Raskolnikov and the Crime and Punishment Literary Criticism

My Crime and Punishment literary criticism reveals that the story is told purely from the point of view of Raskolnikov. His name, which means “divided,” is appropriate since his key character trait is to alienate himself from society. He also believes that he is part of an elite echelon and that he can do as he pleases. However he is tormented by guilt after he commits murder.

Throughout the novel he toys with the idea about confessing and at the same time remains convinced that what he did was justified. The only force strong enough to keep his mind from slipping into contempt for humanity is Sonja, which is one realization he acknowledges. He admits that he loves her.

The other characters in the book merely are a mirror reflection of who he is; they mirror his own personality and understanding of himself. Deep down he really cares about Dunya, Pulcheria, Razumikhin and Alexandra but because he has a skeptical outlook, he never shows his appreciation when his friends try and help him.

Sonya who is also a transgressor and sacrifices herself for the sake of others where as Raskolnikov’s crimes are committed only for his own selfish reasons, yet he cannot fully see the evil of his actions. His relationship with Svidrigailov is distant and he despises him, but at the same time he needs the strong validation for his own crimes.

Sonya is family orientated and prostituted herself to aid her family. She should not have had to do that but her selfish father kept drinking. Sonja understands why Raskolnikov committed his crimes and is not horrified by this at all. However, Raskolnikov still thinks of Sonja as a fellow transgressor and he is not willing to acknowledge the difference for quite some time. She’s “one of them” for most of the book. She sins for others but he sins for himself.

Raskolnikov and his sister Dunya share many of the same traits but at the same time, she is the exact opposite of her brother. My Crime and Punishment literary criticism shows Raskolnikov to be self-centered and cruel, but Dunya is kind and compassionate. She portrays the strongest female character attributes in the novel, and she is probably the only “good” person in the novel.