Crime and Punishment

Environmental Awareness in I[Crime and Punishment]

It can be said that a person's disposition is determined by the condition of their living space, and it is no secret that environment greatly influences a person's character. This idea is taken to the extreme in Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, a novel in which cramped apartments, hot stifling air, and overpopulated streets dictate the moods and personalities of the characters. Dostoevsky puts particular emphasis on rooms, and the way characters react to different living conditions. Furthermore, Dostoevsky uses images of the rooms to give further insight into each character's personality and motivations, intensifying the theme of isolation in the novel.

Raskolnikov's room, a messy and oppressive place, is often linked to his madness and blamed for his isolation. The first thing he says about his apartment is that it is "more like a cupboard than a room" (1). He even confesses, "I sat in my room like a spider. You've been in my den, you've seen it: low ceilings and tiny room cramp the soul and the mind: yet I wouldn't go out of it! I wouldn't on purpose" (386). This tiny, cramped room relates directly to the way Raskolnikov isolates himself from other people, as...

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