Crime and Punishment
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky Sara, Adrianna, Stanisha
Short on time? Passages you should read: -The Crime, Part I Ch VII -Raskolnikov’s Philosophy, Part 3 Ch V -Sonya and God, Part 4 Ch IV -Confession to Sonya, Part 5 Ch IV -The Epilogue, particularly Raskolnikov’s dream
Summary Part 1 The book opens with Raskolnikov, a poor ex-student who lives in St. Petersburg, living a life of antisocial mania. He wants to kill a pawnbroker and take her money in order to finance restarting his education, believing that if he is able to do so, that will prove he is of the rare breed of human beings who have no qualms about committing crimes in pursuit of a higher goal. Raskolnikov spends much time wandering about St Petersburg in a delirium. He meets the unemployed alcoholic Marmeladov, whose wife is dying of consumption and whose daughter, Sonya, has become a prostitute to help support her family.The next day, Raskolnikov receives a letter from his mother, which details the advances Dunya’s ex-employer, Svidrigailov, made upon her and Dunya’s engagement to the rich, repulsive Pyortr Petrovich Luzhin. By the end of the letter, Raskolnikov realizes Dunya is marrying Luzhin in order to secure enough money to take care of her mother and brother. A day later, he murders the pawnbroker and takes some of her valuables. Then, the pawnbroker’s sister Lizaveta enters, and he is forced to kill her too. People knock at the door. When they have left, he flees unseen down the stairs. Part 2 The next day, Raskolnikov is summoned to the police bureau due to his failure to pay his landlady. He faints when he hears his murder being discussed by others in the bureau. After he returns, he hides the valuables he has stolen. Raskolnikov returns to his apartment and lays in a delirium, waking to several people, including his friend Razumhikin, attempting to figure out why he is sick. His friends discuss rumors of the crime Raskolnikov has committed, which agitates him. Next, Luzhin comes to visit him, having just arrived in St. Petersburg. Raskolnikov insults him and Luzhin leaves angrily. Raskolnikov later leaves his apartment and encounters the police officer Zamyotov, who he disturbs by pretending to admit he has committed the murder of the pawnbroker. In the final scene of Part II, he sees Marmeladov run over in the street. Raskolnikov takes him to his home and his family, where Marmeladov dies. Raskolnikov gives the rest of the money his mother has sent him to the family, then returns to his apartment with Razumikhin. Seeing his mother and sister have arrived, he faints. Part 3 After discovering that his mother and sister have arrived, Raskolnikov becomes renewed in his torment, and attempts to persuade his sister not to marry Luzhin. His raving eventually prompts his family to leave him, where they are kept abreast of
but Marmeladov’s family is expelled from the apartment.his situation by Razumikhin (who appears to have developed very sudden feelings for Dunya) and Zossimov. and is shaken when he hears of Svidrigailov’s suicide. Luzhin declares to Dunya and Pulcheria Alexandrovna that he refuses to see Raskolnikov again. only to be found lying in his room by Svidrigailov. and Raskolnikov and Sonya grow closer yet. He attempts to blackmail her into being with him with this information. to frame Sonya for stealing from him and. Pulcheria Alexandrovna. Part 5 During Marmeladov’s funeral. and then speaks to Raskolnikov in a way that implies he knows of his crime. Dunya visits Raskolnikov and tells him she knows of his crime. When he finally understands she doesn’t love him. sees Sonya waiting outside. and therein begins the psychological dueling between Raskolnikov and Porfiry in which Raskolnikov’s guilt is all but cemented. a statement that is not well-received by Raskolnikov. and immediately goes back into the
. Yet Luzhin is unsuccessful. Dunya goes to visit Svidrigailov. Svidrigailov eventually kills himself. and Raskolnikov. Porfiry reveals that he knows that Raskolnikov actually committed the crime. They encounter Svidrigailov. who reveals that her brother has murdered the pawnbroker. a declaration that send Raskolnikov reeling into illness and anguish. On his way home he encounters a tradesman who declares that “he knows”. which Raskolnikov shakily denies. only to be actually surprised by the entrance of a man who claims to be the true murderer. and we are granted further insight into his view on criminality. namely. At a dinner with Dunya. which he tells her he will do later. Part 6 Porfiry visits Raskolnikov. Raskolnikov finally goes to see Porfiry “officially”. In his ever-present torment (and perhaps madness). He is caught and disgraced. Luzhin