Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, published in 1866, is a psychological novel that delves into the complexities of morality, guilt, and redemption. The story is set in St. Petersburg, Russia, and follows the life of Rodion Raskolnikov, a destitute and intellectually gifted student who formulates a theory that some individuals are morally justified in committing crimes for the greater good of society. Raskolnikov puts his theory to the test by committing a gruesome murder, and the novel unfolds as he grapples with the psychological and emotional consequences of his actions.

Against the backdrop of 19th-century Russian city life, Dostoevsky explores the socio-economic disparities and moral dilemmas faced by individuals in a rapidly changing society. Raskolnikov's interactions with other characters, including Sonia, a downtrodden prostitute, and Porfiry, a clever police detective, add layers of complexity to the narrative.

Crime and Punishment is considered a classic of Russian literature and existential thought, offering profound insights into the human condition. The novel has been translated numerous times, and its exploration of alienation, nihilism, and the psychology of criminals continues to resonate with readers, making it a significant work in world literature.

Read full plot summary, an in-depth analysis of Raskolnikov, and explanations of important quotes from Crime and Punishment.

Upgrade to PLUS and get instant access to all the study tools

Upgrade to PLUS and get instant access to all the study tools