Crime and Punishment

by: Fyodor Dostoevsky

Sonya

Characters Sonya

Sonya is quiet, timid, and easily embarrassed, but she is also extremely devout and devoted to her family. Her sacrifice of prostituting herself for the sake of her family is made even more poignant by the fact that it would not be necessary were her father able to control his drinking habit. Initially scared of the half-delirious Raskolnikov, Sonya, in her infinite capacity for understanding, begins to care deeply about him. She is not horrified by his crimes, but rather, concerned for his soul and mental well-being, urges him to confess. Raskolnikov thinks of her, at first, as a fellow transgressor, someone who has stepped over the line between morality and immorality, just as he has. But there is a crucial difference between their transgressions that Raskolnikov is unwilling to acknowledge: she sins for the sake of others, whereas he sins for no one but himself. Sonya illustrates important social and political issues that were of concern to Dostoevsky, such as the treatment of women, the effects of poverty, the importance of religious faith, and the importance of devotion to family.