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Crime And Punishment Reading Journal Analysis English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 5447 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The connection among these quotes resides in the basis of the novel, criminality. The questions to respond after reading the novel is: “Do certain individuals have a right to commit crimes against other human beings?” But the variety of crimes in the novel isn’t limited just to murder; they escalate from simple moral crimes, such as apathy, meanness, and even power abuse; to graver disruptions of the law, such as a whole gamma of child abuse and murder. On the other side, even though the novel is hopelessly filled with all kind of crimes and abuse, its ending strongly suggests that crime doesn’t rule a person’s life; that criminals are able to redeem they faults and capable of starting over, that criminals can be functional members of society.

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After reading Crime and Punishment, the whole idea of ‘crime’ is questioned. Crime is defined as an offense against the law, but would is still be a crime if it helps society? As quote number two gently states: “would not one tiny crime be wiped out by thousands of good deeds?” Now, the whole concept of ‘crime’ changes, it could be defined as an action that actually hurts society.

The novel seems to be hopelessly wrapped in criminality, showing a poor and fragile, economically divided Russia, where crimes are every days’ happenings, and the poor are abundant on the streets. Raskolnikov, Svidrigailov, Sonia, and even the murdered pawnbroker Alyona Ivanovna, can be called criminals. Perhaps Svidrigailov is the major criminal in the novel, he is accused of a variety of abominations, such as causing the death of a couple of persons, raping a mute child, poisoning his wife Marfa Petrovna, and he openly recognizes his attraction to children; and, furthermore, he doesn’t seem to have one tiny bit of remorse on him. Raskolnikov, on the other hand, is practically eaten by remorse (though he says he doesn’t regret it, his dreams suggest so) and paranoia after he kills the old pawnbroker. Though prostitution wasn’t a legal crime in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Russia, Sonia is culprit of a moral crime, along with her father Mermeladov, and Katerina Ivanovna, who voicelessly push the girl towards such disgraceful path in the search for money for her family. And as for the pawnbroker, Alyona Ivanovna, she is constantly bashed through the novel and is accused of treating her sister Lizaveta as her slave. What is curious about few of the criminals is that they perform good deeds too, especially Raskolnikov, who seems to think of others before himself.

-“”You are talking and speechifying away, but tell me, would you kill the old woman yourself?”

“Of course not! I was only arguing the justice of it…It’s nothing to do with me….”

“But I think, if you would not do it yourself, there’s no justice about it….Let us have another game.” (Page 69)

-“”Pyotr Petrovitch,” she cried, “protect me… you at least! Make this foolish woman understand that she can’t behave like this to a lady in misfortune…that there is a law for such things…I’ll go to the governor-general himself….” (Page 386)

-“”Allow me gentlemen, allow me! Don’t squeeze, let me pass!” he said, making his way through the crowd. “And no threats, if you please! I assure you it will be useless, you will gain nothing by it. On the contrary, you’ll have to answer, gentlemen, for violently obstructing the course of justice. The thief has been more than unmasked, and I shall prosecute. Our judges are not so blind and…not so drunk, and will not believe the testimony of two notorious infidels, agitators, and atheists, who accuse me from motives of personal revenge which they are foolish enough to admit.) (Pages 398-399)

-“Ah, Rodion Romanovitch, don’t put too much faith in words, perhaps prison will not be altogether a restful place. That’s only a theory and my theory, and what authority am I for you? Perhaps, too, even now I am hiding something from you? I can’t lay bare everything, he-he! And how can you ask what advantage? Don’t you know it would lessen your sentence?” (Page 453)

-“”Why does my action strike them as so horrible?” he said to himself. “Is it because it was a crime? What is meant by crime? My conscience is at rest. Of course it was a legal crime, of course the letter of the law was broken and blood was shed. Well, punish me for the letter of the law… and that’s enough. Of course, in that case many of the benefactors of mankind who snatched power for themselves instead of inheriting it ought to have been punished at their first steps. But those men succeeded and so they were right, and I didn’t, and so I had no right to have taken that step.” It was only in that that he recognized his criminality, only in the fact that he had been unsuccessful and had confessed it. (Page 536)

What connects these quotes is the search for justice, even though it seems elusive and sometimes corrupt. As it is often seen, justice often takes the side of the ‘more fortunate’ people in the novel. Though for the pawnbroker’s case the police put a great effort, numerous other crimes were not even prosecuted. Perhaps this fact is what drives people to take justice in their own hands, pretty much like Raskolnikov does helping people and saving them from abuse and possible harm. When Katerina Ivanovna looked for justice in the governor-general, she was rudely greeted, and he didn’t even listen to her, but would that happen if a figure like Pyotr Petrovitch were in her place?, most probably not. As for the last character mentioned, he is a good example of this favoritism in the law. In the third quote, he exhibits a senseless confidence when talking of how he would seek justice for the robbery of his money, the culprit being Sonia, who Pyotr set up himself, and even after his intentions were unmasked, he insists that the law is on his side.

