Crime And Punishment Summary – Dostoyevsky

Crime And Punishment Summary - Dostoyevsky
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“Crime and Punishment” is a psychological and dramatic novel written by the famous Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It was first published in 1866.

Summary of Crime And Punishment Book

In the distant past, a student named Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov lives in a shabby attic at the top of a run-down apartment building in St. Petersburg. He is sick, dressed in rags, financially constrained, and engages in self-talk. However, he is also handsome, proud, and highly intelligent. He contemplates committing a heinous crime, but the nature of the crime is not so much clear.

To get money for an hour and plan the crime, Raskolnikov visits the apartment of an old pawnbroker named Alyona Ivanovna. Later, in a tavern, he meets a man named Marmeladov who, in a drunken state, abandoned his job and indulged in a five day drinking spree out of fear of returning home to his family. Marmeladov tells Raskolnikov about his sick wife Katerina Ivanovna and his daughter Sonya, who is forced to prostitution to support her family.

The next day in the morning, Raskolnikov receives a letter from his mother Pulcheria Alexandrovna, stating that his sister Dunya is engaged to marry a government official named Luzhin, and they will all move to St. Petersburg. In another tavern, Raskolnikov overhears a student like him discussing how society would be better off if the old pawnbroker Alyona Ivanovna were dead. Raskolnikov learns that the pawnbroker Alyona Ivanovna will be alone in her apartment the next evening. He sleeps restlessly and wakes up the next day with the idea to commit murder.

Raskolnikov goes to the pawnbroker’s apartment, kills her, and attempts to distract attention by crafting a fake item to serve as a hostage for ransom. However, Lizaveta, the pawnbroker’s stepsister, unexpectedly enters, and Raskolnikov kills her as well. He barely escapes the apartment without unseen.

The next day, Raskolnikov wakes up and frantically searches for bloodstains on his clothes. He receives a visit from the police, but they seem unaware of the murders. While discussing the crimes at the police station, Raskolnikov faints, raising suspicion among the officers. He returns to his room, collects the pawned items he took as hostage, and buries them in a courtyard.

Raskolnikov visits his friend Razumikhin, rejecting a job offer. He then returns home, experiences a feverish and nightmarish sleep, and wakes up to find his housemaid Nastasya and Razumikhin taking care of him. Dr. Zossimov and the young detective Zamyotov have also visited. All of them notice Raskolnikov’s extreme discomfort when the murders are discussed. Luzhin, Dunya’s fiancé, pays a visit and tensions rise.

After a confrontation with Luzhin, Raskolnikov goes to a café where he almost confesses to Zamyotov that he is the murderer. Impulsively, he visits the pawnbroker’s apartment. On his way back, he discovers that Marmeladov has been run over by a carriage. Raskolnikov helps move him to the apartment and meets Sonya. He gives the twenty rubles he received from his mother to the family. Returning to his apartment with Razumikhin, Raskolnikov faints upon seeing his sister and mother waiting for him.

Raskolnikov gets angry with Pulcheria Alexandrovna and Dunya, ordering them out of the room. He also instructs Dunya to break off her engagement with the Luzhin. Meanwhile, Razumikhin falls in love with Dunya. The next day in the morning, Razumikhin tries to explain Raskolnikov’s character to Pulcheria Alexandrovna and Dunya, and the three return to Raskolnikov’s apartment. Dr. Zossimov assures them that Raskolnikov’s condition is improving. Raskolnikov apologizes for his behavior the previous night and admits giving all his money to the Marmeladovs. However, he quickly becomes agitated and intolerant, demanding that Dunya break off her engagement with the Luzhin.

Dunya reveals that she is meeting Luzhin that evening and asks Raskolnikov to come. Sonya, feeling ashamed, enters the room, and Raskolnikov learns that Lizaveta was a friend of hers. He compels Sonya to read the story of Lazarus from the Bible. Meanwhile, Svidrigailov eavesdrops from the adjacent apartment.

The next morning, Raskolnikov visits Porfiry Petrovich, the detective in charge of the murder investigation. Porfiry is Razumikhin’s acquaintance, and Zamyotov is also present. During the conversation, Raskolnikov begins to feel that Porfiry suspects him and is trying to trap him. Later, when discussing the conversation with Razumikhin, Raskolnikov and Razumikhin try to understand whether Porfiry is suspicious of Raskolnikov. Raskolnikov learns that a man is looking for him regarding the murders.

When Raskolnikov confronts the man, he accuses Raskolnikov of being a murderer. That night, Raskolnikov dreams about the murder and wakes up to find a stranger man in his room.

The stranger is Svidrigailov, who urges Dunya to break off her engagement with Luzhin and offers her a large sum of money. He claims that his deceased wife, Marfa Petrovna, left three thousand rubles to Dunya in her will. Raskolnikov rejects Svidrigailov’s money and suspects him of being insane after hearing that Svidrigailov saw his wife Marfa’s ghost. After Svidrigailov leaves, Raskolnikov and Razumikhin, along with Dunya, Pulcheria Alexandrovna, and Luzhin, go to a restaurant.

