Three characters in Crime and Punishment; Dunya, Sonya, and Lizaveta struggle with the question of what a woman owes to her family. Each of these girls is selling their life for their family. Sonya becomes a prostitute so that her family can make ends meet. Lizaveta is a slave to her older sister, Alyona Ivanova. She can never act without the Alyona’s approval and suffers beatings for incompetence. Sonya is considering marring a man to secure a comfortable life for her mother and brother, Roskolnikov. These women give up everything for their families and because of that their worth in society diminishes. Dunya is different from the others in that she has someone who is against her decision to give up her life. While these women’s circumstances seem to be about what a woman owes to her family, really, they show the family’s complacency with the worth of the woman’s life.
To understand t...
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...ya and Lizaveta needed their families to be prevent them from giving up their lives, their family turned a blind eye and accepted their sacrifice. And when they lost that support, religion was the only thing left.
In a society where each family is struggling to make ends meet, one must question what they are willing to give up to help their family. Sonya, Dunya, and Lizaveta decided that their life was less important than the lives of their beloved people. Sonya and Lizaveta’s families agreed to sacrifice these girls. The circumstances of Sonya and Lizaveta would have repeated had it not been for Roskolnikov’s intervention. He asked a question the other families didn’t: can I live with my sister sacrifice herself for me? It is the anomaly in the pattern of self-sacrifice that allows the readers to grasp what is truly important in the question of what is a life worth?
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