The main female characters of Sonia and Marie in Crime and Punishment and The Stranger, respectively, do more than faithfully support Raskolnikov and Meursault in their times of need. Their roles structure the men’s characters and ultimately help the men form their philosophies: Sonia manages to alter Raskolnikov’s superman theory while Marie's presence reinforces Meursault’s absurdist theory. By the women’s varying influence, they bridge the protagonists between individuality and society, and through an awakening Sonia eventually leads Raskolnikov to embrace society’s rules while Marie leads Meursault to abandon society and to affirm life and his individuality to an even greater degree.
By Raskolnikov’s and Meursault’s choice of female companionship, the reader can already perceive elements of character. Sonia and Marie both appear in the novels because of the disparate needs of the men. Sonia’s initial appeal to Raskolnikov is deeply emotional; he finds solace within a woman who is equally isolated from society due to her prostitution. Yet, surprisingly even to Raskolnikov, Sonia becomes his beacon of light: she is more enlightened than he in the ways of the world. On the other hand, Meursault is attracted to the pretty...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 725 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4211 literature essays, 1403 sample college application essays, 171 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in