Crime and Punishment

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Unveiling Traits and Suspense

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment is told primarily from the point of view of the main character Raskolnikov but occasionally switches to the perspective of minor characters like Svidrigailov, Razumikhin, and Dunya (third person, omniscient) which makes it more attention-grabbing. In Part IV, Raskolnikov is progressively sinking into his new found guilt for murdering his pawnbroker Alyona Ivanovna. The latter remorse leads him to develop a physical pain that it’s too overwhelming for him to be a reliable source of other important events that still keep happening during the story. The point of view changes in this section, so that the reader is able to notice character traits, which are unable to be told if only focused on Raskolnikov; such as Razumikhin’s interpretation of his love for Dunya, Dunya’s previously unknown account on Luzhin’s marriage proposal, as well as Svidrigailov’s constant wish for contact with Raskolnikov.

Razumikhin’s love for Dunya is not clearly described until Part IV, had not Dostoevsky shifted his focus on point of view. Raskolnikov is still too weighed down due to the murders and the fact that he can’t provide for his family financially, so that when he is asleep, the reader would not know of the following scene if the author hadn’t given Razumikhin the spotlight to give his account on his feelings for Dunya. Once Raskolnikov sleeps, Razumikhin accompanies Dunya and her mother to their loft, and we truly recognize his love for her when he describes her physically as if adoring her, and even fantasizes about their future. Doestoevsky does this change in point of view so that the reader is reassured that Raskolnikov does no longer need to worry about his family’s financial issues because Razumikhin truly cares for his family, creating a free pathway for him to confess the murder.

Raskolnikov was usually concerned for his family’s well being. During Part I, he received a...
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