Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment (Russian: Преступление и наказание) is a novel by Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, first published in the literary journal The Russian Messenger in twelve monthly installments in 1866, and was later published as a novel. It focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, an impoverished St. Petersburg student who formulates and executes a plan to kill a hated, unscrupulous pawnbroker for her money, thereby solving his financial problems and at the same time, he argues, ridding the world of evil.
- All is in a man's hands and he lets it all slip from cowardice, that's an axiom. It would be interesting to know what it is men are most afraid of. Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what they fear most.
- Ch. 1
- He ran beside the mare, ran in front of her, saw her being whipped across the eyes, right in the eyes! He was crying, he felt choking, his tears were streaming. One of the men gave him a cut with the whip across the face, he did not feel it. Wringing his hands and screaming, he rushed up to the grey-headed old man with the grey beard, who was shaking his head in disapproval. One woman seized him by the hand and would have taken him away, but he tore himself from her and ran back to the mare. She was almost at the last gasp, but began kicking once more.
- Ch. 5
- He suddenly heard steps in the room where the old woman lay. He stopped short and was still as death. But all was quiet, so it must have been his fancy. All at once he heard distinctly a faint cry, as though some one had uttered a low broken moan. Then again dead silence for a minute or two. He sat squatting on his heels by the box and waited, holding his breath. Suddenly he jumped up, seized the axe and ran out of the bedroom.
- Ch. 7
- So he lay a very long while. Now and then he seemed to wake up, and at such moments he noticed that it was far into the night, but it did not occur to him to get up. At last he noticed that it was beginning to get light. He was lying on his back, still dazed from his recent oblivion. Fearful, despairing cries rose shrilly from the street, sounds which he heard every night, indeed, under his window after two o’clock. They woke him up now.
- Ch. 1
- "Where is it?" thought Raskolnikov. "Where is it I've read that someone condemned to death says or thinks, an hour before his death, that if he had to live on some high rock, on such a narrow ledge that he'd only room to stand, and the ocean, everlasting darkness, everlasting solitude, everlasting tempest around him, if he had to remain standing on a square yard of space all his life, a thousand years, eternity, it were better to live so than to die at once! Only to live, to live and live! Life, whatever it may be!...How true it is! Good God, how true! Man is a vile creature!...And vile is he who calls him vile for that," he added a moment later.
- Ch. 6
- "I like it when people lie! Lying is man's only privilege over all other organisms. If you lie—you get to the truth! Lying is what makes me a man."
- Ch. 6
- The lodgers, one after another, squeezed back into the doorway with that strange inner feeling of satisfaction which may be observed in the presence of a sudden accident, even in those nearest and dearest to the victim, from which no living man is exempt, even in spite of the sincerest sympathy and compassion.
- Ch. 7
- "What do you think?" shouted Razumikhin, louder than ever, "you think I am attacking them for talking nonsense? Not a bit! I like them to talk nonsense. That's man's one privilege over all creation. Through error you come to the truth! I am a man because I err! You never reach any truth without making fourteen mistakes and very likely a hundred and fourteen. And a fine thing, too, in its way; but we can't even make mistakes on our own account! Talk nonsense, but talk your own nonsense, and I'll kiss you for it. To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in someone else's. In the first case you are a man, in the second you're no better than a bird. Truth won't escape you, but life can be cramped."
- Ch. 1
- But what can I tell you? I have known Rodion for a year and a half; he is moody, melancholy, proud, and haughty; recently (and perhaps for much longer than I know) he has been morbidly depressed and over-anxious about his health. He is kind and generous. He doesn't like to display his feelings, and would rather seem heartless than talk about them. Sometimes, however, he is not hypochondriacal at all, but simply inhumanly cold and unfeeling. Really, it is as if he had two separate personalities, each dominating him alternately.
- Ch. 2
- "It began with the socialist doctrine. You know their doctrine; crime is a protest against the abnormality of the social organization and nothing more, and nothing more; no other causes admitted!..."
- Ch. 5
- "Murderer!" he said suddenly in a quiet but clear and distinct voice.
