Crime and Punishment

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Moral Ambiguity
Sonya Semyonovna Marmeladov is a confounded young woman who can be characterized as morally ambiguous in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel, Crime and Punishment. Sonya is making decisions in life uncertain of whether they are right or wrong. She has been forced into prostitution for the betterment of her family, is being captivated by a killer, and is trying to maintain a relationship with God. Sonya battles with moral ambiguity throughout the novel, and because of this, her character plays a major role in Crime and Punishment and leaves an effect on many people in St. Petersburg.

Sonya Marmeladov is known by readers as a woman who lives in a disheveled home with an incompetent family and doesn’t have any money to her name. She supports herself and her family by selling herself to aspiring clientele. She is also looked down upon as a person for this, and is thought of as an awful person. Sonya shows moral ambiguity here because she is uncertain what is morally correct in her situation. Should I serve as a prostitute and intentionally commit sin? Should I let my family run out of money and risk being kicked out of their home and not be able to have food? These are questions Sonya asks herself and this debate of whether she or her family is more important to herself is what adds to the significance of the novel.

Another circumstance where Sonya is morally ambiguous is where she has to decide to either have a relationship with Raskolnikov, or leave him out of the picture. Sonya knows that it is right to help Raskolnikov in her life because he could be lost and go even deeper into his madness. However, Sonya knows that Raskolnikov is a killer and it would be wrong to be associated with somebody who knowingly commits sins as extravagant as murder. Sonya is also aware that Raskolnikov has issues and his madness could drive him to do other things that could lead to even worse consequences. Sonya believes that it is equally as wrong to not help...
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