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Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

A classic, Crime and Punishment was written by Fyodor Dostoevsky and first published in 1886. This great psychological book focuses on ex-student Rodion Romanivich`s moral dilemmas, internal struggle and obsessions. There are many profound political social and religious concepts approached in Crime and Punishment, making it one of the most valuable Russian novel ever written.

Plot Summary

Raskolnikov lives in a rented room in Saint Petersburg and does not accept any financial help. Instead, he plans to kill and rob Alyona, an old money-lender, as he thinks he has the right to kill. Raskolnikov goes to her place and murder Alyona and her sister. The double assassinate shakes him a lot and he can only steal a few things.

Even if there is no witness of the crime, Raskolnikov begins a long internal struggle and becomes obsessed by what he had done. He falls ill and behaves strange whenever the crime is mentioned by others. His guilty consciousness makes him delirious.

His mother and sister (Avdotya) arrive in the city to meet Luzlin, the man Avdotya is about to marry in order to ensure her and her mother`s financial security. But things are not that simple and Avdotya finds herself in some complicated situations concerning men.

Raskolnikov meets detective Porfiry who becomes intrigued by his strange behavior and starts suspecting him for the crime. Still, the detective has no evidence. Meanwhile, Raskolnikov begins a relationship with Sonya, a young woman who prostitutes herself in order to help her family even if she is driven by deep Christian values.

The idea of confession torment Raskolnikov who eventually confesses the crime to Sonya. Urged by Sonya, Raskolnikov admits the crime and is sent to Siberia for penal servitude. Sonya follows him and helps him clean his consciousness.


The main themes are announced by the title, Crime and Punishment, and they are desiccated with fine psychological details. Alienation from society is also a main theme of the novel, along with the concept of the superman and nihilism.

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