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Crime and Punishment


Summary of "Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoevsky


Fyodor Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment" is a profound novel that delves into the psychology of crime. It revolves around the life of the protagonist, Raskolnikov, a former student deeply immersed in poverty and isolation in St. Petersburg. The narrative explores his internal conflict and the consequences of his actions.

Part I: The Crime

Raskolnikov, plagued by financial woes and a sense of despair, orchestrates a plan to murder Alyona Ivanovna, a pawnbroker known for her miserly ways. His rationale is a mix of desperation and a twisted moral philosophy, wherein he believes that murdering a "worthless" person could be justified if it benefits the greater good. After executing the crime, he also kills the pawnbroker's sister, Lizaveta, an innocent witness. This act marks the onset of his intense psychological turmoil.

Part II: Raskolnikov's Struggle

Following the murders, Raskolnikov grapples with guilt and paranoia. He oscillates between self-justification and deep remorse, leading to erratic behavior that arouses suspicion. His interactions with other characters, including his mother, sister, friend Razumikhin, and the detective Porfiry, become strained and fraught with anxiety.

Part III: Sonia and Redemption

Sonia Marmeladov, a character embodying suffering and compassion, becomes a pivotal figure in Raskolnikov's journey. She is the daughter of a public official fallen into alcoholism, forced into prostitution to support her family. Sonia's unwavering moral compass and empathy deeply influence Raskolnikov. Through their interactions, the themes of suffering, sacrifice, and redemption are profoundly explored.

Part IV: Confession and Punishment

As the investigation of the murders progresses, Raskolnikov's mental anguish intensifies. He finds himself caught in a cat-and-mouse game with Porfiry, the astute detective. Eventually, influenced by Sonia's guidance and his own crumbling psyche, Raskolnikov confesses to the murders and is sentenced to Siberia.

Part V: Redemption

In Siberia, Raskolnikov undergoes a transformative journey. Initially, he remains aloof and unrepentant, but Sonia's love and dedication gradually bring about a change in him. The novel concludes with Raskolnikov's realization of his love for Sonia and an implied spiritual awakening, suggesting the possibility of redemption and moral rebirth.


"Crime and Punishment" is a profound exploration of the human psyche, morality, and the possibility of redemption through suffering. Dostoevsky masterfully delves into the darkest corners of the human mind to present a compelling narrative of crime, guilt, and atonement.