Raskolnikov went on walking beside him. His legs felt suddenly weak, a cold shiver ran down his spine, and his heart seemed to stand still for a moment, then suddenly began throbbing as though it were set free. So they walked for about a hundred paces, side by side in silence. The man did not look at him.
"What do you mean... what is... Who is a murderer?" muttered Raskolnikov hardly audibly.
"You are a murderer," the man answered still more articulately and emphatically, with a smile of triumphant hatred, and again he looked straight into Raskolnikov’s pale face and stricken eyes.
- Ch. 6
- It was dark in the corridor, they were standing near the lamp. For a minute they were looking at one another in silence. Razumikhin remembered that minute all his life. Raskolnikov’s burning and intent eyes grew more penetrating every moment, piercing into his soul, into his consciousness. Suddenly Razumikhin started. Something strange, as it were passed between them... Some idea, some hint as it were, slipped, something awful, hideous, and suddenly understood on both sides... Razumikhin turned pale.
- Ch. 3
- Destitution, my dear sir, destitution – that is a sin.
- "You ought to thank God, perhaps. How do you know? Perhaps God is saving you for something. But keep a good heart and have less fear! Are you afraid of the great expiation before you? No, it would be shameful to be afraid of it. Since you have taken such a step, you must harden your heart. There is justice in it. You must fulfill the demands of justice. I know that you don’t believe it, but indeed, life will bring you through. You will live it down in time. What you need now is fresh air, fresh air, fresh air!"
- Porfiry, in Ch. 2
- Nothing in the world is harder than speaking the truth and nothing easier than flattery. If there’s the hundredth part of a false note in speaking the truth, it leads to a discord, and that leads to trouble. But if all, to the last note, is false in flattery, it is just as agreeable, and is heard not without satisfaction. It may be a coarse satisfaction, but still a satisfaction. And however coarse the flattery, at least half will be sure to seem true. That’s so for all stages of development and classes of society.
- Svidrigaïlov, in Ch. 4, p. 471
- Variant translation: Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery.
- "Brother, brother, what are you saying? Why, you have shed blood?" cried Dunia in despair.
"Which all men shed," he put in almost frantically, "which flows and has always flowed in streams, which is spilt like champagne, and for which men are crowned in the Capitol and are called afterwards benefactors of mankind... If I had succeeded I should have been crowned with glory, but now I'm trapped."
- Ch. 7
- "Ah, it's not picturesque, not aesthetically attractive! I fail to understand why it is more honourable to shell some besieged town than to destroy by the blows of an axe."
- Ch. 7
- Raskolnikov refused the water with his hand, and softly and brokenly, but distinctly said: "It was I who killed the old pawnbroker woman and her sister Lizaveta with an axe and robbed them."
- Ch. 8
- Mere existence had always been too little for him; he had always wanted more. Perhaps it was just because of the strength of his desires that he had thought himself a man to whom more was permissible than to others.
- Pt. II
- How it happened he did not know. But all at once something seemed to seize him and fling him at her feet. He wept and threw his arms round her knees. For the first instant she was terribly frightened and she turned pale. She jumped up and looked at him trembling. But at the same moment she understood, and a light of infinite happiness came into her eyes. She knew and had no doubt that he loved her beyond everything and that at last the moment had come...
- Pt. II
- They were both pale and thin; but those sick pale faces were bright with the dawn of a new future, of a full resurrection into a new life. They were renewed by love. The heart of each held infinite sources of life for the heart of the other.
- Pt. II
- Seven years, only seven years! At the beginning of their happiness at some moments they were both ready to look on those seven years as though they were seven days. He did not know that the new life would not be given him for nothing, that he would have to pay dearly for it, that it would cost him great striving, great suffering. But that is the beginning of a new story – the story of the gradual renewal of a man, the story of his gradual regeneration, of his passing from one world into another, of his initiation into a new unknown life. That might be the subject of a new story, but our present story is ended.
- Pt. II
Quotes about Crime and Punishment
- (When asked for her all-time favorite book:) I would say Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, which had an enormous effect on me. I think young people today might not realize how readable that novel is.