Crime and Punishment: a True Confidante

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A confidant is someone who is there for a protagonist when they are most vulnerable, someone who helps raise them up and works to help them succeed, someone who the lead character trusts. Simply put, a confidant is someone they can confide in. In Crime and Punishment, the protagonist Raskolnikov is adrift in his own head, torn between his theory of the extraordinary man, accompanied by his desire to be that man, and the compassion and faith he so often sees as weakness—something to be looked down on and viewed as inferior. In a desperate attempt to cross the line and shed his “ordinary” role, he murders Alyona and her innocent and helpless sister Lizaveta, and this departure from the morals of society widens the rift between his heart and his head. His feelings of superiority and his efforts to suppress the guilt lying just beneath the surface leave him stranded and isolated. Despite Raskolnikov’s efforts to pull away from humanity, his only friend, Razumikhin, keeps him fiercely tethered to reality. Throughout the entirety of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov’s confidant and benefactor takes the form of his old university friend Razumikhin, a man who’s unrequited altruism and steadfast presence sees Raskolnikov through his darkest moments and times of need. Razumikhin is a confidant who possesses depth and insight, carrying and supporting Raskolnikov on his path to redemption. He represents a meeting of Raskolnikovs two sides, a version of Raskolnikov that is whole and good.

Representing reason, Dmitri Prokofich Razumikhin’s selfless actions and loyalty towards Raskolnikov save the conflicted man on numerous occasions. He is a true confidant in that he does not hesitate to offer what he can to Raskolnikov— a job, new clothing, and unwavering support—but still remains unafraid to question him when he is acting unreasonable or foolish. A stereotypical confidant is someone that the protagonist can confide in, but Dostoevsky’s version is different....
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