Crime and Punishment

by: Fyodor Dostoevsky

Dunya

Dunya is Raskolnikov’s sister and shares many of his traits. She is intelligent, proud, beautiful, and strong-willed. But in most other ways, she is Raskolnikov’s exact opposite. Whereas he is self-centered, cruel, and prone to intellectualizing, she is self-sacrificing, kind, and exhibits endless compassion. The relationship between Dunya and Raskolnikov is always based on mutual love and respect, but it swings from one extreme of emotion to the other as Raskolnikov slowly approaches the moment of confession. In many ways, Dunya is more mature than her brother: while he grows angry and dizzy confronting Luzhin, she remains confident and in control, even when she becomes just as angry. She is the strongest female character in the novel, neither as crushed by poverty nor as timid as Sonya. If there are any heroes in Crime and Punishment, she, along with Razumikhin, is certainly one of them, which makes their marriage at the end of the novel particularly appropriate.


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