Raskolnikov murders a unsavory moneylender (and someone else….whoops!) in order to save himself from poverty. Spiraling into a self-obsessed world of paranoia and depression Raskolnikov attempts to sever himself from friends and family and retreat into a life of solitude. Constantly fearing capture he encounters people that he ‘knows’ have discovered him, but was his crime justifiable? He thinks so. Do they?
I found Crime and Punishment to be an extremely accessible read. From the start you grapple with the dilemma that Dostoyevsky intended you to grapple with; was the murder of the moneylender justifiable. The event itself happens very early on in the journey and we spend most of the book learning about the main characters relationships and his fear that capture is round the next corner. The murder almost becomes incidental and the main focus is on the obvious mental issues that Raskolnikov suffers from. He is a depressive man, perhaps even manic depressive at times. He tries to distance himself from his family and friends and is enraged when they show any compassion or concern. Character development is great! I liked the murdering Raskolnikov. I found myself getting pissed off with his meddling friends. It’s especially good when a caring maid brings him breakfast in the morning. He’s not a morning person. I can relate to that.
Raskolnikov discovers enemies who he knows have discovered him and frequently seeks them out. He fears discovery of his crime yet he relishes the chance to drop subtle hints that he is the man who did the deed. From the start though the murderer asks you what his crime was. Was it truly that bad? He did rid the world of a loathed old moneylender after all. I started wondering whether the punishment should not be too harsh. Poor Rodion is such a nice guy…he murdered for all the right reasons… Dostoyevsky, you made me think bad things!