Crime and Punishment as a story of sin suffering and redemption

Question: Consider Crime and Punishment as a story of sin suffering and redemption.


Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) was a prominent Russian novelist, philosopher, short story writer, essayist, and journalist. Sin, suffering, and redemption are manifested in several ways in his classical novel ‘Crime and Punishment’. Raskolnikov’s criminalistic tendency is exacerbated by his isolationist attitude. We are here going to discuss it in detail.

Horrible crimes

At the heart of the novel, there are two themes of crime and punishment. The novel focuses on Raskolnikov’s double murder. Although this crime not only occurs in this novel, other actions are bound around this.

A scandalous murder: Poverty is the norm in St. Petersburg, Russia in the 1860s. Everywhere, people are fighting for survival. In response, many people have turned to crime just to survive. Our hero Raskolnikov is one of those people. Although he is a good person, he is considering committing a very bad crime. He is planning to kill the pawnbroker Alyona. Alyona is a mean personality, who has the belongings of many poor people and has what many others do not have: money.

Though Raskolnikov vacillates constantly in the time leading up to murder Alyona, it turns out that he is able to kill her. He murders her with an axe. Unfortunately, her sister, Lizaveta, reaches the crime spot and Raskolnikov is forced to kill her, also. This is even more distressing, because Lizaveta is both mentally slow and a good person, and Raskolnikov feels terrible about her murder.

Other crimes: Crime in St. Petersburg, especially sexual crimes against women, is also on the rise. Sonia, the eighteen-year-old daughter of Marmeladov, becomes a prostitute to support the family. Although Raskolnikov continues to pay the family, he neglects what he sees as golden sex slavery.

In a similar situation to Sonia, Raskolnikov’s sister Dounia is working as a nanny for a man named Svidrigaïlov, who repeatedly harasses and tortures her sexually. Though she leaves her job and returns to St. Petersburg, Svidrigaïlov follows her. Svidrigaïlov repeatedly asks her to be with him but she refuses. Raskolnikov warns his sister against Svidrigaïlov, who he knows is a child molester. One of his victims even committed suicide. Svidrigaïlov also tries to make a move on Sonia.

Matters come to a head when Svidrigaïlov manages to get Dounia alone in his room. He is about to rape her when she manages to shoot at him. He is not hurt but he lets her go. From the perspective of sexual crime, Russia is a wasteland.

Suffering and redemption

Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, tells the stories of many characters whose suffering and redemption lie in unexpected places. Raskolnikov who suffers from extreme isolation, restlessness and moral dilemma for the killing of two innocent victims, finds rescue in Sonia’s encouragement of confession and repentance.

The sexually discreet and rapist Svidrigailov is suffering from his own perversion. Since he has brought his own sin upon himself, he also finds his way to salvation and redemption through suicide.

Katrina Marmeladov, whose destitution and physical illness are too much for her to bear, finds release from her misery in death but, unlike Svidrigailov, Katrina’s death is not of her own choosing.

Sonia, who prostitutes herself for money to feed her family, bears her grief and shame internally. Her compassion for others and faith in God are her redemption. She is also rescued, ironically, through Raskolnikov’s confession and punishment for murder. Following him to prison to await his release, she is free from degradation and public shunning.

Each individual case of adversity in Crime and Punishment leads to salvation in ways that may seem unconventional, but they are effective nonetheless. For the most part, closure is reached and crime is punished.


At the end of the discussion, it is lucid that The kind of crime shown in the novel is based on utilitarianism. But no crime ends without punishment and its horror is mental sufferings. Through the method of redemption, the reincarnated person gets new opportunities in life. But, overall, we must keep ourselves away from crime.

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SR Sarker
SR Sarker
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