Relationships In Dostoevsky's Crime And Punishment

1596 Words7 Pages
From his generous charity to his murder of two innocent women, Raskolnikov clearly lives with a divided mindset. However, deep within his two “selves” exists another personality. Critics believe that “most of the characters found in Dostoevsky’s novels reflect the author himself” (Pribic). In Crime and Punishment, readers can see elements of the man in his protagonist. Whether one looks at the people in the two men’s lives, the ideas they were fascinated by, or the setting in which they lived, the novel holds too many connections between the author and his character to ignore. Experiences, relationships, and occurrences in Dostoevsky’s life reveal a distinct reflection of himself in Raskolnikov.
The issues Dostoevsky felt most strongly about
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For instance, Dostoevsky’s wife died of tuberculosis. This woman, Maria, parallels the fiance that Raskolnikov lost to typhus ("In Defense of the Epilogue of Crime and Punishment"). Even though little information appears about this fictional woman from the novel, both deaths had a terrible effect on the men involved. Raskolnikov fell into an isolated depression, which eventually lead to his madness and crime. Dostoevsky suffered from extreme guilt. He suffered from epilepsy, which only grew worse due to the loss. This added to his overall declining health (Iswolsky). Another tragic event in Dostoevsky’s childhood that appears in Crime and Punishment occurred “when his closest play-mate, a girl of nine, was found raped one day in the hospital yard” ("Fyodor Dostoyevsky - A Writer 's Life"). This experience may have greatly influenced a character Raskolnikov discovers in the novel. He finds a young and innocent woman who has been taken advantage of, and he is immediately moved with compassion. Dostoevsky channels his troubled emotions into Raskolnikov’s initial response the girl. The protagonist’s pure and childlike sympathy parallel the author’s memories of his own…show more content…
Events that occurred in Dostoevsky’s life unmistakably appear in the plot of Crime and Punishment. By the time the author and character reached adulthood, they had both lost their fathers. The two were raised in Christianity by loving, religious mothers (Pribic). Regardless of the drastically different causes, both men spent time in prison in Siberia ("Fyodor Dostoyevsky - A Writer 's Life). Dostoevsky channeled his memories of imprisonment into his protagonist’s time there. This reflection is seen through the fact that the only book Dostoevsky owned during that time was “a New Testament given to him by a charitable woman who visited prisoners” (Iswolsky). Raskolnikov’s only possession was also a New Testament. Going further, he received it from Sonya, a compassionate woman who cared for and visited the other prisoners in Siberia. Later, the author lived in St. Petersburg after his release in 1859. Dostoevsky wrote Crime and Punishment there, publishing it in 1866. The novel itself takes place in the very same city, in the 1860’s (Pribic). This means that Dostoevsky envisioned Raskolnikov in places and situations that the author may have witnessed first-hand. The fact that both he and his character existed in the same city, in the same couple of years, implies that they would be exposed to a multitude of identical experiences. This could have resulted in similarly influenced personalities within the men. Too many connections exist between Raskolnikov and his creator to
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