Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov
The main character who is alternately called Rodya, Rodenka, and Rodka.
Avdotya Ramanovna Raskolnikov Rodya's sister, alternately called Dounia.
Pulcheria Alexandrovna Raskolnikov Rodya's mother.
Semyon Zakharovitch Marmeladov A drunkard who figures prominently in a bar conversation with Raskolnikov.
Katerina Ivanovna The wife of Marmeladov.
Sofya Semyonovna Marmeladov Marmeladov's daughter and devoted step-daughter of Katerina Ivanovna, who prostitutes herself and later falls in love with Raskolnikov. Also called Sonia.
Arkady Ivanovitch Svidrigaylov Dounia's former employer who arrives in St. Petersburg.
Marfa Petrovna Svidrigaylov's wife who dies and leaves Dounia a bundle of needed money.
Pyotor Petrovich Luzhin A rich man who thinks he can buy happiness for Dounia, his love. His name, comically, means "puddle."
Dimitri Prokofitch Razhumikin Raskolnikov's best friend and guardian of Dounia.
Andrey Semyonovitch Lebezyatnikov A tenant in the same building as the Marmeladovs and a liberal.
Porfiry Petrovich The overseeing police officer on Raskolnikov's case.
Alyona Ivanovna The moneylender who Raskolnikov murders.
Lizavetta Ivanovna The simple-minded sister of Alyona and a friend of Sonya.
Praskovya Pavlovna Raskolnikov's complaining landlady who is owed back-rent.
Nastasya Praskovya's servant and a friend of Raskolnikov.
Amalia Fyodorovna The Marmeladov's landlady who causes a big scandalous fight at a dinner party.
Kapernaumov Sonia's landlady.
Zossimov A friend of Razhumikin and a doctor who cared for Raskolnikov.
Nikodim Fomitch Chief of the police.
Zametov A clerk in the police station and a fiend of Razhumikin.
Ilya Petrovitch A police official.
Nikolay and Dimitri The painters, one of whom admits to the crime.



In Chapter One, a young handsome student, Raskolnikov, is on his way to visit an old pawnbroker. In a bizarre, disturbed, state of mind he struggles with his conscience over his obsessive planning of "that." The reader learns that he intends to murder Alyona, the pawnbroker. Despite the fact that he is disgusted by the thought of the crime, he continues the careful, yet incomplete, planning. Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov stops in a tavern after his visit to the old lady.
In Chapter Two, Semyon Marmeladov, a drunkard he meets at the bar, relays the details of his life to Raskolnikov. His alcoholism had caused the loss of his government job. He has been reinstated, but again is engaging in a drinking binge. Marmeladov is afraid to return home to his abusive wife, Katerina Ivanovna. Marmeladov's daughter, Sonia, was forced to enter into prostitution in order to support the family. Five days ago, he stole all the family's money and returned to the bars. Raskolnikov takes Marmeladov home and sees first hand the poverty and violence they face. Although he cannot afford to, Raskolnikov silently leaves money. Immediately after extending this gesture of kind humanity, Raskolnikov feels as if he would like to go back and regain the money. Raskolnikov's attraction to suffering leads him to give what he cannot afford, but his tendency toward cold, detached, intellectualism causes him to question his actions and creates in him astate of anxiety and distress.
In Chapter Three, the reader sees Raskolnikov's suffocating quarters with which even he is disgusted. His maid, Nastasya, tells Raskolnikov that the landlady, Prakovya Pavlovna, is planning to bring official complaints to the police because Raskolnikov has not paid his back rent. His mother writes him of how Dunia, Raskolnikov's sister, has been working as a tutor at the Svidrigailovs. Svidrigailov tried to seduce her and Marfa Petrovna, overhearing the conversation, spreads horrible rumors about Dunia. Marfa realizes her error and tries to correct the damage. Pyotr Petrovitch Luzhin, a relative of Marfa Petrovna, proposes to Dunia. He desires a wife with a good reputation but one without a dowry so that his wife will be indebted to him. They will be in St. Petersburg soon so that Dunia can join Luzhin. Raskolnikov is infuriated at all of this news and this additional stress agitates him even more.
Raskolnikov takes a walk in Chapter Four. He decides that Dunia is marrying Luzhin in order to provide help for him. Luzhin could give Raskolnikov a job and also provide for the family himself. He does not want his sister to sacrifice herself to a selfish, petty, egocentric man she does not love. Deep in thought, Raskolnikov observes a young fifteen year old girl staggering down the street, followed by a sordid looking man. Raskolnikov calls a policeman to aid him in protecting the girl. He offers his last bit of money for a cab, and then immediately regrets interfering in the situation. His love for his mother and sister, coupled by traces of the conversation about Sonia with Marmeladov, and magnified by this scene with the vulnerable young girl, sends Raskolnikov thinking that his sister is embarking on a parallel sacrifice to prostitution. At the end of the chapter, Raskolnikov decides to go visit an old schoolmate, Razumikhin.
In Chapter Five, Raskolnikov decides he will delay his visit to Razumikhin until after he does it. He has a drink and falls asleep in the park where he has a disturbing dream about being a child of seven again and is walking with his father to visit his mothers grave. They encounter a mass of drunken peasants, one of which is trying to make an old horse pull a heavy wagon full of people. The crowd ridicules this peasant, he gets angry and begins beating the horse. The brutal, grotesque beating results in the murder of the horse. Young Raskolnikov feels great compassion for the abused animal and throws his arms around it and kisses it. Raskolnikov awakens and is disturbed. On his walk home he overhears that Lizaveta, the old pawnbroker's sister, will be out on an errand at exactly seven o'clock that night.
Chapter Six is a flashback to a conversation that Raskolnikov overheard in which two young officers discuss the benefits of killing the old pawnbroker. Murdering this woman would remove a harmful thing from society, stop the evil she has been doing, free her money to be used to save destitute families, and allow the person who commits the murder to serve humanity. Raskolnikov's preparations to commit the murder delay him and he does not reach the old woman's apartment until seven-thirty. By the time she cautiosly opens her door, he is in a frenzied despair.
In Chapter Seven, Raskolnikov commits the brutal murder. He strikes her twice with the blunt side of the ax. He searches her body for keys and then searches the room. He suddenly hears footsteps in the entrance way. Raskolnikov takes the ax and splits Lizaveta's skull who has entered and is staring at her murdered step-sister. He tries to clean the blood from he ax and his body. As he is ready to leave, the doorbell rings. The callers realize that the door is locked from the inside. Suspicious, they leave to get help. Raskolnikov slips out and hides in the empty flat that was being painted. He returns home and falls into an unconscious sleep.


