Crime and Punishment Study Guide

Crime and Punishment Study Guide

“Crime and Punishment” is one of the most difficult literary works not only in the Fyodor Dostoyevsky portfolio but of the whole world literary heritage. In our times, when the majority of population learn about the books by the movies, quick read anything that is longer than ten pages and get an idea about the plot from the reviews, it’s not easy to take up a challenge of a book this big. But it’s definitely worth it. 

The events of the novel take place during difficult times of the 1960s. It was times when the progressive-minded people were convinced that the bright and special personalities could be above the society. In his protagonist, Rodion Raskolnikov, the author showed the pursuit for inner self, the intellectual fermentation, and, as a result, the birth of theories that confront the man and his abilities to the world around him. 

Mr. Raskolnikov is contemplating a murder, thinking about excuses to defend this plan, and actually committing one just for the sake of proving that there are people who are capable of murder. Such examples, when people would kill not for the sake of money, but for the sake of the idea, were and will be present at all times. But this was especially common at the end of the 19th century when people couldn’t explain all the sorrows and terror happening around them. 

At the core of the novel is a murder committed under the influence of one’s mind. The rest is a set of thoughts and consequences provoked by this action followed by a psychological analysis. The text doesn’t condemn those who did wrong – it looks for deeper reasons of such actions that are in the society, in the politics and in the air. The text is full of concepts that talk about the theories putting one man above the other, as well as discussing the role of Christianity and morality in the society. 

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