attempts to make Sonya seem like a thief by placing a 100 rouble banknote in her pocket. having heard Raskolnikov’s confession through the thin wall of Sonya’s apartment. He goes to the police station but does not confess. Part 4 Svidrigailov announces to Raskolnikov that he is there to make amends with Dunya. who says that he has a “surprise” for him. whose presence he had not expected. He goes on to visit Svidrigailov. This plants the seed for Luzhin’s later deception. He leaves the station. He does. who reveals the depth of his lechery and immorality. while meanwhile Raskolnikov and Sonya begin to grow closer. Later. extraordinary people. Next. Luzhin falls prey to his pride and vanity in his denouncement of Raskolnikov and is asked to leave. Raskolnikov convinces Razumikhin to take him to see Porfiry. Raskolnikov goes to Sonya after this meeting and tells her he will confess. Raskolnikov confesses his crime to Sonya. She embraces him and implores him to confess his crime. We learn about Raskolnikov’s theory about ordinary vs. Petersburg until Marmeladov’s wife eventually dies in the streets of consumption. who promises to provide money for her funeral and for her orphaned children. in doing so. and it is in a conversation between the two of them that we gain further insight into Raskolnikov’s relationship with God. They follow her family around St. who again seems to have plunged into delirium. he lets her go. In the next scene. sowing discord between Raskolnikov and his family.
and she had silently brought him the book. as Buber writes. namely. It does not consist merely of activities that have something for their object” (54). He comes to realize. does Raskolnikov find God. to kill the pawnbroker “and find out quickly. He had asked her for it himself not long before his illness. by some sort of decree of blind fate. this striving as the only thing that will not end in disillusionment -. and is one whose fulfillment is left uncertain. that human life-. whether I was a louse like all the rest. “The relation to the You is unmediated. no prior knowledge and no imagination. had perished so blindly. Crime and Punishment is extremely referential (as evidenced by all the footnotes).
Epilogue The epilogue sees Raskolnikov’s sentencing to Siberia. Yet. So. and in his realization of the futility of rationality and reason. and stupidly. In the end. are relative and variegated. for the most part they call. naturally. Raskolnikov. Nothing conceptual intervenes between I and You. His transition to an I-Thou relationship is one that comes extremely late. -.Beauvoir: we cannot sacrifice the present for the future. Raskolnikov dreams of a world where all those infected with reason and will turn mad and then die. too. is driven by such goal-directed ambitions. and somewhat suddenly. for comfort. at least in the beginning of Crime and Punishment .compare to Raskolnikov’s theory of “extraordinary” people: “ ‘The crimes of these people. Consider when Buber writes “One should not try to dilute the meaning of the relation: relation is reciprocity” (58). for
. where he finds himself left alone with his thoughts of despair. Raskolnikov. a Raskolnikov whose relationship to God has been nebulously articulated seems to turn to God more assertively: “But to his greatest amazement. love. He turns to Sonya. and several of the concepts of other authors we have read can find relevance here: -. Raskolnikov comes to be tormented by feelings of guilt. Themes and Relevant Philosophical Concepts In I and Thou. though where that leads him “might make the subject of a new story--but our present story is ended” (551). or a man?” (419). Nevertheless. who has followed him to Siberia.Kierkegaard: on the need for “striving” towards a goal. hopefully. as Buber states.station and confesses.Frankl: work.and his own relationships--must exist beyond merely the I-It. This episode marks a significant turning point for Raskolnikov as he is forced to reconsider much of what he previously believed. during illness. vainly. and had to reconcile himself and submit to the ‘meaninglessness’ of such a decree if he wanted to find at least some peace for himself” (543). never once even offered him the Gospels. Yet one night. and suffering as the three ways in which one can transcend oneself in the search for meaning. in quite diverse declarations. and memory itself is changed as it plunges from particularity into wholeness” (62). He had not even opened it yet” (550). [Sonya] never once spoke of it. “He was ashamed precisely because he. and with her love he finds himself resurrected. “The life of a human being does not exist merely in the sphere of goal-directed verbs. Buber writes. in the aftermath of his crime.
