Sonia and Raskolnikov in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment

Sonia and Raskolnikov in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment

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Sonia and Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment

 

Sonia and Raskolnikov are two characters that interact with each other in the novel, Crime and Punishment. They interact on multiple levels, sharing several likenesses. Both of these characters are at-times self-sacrificing, both are struggling for meaning in a dreary existence, and both are generally unhappy people, but brighten and seem to enjoy each other's presence--even when Raskolnikov is berating her religion. What is self-sacrifice, for which these characters and so many people around the world engage in? It is a desire to help those around us more than we wish to help ourselves. This is not normal human state, although it can be brought about easily by societal pressures, and sometimes even political societies can compel this attitude. Sonia practices a form of altruism for her family however. She acquires a yellow card and takes her body off to the moral slaughter by sacrificing it to others for money--money that will go to her starving, poor family. Though not his predominant state of mind or action, Raskolnikov does have temporal tendencies towards self-sacrifice. It seems that part of his state of mind when considering the murder of the pawnbroker is that he will be helping society as a whole--definitely a motive that comes from outside the self. Sonia and Raskolnikov share many characteristics that make them an interesting encounter for each other. A tendency to self-sacrifice for one, and a life of it for another, provides for an amalgam of psychological likenesses which help the characters relate.

            Due in part to their self-sacrificing lives, both characters are also trying to search for meaning in the dreary existence which they are subjected to. Sonia finds this meaning in the Bible, in a belief in God. Raskolnikov writes a theory. He finds solace in thinking that he himself is a god-like creature, he believes he is extraordinary. A belief in being a subject of the Divine and thinking that there are two divisions of men is extremely close. Both of these characters also have their meaning attacked. Porfiry Petrovich attacks and picks for holes in the theory of Raskolnikov. Perhaps as a reaction to this, Raskolnikov picks holes in the support for meaning in Sonia's life--God, the Bible, and her faith. The final glues that continually attracts these two characters is the fact that all their morbid similarities bring them together so that they actually enjoy each other's presence.

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Although Raskolnikov berates her religion mercilessly, there have been at least two other major instances in which Raskolnikov has showered great charity and love upon the head of Sonia and her family. Raskolnikov lives life according to his theory in his mind, unfortunately he is not able to realize behaviors that aligned with his moral code. Therefore by his own code, not even ours or societies, he is morally bankrupt. Yet Sonia and Raskolnikov enjoy each other's presence and time--misery loves company.

 
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