Crime and Punishment

Antagonist Potential Goodness College

In Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment he shows through Svidrigailov that there is potential goodness in even the most vicious men. Svidrigailov’s redeeming quality in the novel (similar to Raskolnikov with Sonya) is the pure female character that he does have some element of love for; Dunya, and even though he is a vicious man, he is able to demonstrate an indication of this love. Svidrigailov’s potential goodness is seen in surprisingly his love, seen again and again as he pursues his lust on Dunya but then quickly backs away at the last minute right when all seems lost. This love or potential love can be proven throughout the story: in Svidrigailov’s attempts to obtain Dunya’s affection or rather more often than not; force his affections, by his other relationships, and lastly by his dreams and shortly after suicide. Svidrigailov proves at the end that he did care about something other than his passions and then unfortunately kills himself. Dostoyevsky is in no way defending Svidrigailov’s actions but rather showing that this bad person does have a conscious and in a way is saying he is more culpable for these faults in that he does see them as evil.

In Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Svidrigailov is first presented in a...

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