When Raskolnikov awakens in Chapter One, he realizes how foolish it was of him not to lock his door and not to hide the items he stole. His neurosis causes him to wonder if he is not already being punished. He again falls into heavy, troubled sleep. Nastasya and a police officer knock at his door, waking Raskolnikov. He is given a summons to the police office. As he dresses, he is repulsed at the thought of having to wear the bloody socks, but is forced to do so. He is preoccupied by whether or not he should just confess. After signing and IOU for the back rent, Raskolnikov begins to leave. He hears a conversation about the murder of Alyona Ivonovna and Lizaveta, smells fresh paint, and faints. After recovering, he is even more concerned that the police suspect him of the murder.
Raskolnikov hides the loot under a large rock in Chapter Two. He goes to visit Razumikhin. His behavior is very erratic and he leaves without fulfilling his initial intent. Raskolnikov walks home absentmindedly, is almost run over by a coach, and is given money by a stranger who confuses him for a beggar. He throws the money away. Back at home, he dreams that the police officer Ilya Petrovitch is beating his landlady. Nastasya realizes that Raskolnikov is sick. He collapses into unconsciousness.
After several days, Raskolnikov recovers consciousness in Chapter Three. Razumikhin has been taking care of him. There is a stranger who comes and wants to give him 35 rubles from his mother. When he falls back asleep, Razumikhin leaves to buy new clothes for Raskolnikov.
In Chapter Four, the doctor, Zosimov, comes to check on Raskolnikov's progress. Porfiry Petrovitch, the head of the Investigation Department also arrives. Zosimov and Razumikhin talk about the arrest of two painters in relation to the murders. This conversation excites Raskolnikov and Zosimov notices his agitation but misinterprets it as a step toward regaining an interest in life.
In Chapter Five, Luzhin comes to meet Raskolnikov. He is awkward, feeble and has made abominable living arrangements for Dunia and her mother. The conversation returns to the murders and Raskolnikov finds out that the police are going to examine all who have left pledges with the old woman. Raskolnikov accuse Luzhin of trying only to make Dunia feel indebted to him. Luzhin protests and accuses Raskolnikov's mother of misrepresentation. Raskolnikov threatens Luzhin physically if he ever mentions his mother again. Zosimov and Razumikhin notice that Raskolnikov takes no interest in anything except the murder.
Raskolnikov goes for another walk in Chapter Six, and lands in a restaurant where he asks for the newspapers of the last five days. While reading the papers, he meets Zametov, an official o the police and friend of Razumikhin. Raskolnikov taunts Zametov throughout the conversation saying that he came to the restaurant solely for the purpose of reading about the murder. Zametov insinuates that the murder was done by an amateur. Raskolnikov takes offense and offers what he thinks would be the perfect way of committing the crime and how one should hide the loot. Ironically, his explanation is exactly the manner in which he performed the crime. Raskolnikov asks Zametov "And what if it was I who murdered the old woman and Lizaveta?" Zametov is temporarily disturbed but soon dismisses this bizarre behavior as an aftermath of Raskolnikov's illness. Raskolnikov goes to a bridge where he is a witness to a woman's attempt to drown herself. He realizes that he was going o attempt the same thing and then became disgusted with himself for considering it. Raskolnikov returns to the scene of the crime. At the end of the chapter, he is fully resolved to confess everything to the police.
On his way to the police station in Chapter Seven, Raskolnikov sees a drunken Marmeladov stumble in the way of a carriage and get hit. Sonia arrives home dressed in gaudy prostitution garb. Marmeladov attempts to make apologies to his family. On his way out, Raskolnikov meets Nikodim Fomitch, the police official, who comments that Raskolnikov is splattered with blood. Polenka, the young daughter, follows Raskolnikov out to ask him his name and to thank him for offereing to pay for the expenses. Raskolnikov implores Polenka to pray for him. Raskolnikov's mother and Dunia are waiting back at his apartment.


