Crime and Punishment
Study Questions & Essay Topics
1. Why does Raskolnikov kill the pawnbroker?
2. Discuss the development of the poverty motif over the course of the novel.
3. Discuss Dostoevsky’s use of coincidence as a plot device in the novel. Does it affect the plausibility of the narrative? How does it affect the pacing?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. Describe the importance of the city to the plot. How does the city serve as a symbol of society and of Raskolnikov’s state of mind?
2. What impact do the descriptions of the various apartments—including those of Raskolnikov, Alyona, Sonya, Luzhin, and Dunya and Pulcheria Alexandrovna—have on our understanding of the characters who inhabit them and the events that take place within them?
3. Compare the characters of Raskolnikov and Razumikhin. How does Razumikhin describe Raskolnikov, and vice versa? Does Razumikhin serve as Raskolnikov’s foil? Are there other characters who are foils to Raskolnikov?
4. Discuss the use of foreshadowing in the novel. How does foreshadowing increase the level of suspense? Are there times when knowing what will happen later decreases the suspense? What effect does having the murder occur at the very beginning have on the structure of the novel?
5. Lebezyatnikov spouts a variety of theories about society. What role does he play in the novel? How might his character reflect Dostoevsky’s own political experiences?
6. Discuss the development of the theme of religious redemption over the course of the novel.
by Jojo1618, July 25, 2012
When Raskolnikov decides not to let his sister's marriage happen, he takes on the role of a typical big brother. He thinks no one is good for his sister, in addition to feeling that she is doing it for him. He is egocentric and his reaction really mirrors what any big brother would do who does not want his baby sister to marry an idiot.
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by taylor197, August 09, 2012
When Raskolnikov (Rask) gets his mother's letter, she explains that her pension is small but may be just enough to help out her son. Next, she tells him that his sister, Dounia, is getting married to a slightly arrogant business man, Pyotr.
Rask despises what's happening to his family. He doesn't take a "big brother" stance, but is simply angry that Pyotr is using the family's poverty to get a "legal concubine". Raskhas a large amount of pride in himself seeing that he won't accept any of Pulcheria's pension and later gives money... Read more→
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by Rero37, September 03, 2012
(Starting from Part 1, Page 12 of the last paragraph)
- Marmeladov's Monologue is a very important part of the story, simply because it helps set the pace for the rest of the story.
Raskolnikov had just come into a bar, regardless of how crowded it was, and the first person to talk to him is this drunk, strange man, named Marmeladov and he's the first person he's actually wanted to talk with in a long time. A drunkard is known to speak his mind and he began to give this long monologue about how he resembles a beast, how he 'lus... Read more→
44 out of 49 people found this helpful0