The Character of Dounia in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment

The Character of Dounia in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment

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The Character of Dounia


Crime and Punishment    Dounia's commitment to her brother is unfaltering. Even when she is presented with the ultimatum of Luzhin, she continues to endure in her dedication and loyalty to her irritable and rascally brother. She realizes that making sure Raskolnikov is there will probably secure her fate in that she will not marry Luzhin. She refuses to do so though if he does not accept his brother. Dounia's commitment and loyalty can be seen in her calm nature about the letter, her loyal response to it, and her actions when she goes to visit her brother--she regards his gestures and words with guarded skepticism, but realizes that he is at least "unfeigned" when grasping her hand. When Pulcheria shows Dounia the letter she doesn't let her emotions go awry, but she reads the letter like a military sergeant on the battle field, simply carrying out the next order in an entire chain. She decides that she must talk to Raskolnikov before answering Luzhin or making her decision. She stands calm and collected in face of the massive divide and rift that has now been created in her life--she has been presented with a dilemma, she is going to be forced to choose between the one she loves and the one she feels "esteems her". In the small garret of Raskolnikov, Pulcheria and Advotya go to see and confer with the now "well" Rodya. Dounia's main purpose is to give Raskolnikov the option of whether he would like to come to their house when Luzhin is there. When her brother responds that it is essentially the women's choice, Dounia is firm in her commitment that he must be there. She wishes to convince him that she is not doing it purely for his sake--but rather for her own. Raskolnikov's chastising of her is ironic because she is only doing less blatant forms of actions he has already committed. Dounia, even after admitting that her marriage to Luzhin will help her very much, still loyally insists that Raskolnikov must be present for the meeting. She is willing to risk what she has professed is simply for her own sake. Her physical actions when she goes to visit her brother are an amalgam of compassion and skepticism. She is intelligent enough to realize that the things Raskolnikov is saying seem feigned, as if he had a script written for him.

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