In Chapter One, Raskolnikov ruins the happy family reunion by stating that he is opposed to Dunia's marriage. Dunia and her mother are very gracious to Razumikhin for his help. Razumikhin develops a sudden infatuation for Dunia.
In Chapter Two, the doctor gives news that he is satisfied with Raskolnikov's progress. Razumikhin goes to speak with Pulcheria Alexandrovna and Dunia. He relays the events of the last two years. They show Razumikhin a letter from Luzhin requesting that Raskolnikov not be present at their first interview. On returning to Raskolnikov's room, his mother is so frightened to see her son that she can hardly stand up. Raskolnikov's mother is pleased to see him better in Chapter Three. Raskolnikov insists that Dunia not marry Luzhin. He places the ultimatum: him or Luzhin. Dunia makes an elaborate justification and then Raskolnikov withdraws his objections disgustingly saying marry who you like. Dunia shows Raskolnikov Luzhin's letter.
Sonia appears at Raskolnikov's apartment in Chapter Four. She has come to invite him to the funeral and to the funeral lunch. Sonia becomes embarrassed because she realizes that Raskolnikov must have given them all the money he had. Dunia and his mother leave and Raskolnikov tells Razumikhin that he wants an interview with Porfiry. He and Sonia are alone but Sonia leaves immediately. Svidrigailov is checking to see where Raskolnikov lives.
In Chapter Five, Raskolnikov tells Porfiry that he had left Alyona Ivanovna some small items which were not worth much but to which he was greatly attached sentimentally. Porfiry subtly lets Raskolnikov know that he is aware of his life: he knows of his sickness, of his meting with Zametov, and of his presence at the Marmeladov's. Porfiry asks Raskolnikov to explain parts of an article that he wrote on the crime. His theory centers around the extraordinary man as opposed to the ordinary man. He argues that a crime is always accompanied by sickness, all men are divided into ordinary and extraordinary, ordinary men have no right to transgress the law, though extraordinary men do have that right. All great men have the right to eliminate a few men. In fact, being great means breaking from the common rut of ordinary laws. Porfiry wonders if Raskolnikov thinks of himself as an extraordinary man. Porfiry tries to make Raskolnikov slip up by asking if he remembers seeing painters the day he went to see the old pawn broker. Raskolnikov is not fooled and answers that he saw people moving out and that the painters were there on the day of the murder. Raskolnikov asserts that the last time he was there was a few days before that.
Raskolnikov and Razumikhin discuss the conversation in Chapter Six. Raskolnikov returns to his room and searches to see if he might have left evidence but is reassured and cannot find anything. As he is leaving, a stranger appears and calls him a murderer. Raskolnikov is visibly agitated and confused. He returns to his room and falls asleep. He dreams that he is again striking the old woman but she refuses to die. When he awakens, Svidrigailov is standing in the doorway.

Part Four

It is in the Chapter One that Svidrigaylov and Raskolnikov are shown to have something in common. Dostoyevsky begins to show us that Raskolnikov is not the superman, but instead it is Svidrigaylov who is capable of killing without moral pangs. Svidragaylov offers to pay Dounia so that she will not marry Luzhin.
Arguably, the most exciting chapter in the book, Chapter Two has Dounia telling Luzhin to leave for good. We see that Razhumikin is the most noble character in the book and that he would defend Dounia's honor at all costs.
In Chapter Three, Razkolnikov leaves Razhumikin to take care of his sister and mother and then everything happens in Chapter Four. Raskolnikov leaves his family and goes immediately to Sonya's house. His mean-spirited taunting of Sonia in this part reminds the reader of an earlier work by Dostoyevsky, The Underground Man. This is the religious part of the novel, where Dounia's faith is emphasized. He has her read the raising of Lazarus from the New Testament in a Bible that Lizavetta gave her. Then they agree to stick it out together. Raskolnikov tells her that he knows who committed the murder. Svidrigaylov is listening through the door of a neighboring flat.
Chapter Five has a fascinating mind game between Raskolnikov and Porfiry, the police detective, which ends in a peculiar way. Porfiry proclaims his fondness for Raskolnikov and then in Chapter Six Nikolay, a house painter at Lizavetta's house, is suddenly pushed in the door where he makes a confession of the murder. At this point, Raskolnikov resolves to turn over a new leaf.

