Crime and Punishment by Fyodor DostoyevskyRaskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without remorse or regret. He imagines himself to be a great man, a Napoleon: acting for a higher purpose beyond conventional moral law. But as he embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a suspicious police investigator, Raskolnikov is pursued by the growing voice of his conscience and finds the noose of his own guilt tightening around his neck. Only Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute, can offer the chance of redemption.
Crime and Punishment Summary and Analysis of Part One, Chapters 1-4
It is early July in St. Petersburg, and very hot. A good-looking young man who is nearly destitute and greatly in debt to his landlady manages to slip out of the house unnoticed. He is relieved, not because he is a coward by nature but because he has been irritable and tense for some time and dreads meeting anyone at all, let alone his landlady. The young man thinks to himself in a rapidly rambling fashion about some unknown deed which he seems torn about committing.
On a hot and sultry day in July, Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov, a young student, slips past his landlady to whom he is heavily in debt, and roams aimlessly towards an old and despicable pawnbroker, Alyona Ivanovna. He has cut himself off from everyone and furthermore shrinks from any type of human conduct. His little cupboard of a room, his debts, and his crushing poverty depress him to the point of rendering him incapable of attending classes or tutoring his own students. On the way to the pawnbroker's, he simply cannot believe that he is going to perform some loathsome action. He also realizes that his thoughts are confused, partly because he had eaten practically nothing for two days.
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by Fyodor Dostoevsky
It was first published in the literary journal The Russian Messenger in twelve monthly installments during It is the second of Dostoevsky's full-length novels following his return from ten years of exile in Siberia. Crime and Punishment is considered the first great novel of his "mature" period of writing. Crime and Punishment focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Raskolnikov , an impoverished ex-student in Saint Petersburg who formulates a plan to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker for her money. Before the killing, Raskolnikov believes that with the money he could liberate himself from poverty and go on to perform great deeds. However, once it is done he finds himself racked with confusion, paranoia, and disgust for what he has done. His ethical justifications disintegrate completely as he struggles with guilt and horror and confronts the real-world moral consequences of his deed.