed but extremely devout and devoted to her family.
Foil of Raskolnikov
Intelligent, proud, beautiful, strong-willed, self-sacrificing, and kind.
Strongest female character in the novel
5 Most Significant Quotes
5 Most Significant Quotes
“He pushes the water away with his hand and said quietly but distinctly, pausing between words: ‘It was I who killed the old pawnbroker widow and her sister Lizaveta; I killed them with an ax and robbed them.’” (6.8.506)
Raskolnikov’s confession at the end of the last part constitutes the climax of the whole novel, drawing the suspense surrounding the consequences of his crime to a close. Also by admitting to the crime, he finds relief from his long term guilt and is able to begin a new life.
“He might at least rage at his stupidity, as before he had raged at those hideous and stupid acts leading him to prison. Now that he was in prison, however, free, on his own, he reexamined all his former actions only to find them by no means so hideous and stupid as they had seemed at that fateful time." (Epilogue 2. 515-516)
This thought makes him realize that in the past, at that certain moment, his reasoning and his unwise theory brought out the worse in him which causes him to kill the two sisters and go to prison. But although his theory is unwise, he still believes that his theory is correct and that he shouldn’t be send to jail if what he did makes the world the better place, even though it is against the law.
Suddenly, Svidrigailov, who was Dunia's former employee and had previously tried to seduce her, comes to town. He makes an offer to Raskolnikov that he will give large amount of money to Dunia if he would call off the engagement. Raskolnikov refuses the offer almost immediately. The next day, Raskolnikov is visited by Luzhin. The truth is that Luzhin is merely marrying Dunia to prove his manly nature and ability to dominate the female species. Raskolnikov denounces Luzhin and forbids the marriage. Porfiry, the police officer, is interviewing people about the murder and Raskolnikov becomes one of the main suspects. By this time, Raskolnikov has met Sonia and comes to the conclusion that he likes her. He feels great sympathy toward her since she had been drawn into prostitution to make money for the family. Raskolnikov also feels a close connection with her so he decides to confess to her. Unfortunately, Svidrigailov overhears the confession and uses this information to try to get Dunia to sleep with him. She refuses and he later commits suicide. Raskolnikov finally confesses the murder to the police and he is sentenced to eight years of hard labor in Siberia. Sonia later joins him there to rebuild their life together.
A former Russian student, Rodian Raskolnikov, believes what one has the right to commit crime. He proves his theory by murdering the old and greedy lady pawnbroker and her innocent sister. The unbearable guilt strikes Raskolnikov as soon as the crime was committed and he becomes ill. Upon recovery, he finds an old school acquaintance, Razumihin. When he gets home, he gets the letter from his mother which says that she will send him more money due to his poverty and that his sister, Dunia, is engaged to the wealthy court councilor, Luzhin. Later, he witnesses the death of the old drunk husband, Marmeladov, who spent the entire family fortunes on vodka and whiskey and lets his young daughter, Sonia, works as a prostitute to earn money for the family. Raskolnikov returns home to find his sister and his mother there who have come to prepare for the wedding.
Psychology of Crime and Punishment:
The main idea of the novel is one should think of the consequences following the certain course of actions. In this case, the crime can easily be committed and things can be taken away but the tormented guilt that one has to live with is not worth it. By focusing on Raskolnikov's trapped mind, the author shows that the actual punishment is less severe that the stress and the anxiety of the mental punishment.
Society and Judgment:
The idea of judgment is used throughout the novel. This includes the judgement of self, others, society and even religion. The author doesn't really want the readers to focus on the characters but rather the characters' judgment of each other. This proves that in order to live in this society during that period of time, one has to adapt to its stereotypes. Raskolnikov obviously didn't so as a result, he is seen as an outsider from beginning to the end of the novel.
Poverty is the most significant motif in the novel. It is impossible to not notice that most of the characters are extremely poor and full of struggles. This motif allows the author to create challenging situations in which the only way to get through is through self-sacrifice. Poverty also gives power to characters, especially Sonia and Dunia, to demonstrate their true-selves and their compassion.
The city of St. Petersburg, which is the setting of the story, represents two symbols. It clearly represents the chaotic society with all of its discrimination and preconceptions but not only that. It also represents Raskolnikov's delirious and unstable states of mind. It isn't until he moves out of the city and goes to prison in Siberia that he finally finds mental stability and the beginning of redemption.
The cross is the symbol for redemption. In Christianity, the cross surely symbolizes Jesus' self-sacrifice for the sins of humanity. Although Raskolnikov denies any feeling of sin, he already has begun to recognize the sins he has committed as soon as he receives the cross from Sonia.
“He drew the ax out all the way, raised it back with both hands, hardly aware of what he was doing… he brought the blunt side down on her head. He seemed to have no strength. Yet the moment he started bringing the ax down, strength sprang up in him… the blow had struck her on the very crown of her head.” (1.7.74)
This is the murder scene and its importance is that it sets the novel into motion. At that moment, he is overwhelming with fear. His emotions start to overcome his reasoning causing him to have the thought of leaving and extreme shaking. He has placed so much emphasis on his thoughts that they scare him more than the acts he has committed.
“At the first moment he thought he would go mad. A terrible chill seized him; but the chill was from a fever that had begun some time ago in his sleep. Now, though, such a fit of shivering suddenly struck him that he all but felt his teeth jarred loose, and he trembled and shook all over.” (2.1.85)
The guilt starts to pile up in his head immediately after the murder. Not only does it cause him to have a mental instability, it also affects his health physically and is so terrible that it is very easy to recognize. This is the beginning of his suffering and it occurs throughout the novel.
“A feeling he had not known for a long time surged into his soul and softened it at once. He did not resist. Two tears started from his eyes and hung from his lashes. He said almost with hope as he looked at her: ‘Then you won’t leave me, Sonia?’… ‘No, no, never, nowhere!’ Sonia cried out.” (5.4.392)
Raskolnikov’s confession to Sonya is a major development. It is his first big step toward confession and redemption. The risky act of his surprisingly receives her sympathy emphasizes their first meaningful connection with another person and it helps him break through his alienation from all of humanity.
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