Part Five

In Chapter One Luzhin sets up Sonya for Dostoyevsky's great scandal to take place in chapter three. We get a humorous betrayal of Lebezyatnikov, who has syndrome of believing the last intellectual idea which he heard.
Chapter Two provides outrageous comic relief. Katerina Ivanovna has a funeral banquet to honor her dead husband. She makes the mistake of inviting everybody to the dinner. Then she gets into a horrible fight with her landlady.
Chapter Three is the scandal scene in which Luzhin accuses Sonya, whom he loves, of being ungrateful and a theif. He gets caught in the act by Lebezyatnikov and leaves in disgrace. On his way out the door, a goblet narrowly misses his head and hits the landlady. Her response is to evict Katerina from the building.
In Chapter Four Sonya learns all from Raskolnikov, but promises to follow him to Siberia. Sonya asks him to ask for forgiveness of his sins, but he refuses this and the cypress Cross that she tries to make him accept. Lebezyatnikov enters at the end and in Chapter Five he tells Sonya what she already knew from Raskolnikov, that Katerina Ivanovna and her children are in the streets.

Part Six

In Chapter One Razhumikin has it out with Raskolnikov over his treatment of Dunya and his mother. Razkolnikov asks Razhumikin to take care of him. After Razhumikin leaves, Porfiry enters. Significantly, Raskolnikov no longer feels nervous around Porfiry.
In Chapter Two, Porfiry will do his best to anger Raskolnikov again. He accuses him of the murder, explaining why the painter, Nikolay, could not be responsible. Then, before leaving, he tells Raskolnikov that he wants him to confess of his own free will. He is not afraid of Raskolnikov running away.
Chapter Three has Raskolnikov looking for Svidrigaylov and finding him in a tavern. Raskolnikov threatens Svidrigaylov not to see his sister and then, getting annoyed, he gets up to go. Svidrigaylov coaxes him to stay in Chapter Four and they have a converstaion about Dounia.
Chapter Five is high drama. Svidrigalov and Raskolnikov depart and Svidrigalov meets Dunya in the street. He tempts her to his apartment where, in the most evil scandal of the book, he tells Dunya that her brother murdered Lizavetta and then asks her to seduce him. They are locked in his apartment. When she refuses and he threatens to overpower her, she pulls a gun-Svidrigaylov's gun. She shoots and misses twice. The third time she is at very close range, but she loses heart. Svidrigaylov embraces her, but she rebukes him and leaves with the key.
Chapter Six has Svidrigaylov giving Sonia and his fianceŽ some money, dreaming a perverse dream, and shooting himself with his revolver. Meanwhile, in Chapter Seven, Raskolnikov goes to visit his mother and sister. He asks his mother to pray for him and before departing he has a long conversation with Dunya about suffering. Then, he leaves for Sonia's.
Upon arriving at Soni's in the final chapter, he asks for her cross. He says he will not go see Porfiry, Chapter Eight, but that he will make a confession at the crossroads. Dunya follows him. Eventually, he goes to the police station and makes his confession.
In the two Epilogues, Raskolnikov is sentenced to eight years in Siberia and Sonia goes with him. Two months after Raskolnikov's trial, Razhumikin marries Dunya. Raskolnikov is, at first, an aloof prisoner, but then when Sonia gets sick he realizes his love for her. Thus the book ends.


Trace the psychological progress of Raskolnikov's mind from the planning stages of the murder through the final realization of love.

Delineate the superior man argument and evaluate Raskolnikov by the theory.

Consider the different dreams throughout the novel and decide what functional role they fulfill.

Explore the religious and biblical themes in the novel, especially the story of Lazarus that Sonia reads to Raskolnikov.

Compare and contrast Svidrigailov with Raskolnikov-- How are they paralleled and opposed? How does Svidrigailov fit into the extraordinary man theory? Why does Svidrigailov commit suicide? Decide how you feel about his character.

What role does suffering have in the characters and in the novel? How does each character suffer and feel about suffering? Who suffers the greatest in Crime and Punishment?

The crime in Crime and Punishment occurs very early in the novel leaving the rest of the novel to entertain theories of punishment. Discuss the different forms of punishment and the concepts of law present in the novel.