Crime and Punishment

Raskolnikov's Decision- Svidrigaylov Versus Sonya

After discussing the possibility of confession with Porfiry in part six of Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov debates whom to go see, Svidrigaylov or Sonya. He says of Sonya:

"She represented an irrevocable sentence, an unchangeable resolution. He must choose between her way and his own" (391).

There are two solutions that present themselves to Raskolnikov near the closing of the novel. He may choose the path that Svidrigaylov presents to him, to run away; or accept Sonya's, to confess. While walking to Sonya's from the bar, Svidrigaylov says to Raskolnikov, "...you'd better be off at once to America somewhere. Run away, young man! Perhaps there is still time" (410). What Svidrigaylov actually means is, "Kill yourself, young man!" for it is revealed in the conclusion of Svidrigaylov's subplot that "running away," or "going to America," actually means suicide. Doestoevsky uses Svridrigaylov's "escape" to communicate with the reader that the only way to run away from punishment, or suffering, is through death. Furthermore, Svidrigaylov's suicide represents the spiritual suicide that Raskolnikov would have committed had he not atoned for his crime....

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