The major figure of justice in the novel is Porfiry Petrovitch, the detective in charge of Alyona’s murder. Contrary to what is expected, when he deduced that Raskolnikov was the murderer, he did not arrest him, but told him to confess, as the fourth quote shows. The reason he has to do this is that he considers Raskolnikov to be an important member of society and respects him for his intelligence, and he believes in the rehabilitation of criminals, in fact, Porfiry is sure that Raskolnikov can redeem his crime. As for Raskolnikov, he knows that he transgressed the law and, at last, accepts his punishment, though he still says that his “conscience is at rest”. Probably if he didn’t kill the pawnbroker, he would have questioned himself his whole life if he was as one of the benefactors of human kind, if he could take that step, and if his crime could be wiped out by a thousand good deeds.

The novel also suggests that prison is an important factor in social justice, by the change Raskolnikov experienced during his stay in prison.

-“[Sonia] said: ‘Katerina Ivanovna, am I really to do a thing like that?’ And Darya Frantsovna, a woman of evil character and very well known to the police, had two or three times tried to get at her through the landlady. ‘And why not?’ said Katerina with a jeer, ‘you are something mighty precious to be so careful of!’ But don’t blame her, honored sir, don’t blame her! She was not herself when she spoke, but driven to distraction by her illness and the crying of the hungry children; and it was said more to wound her than anything else…. For that’s Katerina Ivanovna’s character, and when children cry, even from hunger, she falls to beating them at once.” (Page 17)

-“And Mikolka swung the shaft a second time and it fell a second time on the spine of the luckless mare. She sank back on her haunches, but launched forward and tugged forward with all her force, tugged first on one side and then on the other, trying to move the cart. But the six whips were attacking her in all directions, and the shaft was raised again and fell upon her a third time, then a fourth, with heavy measured blows. Mikolka was in a fury that he could not kill her at one blow.” (Page 61)

-“As [Alyona Ivanovna] was so short, the blow fell on the very top of her skull. She cried out, but very faintly, and suddenly sank all of a heap on the floor, raising her hands to her head. In one hand she still held “the pledge”. Then he dealt her another and another blow with the blunt side and on the same spot. The blood gushed as from an overturned glass, the body fell back. He stepped back, let it fall, and at once bent over her face; she was dead. Her eyes seemed to be starting out of their sockets, the brow and the whole face were drawn and contorted convulsively.” (Page 80)

– [Katerina Ivanovna] “…Why, you’re all crying again! What’s the matter, stupids? Come, Kolya, begin. Make haste, make haste! Oh, what an unbearable child! […]” (Page 426)

-“[Men] gathered together in armies against one another, but even on the march of armies would begin attacking each other, the rank would be broken and the soldiers would fall on each other, stabbing and cutting, biting and devouring each other.” (Page 539, On Raskolnikov’s dream)

Obviously when dealing with crimes, violence has to be involved, meaning both physical and psychological. In the novel, a great deal of violence is appreciated. Child abuse, murder, psychological abuse, beatings, and sexual violence are the main attraction. Fyodor Dostoevsky is absolutely elaborated when writing these scenes. The most violent character must be Katerina Ivanovna, without a doubt. She beats her children at minimal provocation, pulls her husband by the hair, and often addresses Sonia with poison-filled words. Right before her death, for example, she scared, and treated her children, Kolya and Lida, so greatly bad that they ran away from her.

Raskolnikov, too, is an example of violence, with his ill-manners and attitude, besides of course of the murder he committed, which was pretty bloody. He often treats his family and friends badly, and the violence within him is reflected on his dreams, which are full of massacres and grotesque moments. The way Raskolnikov murders Alyona and Lizaveta, too, is awfully grotesque.

Svidrigailov also committed plenty of violent acts (almost always towards children); he even raped a mute child.