he remembered every minute having forgotten something that must not be forgotten—he agonized. that he was still weak. madness. but emotional tension. however. Chapter VII)
“But these creatures were spirits. trying to remember. but we can’t even lie with our own minds…Lying in one’s own way is almost better than telling the truth in someone else’s way. however. But never. or into terrible. fell into a rage. One death for hundreds of lives—it’s simple arithmetic!” (65) “ ‘It’s necessary finally to reason seriously and directly. gave him strength and self-confidence. he hoped. but as it is. infinite solitude and estrangement suddenly rose to consciousness in his soul” (103) “…instead. Not one truth has ever been reached without first lying fourteen times or so. of a fixed idea. and her assertion that madness is “lack of purpose” (417)) “At first he thought he would lose his mind” (89) “A dark sensation of tormenting.the destruction of the present in the name of the better’ ” (C&P 261) -. they’d have crowned me. he’s not hypochondriac at all. there had always been something heavy and mystically terrible for him in the awareness of death and the feeling of the presence of death” (C&P 441)
Quotations from Crime and Punishment On Raskolnikov’s philosophy “ ‘For one ’ife. and not weep and cry like a child that God will not allow it!’” (329)
“If I hadn’t failed. in the first case you’re a
. it’s into the can with me!”(Part 6. but just inhumanly cold and callous.Heidegger: we are beings towards death. never had people considered themselves so intelligent and in unswerving possession of the truth as did those who became infected” (547)
On delirium. well. Raskolnikov all at once became pensive and sad” (162) “‘At times. that he would not collapse in the street” (154) “After his unexpected burst into a fit of laughter. endowed with reason and will. changing places with each other’” (215) On truth and lying “ ‘Lying is what makes me a man. The entire novel centers around Raskolnikov’s murder. so strong in him that it had reached the point of calm. and that’s honorable in its way. Those who received them into themselves immediately became possessed and mad. unbearable fear” (118) “He realized. thousands of lives saved from decay and corruption. suffered. all the same. as if there really were two opposite characters in him. moaned. and “ever since childhood. torment (recall Arendt. maybe a hundred and fourteen.
is deranged and depends on various morbid impressions. that’s what you must do’” (420) “ ‘Do you know. than I have now?’” (520) On love (and hate) “ ‘Oh. why all these senseless ordeals? Why. I was bowing to all human suffering’” (322) “ ‘Accept suffering and redeem yourself by it.followed by him confessing his crime to her) “‘You’re a strange one. Sonya. there was love in that gaze. our freedom.” Raskolnikov repeated. all of it goes to the flea market. in senile powerlessness after twenty years of hard labor.’ he said ‘You put your arms round me and kiss me after I’ve told you a thing like that. their source. the heart of each held infinite sources of life for the heart of the other” (549) On God “ ‘And…and…and do you also believe in God? Excuse me for being so curious’.’ ‘There’s no one. and if it comes from the authorities—so much the better’” (455) “ ‘They say the ordeal is necessary for me! Why. Perish our life! So long as these beloved beings of ours are happy’” (43). ‘I believe. must feel great sorrow in this world’” (264) “ ‘I was not bowing to you. unexpected sensation approaching a caustic hatred of Sonya passed through his heart.’ she exclaimed” (Part Five. but the control of the actions. Truly great men.’ he added. Ch IV -. given the chance. when I’m crushed by suffering and idiocy.” (Part 5. base characters! They love. he had mistaken one feeling for another. we’ll even crush our moral feeling. and in the second—no better than a bird!’” (202) “ ‘The performance is sometimes masterful. that is. his hatred vanished like a wraith. Chapter IV) “ ‘Oh. ‘I’ve been lying for a long time…” (416) On suffering “ ‘Suffering and pain are always obligatory for a broad consciousness and a deep heart. I think.. no one in the whole world more unhappy than you are now. I’m lying. even conscience—all. how I…hate them all!’” (232) “Suddenly a strange. and it comes out like hate…Oh. anxious to the point of torment. This was something else. what ‘suffering’ means for some of them? Not for the sake of someone. Sonya. and I myself had never loved anyone!’” (520) “They were resurrected by love.what he found was her own gaze upon him. if only I were alone and no one loved me. extremely clever. As in a dream’” (226) “ ‘Anyway. am I going to have a better understanding then. to embrace suffering. All this meant was that moment had arrived. You don’t know what you’re about. looking up at Porfiry” (261)
. Rodion Romanych. but simply ‘the need for suffering’. peace of mind. in that case. “ ‘I seemed to love them so much when they weren’t here’” (Raskolnikov’s family) (227) “ ‘Oh..man.
