"Crime and Punishment" is one of the greatest
and most readablenovels ever written. And I read this book before.wefollow his agonisedefforts to probe and confront both his own motives for, and the consequences of, his crime.I have to admit that this is a novel without mystery forthe murderer is walking on the street dayand night without any intention to avoid people exceptthe warp that his suspicious frameof mind has produced in him. A desperate young man plans the perfect crime -- the murder of a despicable pawnbroker, an old women no one lovesand noone will mourn. Is it not just, he reasons, for a manof genius to commit such a crime, to transgress moral law -- if it will ultimately benefit humanity? So begins one ofthe greatest novels ever written: a powerful psychological study, a terrifying murder mystery, a fascinating detective thriller infused with philosophical, religiousand social commentary. Raskolnikov, an impoverished student living in a garret inthe gloomy slums of St. Petersburg, carries outhis grotesque scheme and plunges intoa hell of persecution, madness and terror. Crime And Punishment takesthe readeron a journey intothe darkest recesses of the criminaland depraved mind, and exposesthe soulof a man possessed by both good and evil ... a man who cannot escape his own conscience. Raskolnikov, an impoverished student, conceives of himself as being an extraordinaryyoung man and then formulates a theory wherebythe extraordinary menof the world havea right to commit any crime if they have something of worth to offer humanity. To prove his theory, he murdersan old, despicable pawnbrokerand her half-sister who happened to come upon him suddenly. Immediately after the crime,he becomes ill and lies in his room semi-consciousfor several days. When he recovers, he finds thata friend, Razumihkin, had looked for him. While he is recovering, he receivesa visit from Luzhin, who is engagedto Raskolnikov's sister, Dunya. Raskolnikov insults Luzhin and sends him away because he resents Luzhin's domineering attitude toward Dunya.
As soon as he can be about again, Raskolnikov goes out and reads about the crime in all the newspapersof the
last few days. He meets an official from the police station and almost confesses the crime. He does go far enough in his ranting that the official becomes suspicious. Later, he witnesses the death of Marmeladov,a minor government official, who is struck bya carriage as he staggers across the street ina drunken stupor. Raskolnikov assists the man and leaves all his money to the destitute widow. When he returns to his room, he finds his mother and sister who have just arrived to prepare for the weddingwith Luzhin. He denounces Luzhinand refuses to allow his sister to marry sucha mean and nasty man. Aboutthe same time, Svidrigailov, Dunya's former employer, arrives in townand looks up Raskolnikov and asks fora meeting with Dunya. Previously Svidrigailov had attempted to seduce Dunya and when Raskolnikov had heardof it, he naturally formed a violent dislike for the man.
Raskolnikov hears that the police inspector, Porfiry, is interviewing all people who had ever had any business with the old pawnbroker. Therefore, he goes for an interviewand
leaves thinking thatthe police suspect him. Since he had met Sonya Marmeladov,the daughterof the dead man that he had helped, he goes to herand asks her to read to him fromthe Bible the storyof Lazarus. He feels great sympathy with Sonya who had been forced into prostitution in order to support her family while her father drank constantly. In her suffering, she becomesa universal symbol for Raskolnikov. He promises to tell her who murdered the old pawnbrokerand her sister who wasa friend of Sonya's.
After another interview with Porfiry, Raskolnikov determines to confess to Sonya. He returns to her and during the confession, Svidrigailov is listening through the adjoining door. He uses this information to try to force Dunya to sleep with him. She refuses and he kills himself later in the night.
Porfiry informs Raskolnikov that he knowswho
murdered the pawnbroker. After talking with Sonya, Raskolnikov fully confesses to the murder and is sentenced to eight years in a Siberian prison. Sonya follows him, and with her help, Raskolnikov beginshis regeneration.