In Fyodor’s scenery, and based on his other works, child abuse is the most outrageous crime, even worse than murder.

-“[…] Raskolnikov had time to put his hand into his pocket, to snatch up the coppers he had received in exchange for his rouble in the tavern and to lay them unnoticed on the widow. Afterwards, on the stairs he changed his mind and would have gone back.

“What a stupid thing I’ve done,” he thought to himself.” (Page 26-27)

-“[Raskolnikov] tried to draw a breath, to cry out-and woke up. He waked up, gasping for breath, his hair soaked with perspiration, and stood up in terror.

“Thank God, that was only a dream,” he said, sitting down under a tree and drawing deep breaths. “But what is it? Is it some fever coming on? Such hideous dream!”

He felt utterly broken: darkness and confusion were in his soul. He rested his elbows on his knees and leaned his head on his hands.” (Page 62)

-“”Nobody has been beating the landlady,” [Nastasya] declared at last in a firm, resolute voice.

[Raskolnikov] gazed at her, hardly able to breathe.

“I heard it myself….I was not asleep…I was sitting up,” he said still more timidly. “I listened a long while. The assistant superintendent came…. Everyone ran out on to the stairs from all the flats.”

‘No one has been here. That’s the blood crying from your ears.” (Page 118)

“[Raskolnikov] was not completely unconscious, however, all the time he was ill; he was in a feverish state, sometimes delirious, sometimes half conscious. He remembered a great deal afterwards. Sometimes it seemed as though there were a number of people round him; they wants to take him away somewhere, there was a great deal of squabbling and discussing about him. Then he would be alone in the room; they had all gone away afraid of him, and only now and then opened the door a crack to look at him; they threatened him, plotted something together, laughed, and mocked him. He remembered Nastasya often at his bedside; he distinguished another person, too, whom he seemed to know very well, though he could not remember who he was, and this fretted him, even made him cry. Sometimes he fancied he had been lying there a month; at other times it all seemed part of the same day. But of that-of that he had no recollection, and yet every minute he felt that he had forgotten something he ought to remember. He worried and tormented himself trying to remember, moaned, flew into a rage, or sank into awful, intolerable terror.” (Page 120)

-“”Why, who can tell? Perhaps I am really mad, and perhaps everything that happened all these days may be only imagination.”” (Page 293)

Tying these quotes together are the unconscious and the different states of mind. Through the novel, Raskolnikov is more often than not in a state of delirious fever, and violent dreams haunt him constantly. It is mentioned that Raskolnikov is seriously ill. This illness of his could be caused by the enormous levels of anxiety he experiences by his ‘unnatural’ thoughts, causing psychosomatic symptoms. While reading, the maddening sensation of going insane takes over. Raskolnikov is such a complicated character, and with his illness, his behavior becomes even more unpredictable, he is in such emotional and mental distress that he even starts to believe he’s going insane, he even hallucinates. His delirious states extend for days, and when he recovers consciousness, the feeling of not remembering what he could have said horrifies him. Raskolnikov’s personality is, apparently, split in two. One part of him wants to help and protect people, while the other tells him to just let those crimes happen and not interfere. This can be appreciated in the way Raskolnikov scolds himself after performing any good deed (as in quote one).

Raskolnikov’s dreams, too, show his split personality, especially his first dream, before killing Alyona. In the dream, a child saw how a mare was beaten by his owner and a crowd of people. This dream represents how Raskolnikov feels towards killing the old pawnbroker. A part of him tries to stop the need to kill the old woman, just as the child in his dreams attempts to stop the mare’s owner, Mikolka, from killing her. The other part of him wants, and needs to kill her; this part is represented by Mikolka.

The dreams that come later show his insecurity in himself and the way he committed the crime. Did someone see him? Did he forget something? These questions haunt him constantly, and in repeated occasions he thinks that the best is to surrender and confess (which he eventually does.) During the epilogue, a peculiar dream worries Raskolnikov. In the dream a virus overcomes Russia, making men believe they are owners of the truth, and as they cannot agree in anything, start killing each other. This dream could be a message from Fyodor Dostoevsky against Nihilism, a philosophical doctrine that stresses that life has no meaning, and that rules, laws and norms are not necessary. After this dream, the change in Raskolnikov is obvious; he values and respects life from that point on.

