Crime and Punishment

Suffering and Surrender College

Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment explores the inner turmoil of the protagonist, Raskolnikov, through his murder of an old pawn broker. Raskolnikov’s internal divide is displayed throughout the novel through his bipolar behavior and his intellectualization of extraordinary men. The underlying cause of his divide is his belief in God. When he observes human suffering, including his own, he feels the need to become his own god out of resentment and a need for independence. This need causes greater suffering in him; causing him to turn to God in the resolution of the novel.

Raskolnikov’s name is significant in the novel because it alludes to his schism from God and his ultimate journey back to God, making Crime and Punishment a cautionary tale about straying from faith. The underlying triggers of Raskolnikov’s shifts between personalities are clearly shown in the first time he visits Sonya at her apartment. Upon hearing Sonya describe her devotedness and belief that God does everything for her despite her poverty, Raskolnikov notes her unbreakable faith as “the solution” (324). Raskolnikov acknowledges her faith as her solution to peace, and shows an intense interest (“studying her with greedy curiosity” [324]) that can only mean...

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