Raskolnikov is the main character of the novel. He is an impoverished alumnus whose reason and conscience are often at odds with one another. His name is derived from the Russian word “raskol,” which means “split or divided.” Dualism is the key to Raskolnikov's character. He is torn between the desire to do evil and the desire to do good. He wants to harm, to commit murder, to test his theory that there is such a thing as a crime of principle. He believes that he has a moral right to commit crimes and kills an old woman who is moneylender. He continually struggles with self-doubt, questioning what he does and blaming himself for every decision he makes.
Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov in the Essays