-“All at once he bent down quickly and dropping to the ground, kissed [Sonia’s] foot. Sonia drew back from him as from a madman. And certainly he looked like a madman.

“What are you doing to me?” she muttered, turning pale, and sudden anguish clutched her heart.

He stood up at once.

“I did not bow down to you, I bowed down to all the suffering of humanity’ he said wildly and walked away to the window.” (Page 320)

-“Suffer and expiate your sin by it, that’s what you must do.” (Page 416)

-“You have long needed a change of air. Suffering, too, is a good thing. Suffer! Maybe Nikolay is right about in wanting to suffer.” (Page 454)

-“[Avdotya Romanovna] is simply thirsting to face some torture for someone, and if she can’t get her torture, she’ll throw herself out of the window.”(Page 470)

-“”[…] They say it is necessary for me to suffer! What’s the object of these senseless sufferings? Shall I know any better what they are for, when I am crushed by hardships and idiocy, and weak as an old man after twenty years’ penal servitude?”” (Page 515)

An important aspect in this novel is the meaning of suffering. Suffering is seen as a way to redeem sins and win the Lord’s forgiveness. It has a connection with both religion and poverty: It is the poor people who have the strongest conviction in God, and who suffer the most. Raskolnikov is told repetitively that he must suffer in order to be forgiven for his crime; of course, he sees no sense in it as he doesn’t see the murder as a crime (he still suffers from guilt, though); but through the novel, Raskolnikov is one of the characters that suffer the most. His distressed mind and the psychological prosecution that Porfiry puts him under cause him great suffering, as does his illness.

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Sonia is the character that suffers the most. She gives her life for her family, prostituting herself for money for her drunken father, step-mother and the little children. She bears a huge cross on her back, forgetting even about her own well-being. She sees suffering as expiation for crimes. It is her and Porfiry who tell Raskolnikov to confess, for he has to suffer and redeem his sin. While in prison, Raskolnikov finally understands that it was necessary for him to suffer, to be able to appreciate life again.

Another character that suffered a lot through the novel was Svidrigailov. Though it could be argued that he was talkative and mocked everything, his contempt towards humanity, and towards himself, crushed his soul immensely, so much that in the end he preferred to commit suicide rather than turning himself to the police, as he thought that only dying would give him a chance to start over, or to “go to America”, as he said, meaning starting a new life.

The novel also shows the inclination of women to sacrifice their lives and ambitions for the well-being of their loved ones, as such is the case of Sonia and Dounia.

– [Mermeladov] “”He is the One, He too is judge. He will come in that day and He will ask: ‘Where is the daughter who gave herself for her cross, consumptive step-mother and for the little children of another? Where is the daughter who had pity upon the filthy drunkard, her earthly father, undismayed by his beastliness?’ And He will say, ‘Come to Me! I have already forgiven thee once…. I have forgiven thee once…. Thy sins which are many are forgiven thee, for thou has loved much…” And He will forgive my Sonia, He will forgive, I know it… I felt it in my heart when I was with her just now! And He will judge and will forgive all, the good and the evil, the wise and the meek…. And when He has done with all of them, then He will summon us. ‘You too come forth,’ He will say. ‘Come forth, ye drunkards, come forth, ye weak ones, come forth, ye children of shame!’ And we shall all come forth, without shame and shall stand before Him. And He will say unto us, ‘Ye are swine, made in the Image of the Beast and with his mark; but come ye also!’ And the wise ones and those understanding will say, ‘Oh Lord, why dost Thou receive these men?’ And He will say, ‘This is why I receive them, oh ye wise, this is why I receive them, oh ye understanding, that not one of them believed himself to be worthy of this.’ And He will hold out His hands to us and we shall fall down before Him… and we shall weep… and we shall understand all things! […]”” (Page 22-23)

-“”God would not allow anything so awful!”

“He lets others come to it.”

“No, no! God will protect [Polenka], God!” she repeated beside herself.

“But, perhaps there is no God at all,” Raskolnikov answered with a sort of malignance, laughed and looked at her. (Page 320)

-“”Go at once, this very minute, stand at the cross-roads, bow down, first kiss the earth which you have defiled and then bow down to all the world and say to all men aloud. ‘I am a murderer!’ Then God will send you life again. Will you go, will you go?” [Sonia] asked [Raskolnikov].” (Page 415)

-“Without a word Sonia took out of the drawer two crosses, one of cypress wood and one of copper. She made the sign of the cross over herself and over him, and put the wooden cross on his neck.

