In Crime and Punishment, a novel in which Fyodor Dostoevsky studies criminal psychopathology, he also explores the human race by investigating their actions, motives, and thoughts through his characters. It is evident that Dostoevsky embraces some of this character's traits--such as selflessness and intellect--and reviles the characters whose motives are only to improve their own position in society.
Throughout the novel, Dostoevsky displays his respect for those who are willing to make sacrifices to provide relief for others. The most prominent character who exhibits this selflessness is Sonya Semyonovich. Sonya is the daughter of Marmelodov, who, because of his ...view middle of the document...
Despite the fact that Sonya is portrayed as a frail creature with a timid disposition, Dostoevsky’s respect is evident for her throughout the text as he develops her character into one of faith, strength, and loyalty through her selflessness.
Although Dostoevsky evidently admired selflessness and sacrifice as traits in a human being, he also revered the intellectual. Dostoevsky’s respect for a person with intellect is seen through Raskolinikov because he is strongest mentally and physically when he is engaged in a battle of wits. When Raskolinikov and Porfiry are discussing the validity of Raskolinikov’s arguments in his article, he is able to triumph over Porfiry for a good portion of that discussion
because he is calm and collected. Raskolinikov is able to counter each of Porfiry’s attacks with a logical answer due to this clarity of mind. For example, when Raskolinikov first enters Porfiry’s lodgings, he is nervous and stammers over his words. However, the moment Porfiry mentions the article, Raskolinikov’s becomes interested in the conversation and is able to refute Porfiry’s summary of his article very clearly, saying, “‘No, that’s not quite what I wrote...Actually, I will admit that you’ve given an almost correct account of my idea, even a completely correct one, if you like...The only point of difference is that I don’t at all insist that extraordinary people are in all circumstances unfailingly bound and obliged to commit “all sorts of atrocities”, as you pit it’” (226). This passage is such a stark contrast to the anxious, tense Raskolinikov that is seen previously in the novel. It is obvious that Dostoevsky values intellect because he shows the transformation of an agitated, guilt ridden man to an upright, confident man once Raskolinikov is in the position to show his wit and intellect.
Dostoevsky’s portrayal of women in this novel clearly shows what kind of woman he respects through evidence of what kinda of education she has and how she uses it. Dunya, Sonya, and Katerina Ivanovna all seem to be respected because they strive to use their intellect to govern their lives. Dunya and Katerina are formally educated and each use this education to their advantage. Dunya uses her cleverness and intelligence to get herself out of bad situations. For example, when Luzhin insisted on marrying Dunya, she was able to, using her insight, see through his charming appearance and realize that he was a corrupt man who would not strive for the happiness of her or her family. Katerina uses her education to keep herself from, until the end of her life, going insane. It is clear from her deranged state at the end of her life that Dostoevsky did not respect Katerina as much as Sonya and Dunya because she valued her educated and aristocratic past over human beings....