Crime and Punishment

Some analytical questions on C&P

13. At Marmeladov’s death scene, Raskolnikov is covered with blood—just as at the murder scene. Explain his reaction to blood in both scenes.

28. What has Porfiry learned about Raskolnikov before he comes to his office? Porfiry says: “If only you know how you interest me.” Does Porfiry know Raskolnikov? How? Through the fainting? Because of Zametov? Because of Raskolnikov’s extraordinary man theory?

i would greatly appreciate it if someone could help me out on these :)

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It is interesting to note that blood seems to cause Raskolnikov to act in a drunken manner.

"Marmeladov's death is horrifically bloody. He is utterly crushed by the carriage, having his face and chest horribly disfigured. Raskolnikov is at once immersed into Marmeladov's blood. Having met him in a tavern, Raskolnikov is the only one of the crowd able to recognize the disgraced clerk. Rodion Romanovitch, with the help of the police, assists the dying man to his home. There, in the arms of his daughter Sonia, he passes from this life's misery. The scene leaves Rodion "spattered with blood" (Dostoevsky 153). Dostoevsky leaves no mistake that he means for this to be a second Eucharist scene. Throughout the passage he uses the imagery of the holy sacrament. Blood is everywhere. That Marmeladov is a drunk is mentioned at every turn, bringing to mind the holy wine. Finally a priest is called in to hear Marmeladov's final confession. This practically makes the little room where the family lives seem like the sanctuary of a church." (1)

"Porfiry is the attorney investigating the murders of Alyona and Lizaveta, and is a bit of a mystery. We don't really know him outside of his professional capacity. He's related to Razumihin, but that doesn't give us much to go on as far as his character is concerned. Like most people in the novel, he seems to really like Raskolnikov and wants to see him get better. He isn't immediately convinced of Raskolnikov's guilt either.

When he is sure, he probably has enough "evidence" to successfully arrest Raskolnikov, but he doesn't. It seems he's more interested in Raskolnikov's potential rehabilitation than in "winning" what often seems like a wicked game. That is, in his eyes, true "justice" can only be done if Raskolnikov confesses, if Raskolnikov voluntarily turns himself over to the system. In that sense, we have a positive representation of the judicial system, where the agent of justice works hard behind the scenes to urge the criminal into a position where he or she can more easily find possible redemption.

Of course, one might argue that Porfiry is soft and took a needless risk on Raskolnikov. What if he had killed again, or killed himself, or hurt someone after Porfiry knew he was the killer, but before he confessed? It didn't happen that way, but it could have. Would this change the way we feel about Porfiry?" (2)


(1) Blood Imagery in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment By Ryan McLaughlin, 2004 (2)