“It’s the symbol of my taking the cross,” he laughed. “As though I had not suffered much till now! The wooden cross, that is the peasant one; the copper one, that is Lizaveta’s-you will wear yourself, show me!”” (Page 517)

-“At first [Raskolnikov] was afraid that [Sonia] would worry him about religion, would talk about gospel and pester him with books. But to his great surprise she had not once approached the subject and had not even offered him the testament”(Page 542)

The mention of religion in the novel are everywhere, God and faith rule the lives of almost everyone in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s scenery. Religion is portrayed as a mean of absolution through suffering for people, especially those who live in poverty. The very essence of religion is compressed in Mermeladov’s ramble while he was drunk (see quote one). He recognizes himself a sinner, and therefore he wants to suffer as much as he possibly can. The point is that, even though he sinned, he is paying for it, and therefore, he will be forgiven when he dies.

The character that embodies this perfectly is Sonia, who is defined as a ‘Religious maniatic’ by Raskolnikov, and even she says she would be nothing without God. She decides to follow Raskolnikov to Siberia as a way to expiate her own sins; and she also represents Raskolnikov’s expiation.

As for Raskolnikov, his beliefs are not clear. He claims he believes in God, but at the same time mocks Sonia’s fanaticism. And then again, he asks her mother and Polenka (Katerina’s older daughter) to pray for him.

In a really symbolic scene, just before Raskolnikov confesses his crime (see quote five); Sonia gives him the cross she has been carrying, meaning that she has suffered for him. By giving Raskolnikov her cross, she initiates him in the ‘right path’, which is redemption, and then she wears Lizaveta’s cross, meaning that now she carries the cross of Raskolnikov’s innocent victim, the one he didn’t intend to kill. He then, with Sonia’s cross, walks to the cross-roads (as Jesus walked with his cross) and kneels down, kissing the earth.

When Raskolnikov is a prisoner, Sonia constantly visits him. And though it could be expected from her, a ‘Religious maniatic’, she doesn’t talk about religion at all with Raskolnikov, giving the idea that religion is optional, and everyone has to reach for it by themselves.

-“And now my precious Rodya, I embrace you and send you a mother’s blessing till we meet. Love Dounia your sister, Rodya; love her as she loves you and understand that she loves you beyond everything, more than herself. She is an angel and you, Rodya, you are everything to us-our one hope, our one consolation. If only you are happy, we shall be happy.” (Page 41)

-“”Listen, Razumihin,” began Raskolnikov, “I want to tell you plainly: I’ve just been at a death-bed a clerk who died…I gave them all my money…and besides I’ve just been kissed by someone who, if I had killed any one, would just the same…”” (Page 193)

-“”I’ve come to assure you that I’ve always loved you and I am glad that we are alone, even glad Dounia is out,” he went on with the same impulse. “I have come to tell you that though you will be unhappy, you must believe that your son loves you now more than himself, and that all you thought about me, that I was cruel and didn’t care about you, was all a mistake. I shall never cease to love you…. Well, that’s enough: I thought I must do this and begin with this…”” (Page 509)

-“Two months later Dounia was married to Razumihin. It was a quiet and sorrowful wedding; Porfiry Petrovitch and Zossimov were invited however. During all this period Razumihin wore an air of resolute determination. Dounia put implicit faith in his carrying out his plans and indeed she could not but believe in him. He displayed a rare strength of will. Among other things he began attending university lectures again in order to take his degree. They were continually making plans for the future; both counted on settling in Siberia within five years at least.” (Page 531-532)

-“[Raskolnikov and Sonia] were both pale and thin; but those sick pale faces were bright with the dawn of a new future, of a full resurrection into a new life. They were renewed by love; the heart of each other held infinite sources of life for the heart of the other.” (Page 541)