or Nietzsche’s inverter of morals? 2) How “authentic” is Raskolnikov? To what extent does his “thrownness”—his circumstance. that is. the whole human race—then the rest is all mere prejudice. there’s nothing to be done. of his growing acquaintance with a new. at once. hitherto completely unknown reality. the story of a man’s gradual renewal.’ Raskolnikov growled sullenly” (408). their own new word. her eyes flashing. ‘is there really no justice? Who else are you going to protect if not us orphans?’” (405) “ ‘Once divine Providence gets mixed up in it. on the ability of man to reinvent himself: “But at this point a new story begins. ‘if man in fact is not a scoundrel—in general. what are people most afraid of? A new step. because he did not want to live like that’” (155) “ ‘Only to live. whose name derives from the Russian for “schismatic”. but I asked her to pray for me’” (517) On the value of life “…he knew only one thing—that ‘all this must be ended today. You has no borders. Here there is one thing.’ he suddenly exclaimed involuntarily. I want to live myself. Sonya. Do you see echoes of any of the existentialist paradigms we have seen thus far.’ he went on ecstatically. right now. otherwise he would not go back home. But where You is said there is no something. that’s what they’re most afraid of…” (4) “ ‘Then I realized. and that’s just how it should be!.. Whoever says You does not have something. ‘that power is given only to the one who dares to reach down and take it.”  Discussion Questions 1) Raskolnikov.] “I wonder. he has nothing.. his gradual rebirth.” (27) [Compare to Buber: “[…] It is only by virtue of bordering on others. to live. is complex in his various incarnations. “ ‘I don’t believe. his gradual transition from one world to another. and the deterministic elements (if any) that shape his existence— impact his will and freedom of choice? a) Is Raskolnikov truly able to “step over” the ethical? Is he a true Napoleon?
. and there are no barriers. the student of Sartre torn between various moral codes. instilled fear. But he stands in relation” (55). such as Ivan. “ ‘One might well become a holy fool oneself here! It’s catching!’” (325) “ ‘Lord!’ [Katerina Ivanovna] suddenly cried. and he looked at her and laughed” (321). to live! To live. otherwise it’s better not to live at all’” (274) “Existence alone had never been enough for him” (544) On freedom “ ‘But if that’s a lie.’ Raskolnikov replied. the knight of faith. even almost gloatingly. one thing only: one has only to dare!’” (418) Compare to Frankl.“ ‘But maybe there isn’t any God. not matter how—only to live!’” (158) “ ‘I don’t want to sit waiting for universal happiness.
Does Raskolnikov ever encounter or confront a “thou” in a way that makes him reconstitute himself? Does he ever reach full personhood? 4) In Dostoevsky’s other text that we have read. he does not seem to see his crime as immoral or be able to experience redemption until he has embraced God and Sonya. the character Ivan says that without God.b) What do you think about the ending? Does Raskolnikov ever truly feel remorse for his crime? 3) How might we apply Buber’s notion of the “Thou” to Crime and Punishment? Raskolnikov has no shortage of objects that he experiences. as well as his objectification of most of the people around him. “everything is permitted”. are ethics possible without religion?
. The Brothers Karamasov. such as the possessions of Alyona Ivanovna that he quite literally tucks away in a “storehouse of his experiences”. In the text. Raskolnikov seems to personify that idea.