Razumikhin reveals that the police are suspicious of Raskolnikov. Luzhin is uncomfortable with Raskolnikov’s presence and a quarrel ensues. Dunya breaks off her engagement with Luzhin, and everyone is relieved by her decision. Razumikhin discusses plans to start a publishing business with the family, but Raskolnikov disrupts the atmosphere by stating he no longer wants to see them. When Raskolnikov leaves the room, Razumikhin chases after him. They stop, face each other, and without a word spoken, Razumikhin realizes that Raskolnikov is the murderer. He promises to help them regardless of the challenges and quickly returns to assure Dunya and Pulcheria Alexandrovna of their safety.

Raskolnikov goes to Sonya Marmeladov’s apartment. During their conversation, he learns that Lizaveta was a friend of Sonya’s. Raskolnikov forces Sonya to read the story of Lazarus from the Bible. Meanwhile, Svidrigailov continues to eavesdrop from the next-door apartment.

The next morning, Raskolnikov visits Porfiry Petrovich at the police department to formally request the return of his pawned watch. During the conversation, Raskolnikov once again begins to suspect that Porfiry is trying to trap him. Eventually, under pressure, Raskolnikov accuses Porfiry of playing psychological games with him. In the midst of the tension, a worker named Nikolai bursts into the door and room and confesses to the murders.

The setting shifts to Luzhin and his roommate Lebezyatnikov’s apartment, where Luzhin harbors his hatred for Raskolnikov, blaming him for the broken engagement with Dunya. Although invited to an event in memory of Marmeladov, Luzhin refuses to attend. Sonya invites him into her room and gives him a ten-ruble banknote. A conflict erupts during Katerina’s memorial dinner.

The widow, highly distressed and proud, receives only a few guests, and Raskolnikov is the only one who arrives sober. Luzhin accuses Sonya of theft, but Lebezyatnikov enters the room and reveals that he saw Luzhin drop the banknote into Sonya’s pocket. Raskolnikov explains that Luzhin is likely trying to discredit Sonya. Luzhin leaves, and a quarrel ensues between Katerina and the landlady.

“After the meal, Raskolnikov goes to Sonya’s room and confesses the murders to her. They have a long conversation about the confused motives behind his actions. Sonya tries to persuade him to confess to the authorities. Lebezyatnikov enters later and informs them that Katerina Ivanovna appears to be mad, wandering the streets begging with her children.

Raskolnikov returns to his room and speaks to himself about the world, while Sonya rushes out to find them. She returns shortly and witnesses Katerina dancing and singing wildly. After encountering a police officer, she faints and is brought back to her room. She dies shortly afterward. Svidrigailov appears and offers to pay for the funeral and the care of the children. He reveals to Raskolnikov that he knows the murderer is Raskolnikov himself.

Devastated by his confession to Sonya and Katerina’s death, Raskolnikov roams in a daze. Razumikhin confronts him in his room, questioning whether he has gone mad and describing the pain he caused to his mother and sister. Porfiry Petrovich appears, apologizing for his treatment of Raskolnikov at the police station. However, he still doesn’t believe Nikolai’s confession and accuses Raskolnikov of the murders without having enough evidence to arrest him. Ultimately, Porfiry encourages Raskolnikov to confess, suggesting that he would receive a lighter sentence if he does.

Raskolnikov goes to search for Svidrigailov and eventually finds him in a cafe. Svidrigailov reveals that, despite still being interested in the world, he got engaged to a sixteen-year-old girl. He later leaves Raskolnikov, succeeds in bringing Dounia to his room, and threatens to assault her after she refuses to marry him. He shoots at her with a gun, but misses. When he realizes she despises him, he lets her leave. He takes his own life the next morning.

Visiting his mother, Raskolnikov expresses his eternal love and then returns to his room, revealing his intention to confess to Sonya. After leaving, he stops at a marketplace and kisses the ground. Upon arriving at the police station and learning of Svidrigailov’s suicide, he almost hesitates to confess. However, Sonya’s image convinces him otherwise, and he confesses to the Ilya Petrovich, one of the police officers.

A year and a half later, Raskolnikov is imprisoned in Siberia, having spent nine months there. Sonya, who has moved to a town near the prison, visits him regularly, attempting to alleviate his burden. Due to his confession, the confusion surrounding the murders, and testimony of his previous good deeds, he punished by a sentence of 8 years of hard labor in the Siberia instead of the death penalty. Raskolnikov’s mother goes insane and dies after his arrest. Razumikhin and Dounia get married. Although initially remaining as proud and aloof as before his confession, Raskolnikov eventually realizes his genuine love for Sonya and expresses remorse for his crime.”

Analysis of Crime and Punishment:

In Crime and Punishment, the author deeply analyzes the inner worlds of the characters. Furthermore, the literary success of Crime and Punishment has ensured its enduring popularity in contemporary times. Dostoevsky skillfully narrates the mental conflicts in Raskolnikov’s mind, the consequences of his crime, and the psychological state related to receiving punishment. Additionally, the dialogues between the characters enhance the realism of the novel, allowing the reader to better understand what the characters are feeling.

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