About The Book

Title: Crime And Punishment

Original Title (Russian): Prestuplenie i nakazanie

Setting: S.T Petersburg

Period: Realism

Type of work: Fiction

Protagonist: Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov


Applied Philosophies: Psychoanalysis, Existentialism, Realism, Nihilism, Marxian, Freudian, and Christianity.

The Russian writer, novelist and great philosopher Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime And Punishment published in 1866 in Russian messenger. It is one the major work by the Fyodor. The novel contain the theme of heroism, violence, nihilism, realism, suffering, love etc. the setting of the story is in Haymarket Square (S.T Petersburg). The protagonist Raskolnikov is a man who have quality of heroism, he thinks crime may be justified as good, if it is for the betterment for the society or others. May be he consider himself the superman whose shoulder has responsibility to save the peoples and destroy the evils. When story start we find that story’s hero is passing through his hard days of poverty, has no money for food and better cloths. Also refused all the helps, even was not ready to accept the help of his friend “Razumikhin”.

The protagonist Raskolnikov is a depressed, confused, poor but young and handsome planned the murder of an old pawnbroker Aloyna Ivanovna. He meet to “Marmeladov” a drunker who tell him his story that how his habit of drinking ruin the life of his family. His wife was sick and his daughter Sonya has been forced to the profession of prostitution to help her family.

On that time when Dostoevsky has been written this work, in Russia lots of bad thing were going in politics, culture, and religion and Russia need a sudden change. This was the time of Nihilism movement and the anti-traditional attitude of Nihilism cause crime like robbery, murder etc. This time many individuals wanted to became the hero by killing all the evils, so the novel’s hero explain that crime is the crime, we can’t murder someone to attain any special goal and the punishment is the last result of any crime. To rationalize his murder Raskolnikov goes through lots of theories and explanation, but unable to justify his crime and feel guilty. This guilt makes him mentally sick and trapped so he want to confess his crime to gain mental relief.

Meanwhile the protagonist finds the letter of his mother that she is coming to Petersburg with his sister “Dunya” who was going to marry Luzhin (government officer). On the street Raskolnikov finds some fact and information about the Aloyna after hearing a conversation of a student that peoples hate the old pawnbroker and anyone is not going to weep on her death. He also finds that next day she will be alone at her apartment. The very next night he enter in pawnbroker apartment and murder her. According to his knowledge she was alone at his home but her sister Lizaveta was also present there so he also killed her and escaped after stealing some money & goods.

Dostoyevsky describe the murder and circumstances & environment in which the crime take place with great realism. The hero was the imposed by the sense of poverty which he witnessed around him such as story of Marmeladov, sacrifice of Sonya, his sister sacrifice by marring Luzhin to help her family. He can compare his sister sacrifice to Sonya.

The murder effect the protagonist psychologically and becomes afraid. Whenever he hears about the murder of pawnbroker he becomes uncomfortable. He can’t bear the pressure of guilt so meet the police office at café and try to confess his crime by giving some theories but unable to reveal his crime due to Matmeladov’s accident. The tile of the novel is realistic. It declare that Crime And Punishment both goes parallel. Crime can’t be justified as good. Our protagonist has his own theory of world that there are two types of peoples in the world fist who obey all the rules and boundaries. Second type of peoples are law-barker who brake all the boundaries and rules. He also believe that some individual who belongs to this second category have right to commit any crime in order to attain the social goal, for example in childhood we all witnessed that how Shaktiman kill the some evils persons to save the society, and peoples appreciate him for his deed. He believe that he belongs to the second group. To prove his theory he murdered Aloyna a pawnbroker but this crime prove wrong, nothing happened according to his plan, and surprisingly kill her sister too.

The confused and afraid protagonist fall in love with Sonya. He was very impressed by her sacrifice for her family. Other side visit of his mother and sister make his life more complicated. His guilt was making him more disturb and mentally sick so confess his crime to Sonya that he is the murderer of Aloyna. She advise him to confess his crime to police. Svidrigulov who want to sleep with “Dunya” heard all the conversation of Sonya and Raskolnikov and get Dunya alone with him to take benefit of her But he realized that he can only get Dunya physically, she will never love him so let her go without taking the advantage of her and shoot himself. The news of suicide imposed Raskolnokov so he went to police station and confess that he murdered the pawnbroker. In epilogue we find that he has been sentenced for eight years and then marry Sonya. Other side his friend Razumikhin marry Dunya and his mother had been died.

At beginning the protagonist thinks about himself that he is unnatural, God make him different from others for any specific goal or aim. This was the reason that he take an incentive to murder Pawnbroker but his reaction and metal situation after doing crime realize him that he is normal like others because a superhuman is will not be mentally sick after doing something like Raskolnikov did. The impact of murder on his mind was the proof that he was just a normal human being.
He was a very intelligent and good student but unable to bear the pressure of poverty and family worse situation so become mentally sick. This state of mind bring him to do a crime like murder.

There are lots of example of binary opposition in the Novel. According to Wikipedia Banary opposition are opposite in meaning. Binary opposition is the system by which, in language and thought, two theoretical opposites are strictly defined and set off against one another.  Such as

  • “crime and punishment”
  • “Raskolnokiv criminal mind but soft and kind heart”
  • “pride and guilt”
  • “rational and irrational” etc.Dunya is one of the strongest female character of the Novel. She too was passing from a difficult stage of poverty but she didn’t do something like her brother nor did something like “Sonya”. It shows that she had courage to face the problem and challenges. I am not telling that Sonya was week, it need really a great courage to sacrifice her life in prostitution but to improve his financial condition prostitution was last option for her. If she wants, she could get other ways to support her family.