How does Raskolnikov justify his crime?

Raskolnikov’s poverty may be part of his motivation for killing the greedy pawnbroker, since he stands to gain money from her death, but his justification of the murder is that he did the world a favor by getting rid of a drain on society, stating that he “didn’t kill a human being, but a principle!” This idea comes from the utilitarian philosophy that an action that makes the most people happy is moral. Therefore, if the pawnbroker is no better than a parasite plaguing the poor, killing her is not actually a crime at all, but a moral act by utilitarian standards. Raskolnikov also justifies his murder by claiming superiority over the rest of humanity, placing himself in an upper echelon of “supermen” who can transcend moral standards and law for the utilitarian good.

How does Katerina die?

Ostensibly, Katerina dies from her long-term struggle with consumptive illness. As emotional and physical health are intertwined in Crime and Punishment, her death is also caused by an accumulation of despair and an inability to accept her current situation. Just before her death, she goes mad and takes to the streets with her children as an organ-grinder, claiming to shame wealthy families for allowing a family with a noble lineage to be reduced to begging. Her body sickens along with her mind, and she begins coughing up blood. Brought home, Katerina dies in bed after refusing the services of a priest.

Why doesn't Dunya kill Svidrigailov?

Dunya doesn’t kill Svidrigailov because she’s not the kind of person who can willingly commit murder. Svidrigailov remarks that Dunya is only three paces away from him and could not possibly miss, and yet the closest Dunya comes to injuring him is the bullet grazing his cheek. This comment implies that Dunya misses not because her aim is poor but because she simply cannot bring herself to commit to the act. That she puts the gun down still loaded confirms this suspicion.

What does Svidrigailov's dream mean?

Svidrigailov’s three nightmares emphasize the permanent depravity of his character. His first dream of the mouse walking over him symbolically implies that Svidrigailov, too, is dirty. He next dreams of a dead teenage girl who has drowned herself over him, which emphasizes that Svidrigailov is a destructive force. His final dream of seeing lasciviousness in the face of a five-year-old finalizes that Svidrigailov could corrupt the innocence of a child. Although by this point Svidrigailov has already decided on suicide, these dreams highlight his reasoning. He’s irredeemably destructive and has, in utilitarian fashion, decided to remove himself from society.

What is Raskolnikov's punishment?

Although he is eventually imprisoned in Siberia, Raskolnikov’s primary punishment is the psychological torment from feelings of guilt and extreme alienation. His paranoia causes him to faint, have nightmares, and push himself further away from the help of his friends and family. The novel portrays the delirious effect guilt has on his mind as also sickening his body, leaving him bedridden at times. As Porfiry Petrovich observes, living with the fear of getting caught is often the worst punishment for a criminal (“if he is in continual suspicion and terror, he’ll be bound to lose his head”).