Though scarce, Love is present in the novel. Fraternal love, motherly love, and companionate love, too. Love is portrayed as a way to redemption and happiness. In the case of Raskolnikov, for example, he finds in Sonia, his way to redemption and a new life, though their relationship seems impossible at first, as Raskolnikov is to be sent to Siberia; but Sonia follows him as she promised. In Razumihin’s case, his attraction to Dounia is obvious since the first time they meet. What brings them together is their love for Raskolnikov, and almost at the end, they finally get married. It is as though Raskolnikov would only trust Razumihin to take good care of his sister, as he rejected Pyotr Petrovitch and Svidrigailov to be with Dounia. Razumihin and Dounia’s relationship is, without a doubt, loving and sincere; it can only be described as authentic love. And as for the other couple present in the novel, Mermeladov and Katerina Ivanovna, whose end is quite tragic, for both of them end up dying; their relationship is terribly complicated. Katerina married the clerk because she didn’t have anywhere else to go, left with three small children and without money. It is obvious that there is no real love implied in their marriage, but they still care for each other in their own way, even though Mermeladov caused more harm to Katerina at the end. An intriguing question is if Svidrigailov would have changed his murderous ways, just as Raskolnikov did, if Dounia would have accepted him.

Raskolnikov has a need for love and to love, as it show when he gets a sample of the innocent and pure love of Sonia’s little sister, Polenka, and after his brief encounter with the child, he sees life as gift and all the thoughts of suicide he had earlier disappear. Also, before confessing he goes to his mother, to assure her that he had always, and will always, love her; once again looking for the love he so desperately needs, but at the end, this sort of ‘good-bye’ ends being more painful from what he expects.

-“He [Raskolnikov] was hopelessly in debt to his landlady, and was afraid of meeting her.” (Page 1)

-“”Such is my fate! Do you know, sir, do you know, I have sold [Katerina Ivanovna’s] very stockings for drink? Not her shoes-that would be more or less in the order of things, but her stockings, her stockings I have sold for drink! Her mohair shawl I sold for drink, a present to her long ago, her own property, not mine,” (Page 14)

– (On Mermeladov and Katerina’s room) “A grimy little door at the very top of the stairs stood ajar. A very poor-looking room about ten paces long was lighted up by a candle-end; the whole of it was visible from the entrance. It was all a disorder, littered up with rags of all sorts, especially children’s garments. Across the farthest corner was stretched a ragged sheet. Behind it probably was a bed. There was nothing in the room except two chairs and a sofa covered with American leather, full of holes, before which stood an old deal kitchen-table, unpainted and uncovered. At the edge of the table stood a smouldering tallow-candle in an iron candlestick. It appeared that the family had a room to themselves, not part of a room, but their room was practically a passage.” (Page 34)

-“[…Raskolnikov] looked with hatred at his room. It was a tiny cupboard of a room about six paces in length. In had a poverty-stricken appearance with its dusty yellow paper peeling off the walls, and it was so low-pitched that a man of more than average height was ill at ease in it and felt every moment that he would knock his head against the ceiling. The furniture was in keeping with the room: there were three old chairs rather rickety; a painted table in the corner on which lay a few manuscripts of books; the dust that lay thick upon them showed that they had been a long time untouched. A big, clumsy sofa occupied almost the whole of one wall and a half the floor space of the room; it was once covered with chintz, but was now in rags and served Raskolnikov as a bed. Often he went to sleep on it, and he was, without undressing, without sheets, wrapped in his old student’s overcoat, with his head on one little pillow under which he heaped up all the linen he had, clean and dirty, by way of a bolster. A little table stood in front of the sofa.” (Page 28)

-“”What a wretched lodging you have, Rodya! It’s like a tomb,” said Pulcheria Alexandrovna, suddenly breaking the oppressive silence. “I am sure it’s quite half through your lodging you have become so melancholy.” (Page 232)

Other important aspects of this novel are the poverty in which Russia seems to be submerged, and the vice related to it. The image that Fyodor gives to Russia in the novel complements the grim and macabre setting for the story. A hopelessly poor Russia, where violence and vices are everywhere. Strangely enough, it seems that the poor people are the ones that give in to vices such as drinking. For example, Mermeladov, who had not a copper to spare, still gave in to his vice and spent his family’s money in it, even though he knew the little children had nothing to eat and his whole family was starving. As for Raskolnikov, even though he can’t stand drunks, he still feels a sort of easiness when he drinks, but he doesn’t abuse it. The surroundings in which the characters develop also contribute to their gruesome mood; after all, after seeing poverty everywhere, it is impossible to prevent the feeling of despair to take over. Raskolnikov despised his ‘tiny cupboard of a room’. It is as though all his negative energy remained there, constantly haunting him and making him remember. It is probably for that reason that he stayed in the streets all day long.

The description Fyodor gives to St. Petersburg also suits Raskolnikov; they’re both gloomy and poor, immersed in anguish and abuse.


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