Raskolnikov’s Crime in Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” Essay

August 17, 2021 by Essay Writer


Crimes can be different. Some people commit felonies due to despair and circumstances. Others enjoy the process and have no idea how to live differently. The difference between these two groups is the feeling of guilt. The people from the first group usually have a strong feeling of guilt, and it makes their life miserable. They subconsciously want to confess if not to law enforcement then to somebody at least. The representatives of the second group have no such feeling as their conscious concedes the right to do bad things and believe in their righteousness. However, there is a group of felons who think they can do anything and avoid punishment, but then, they cannot cope with the feeling of guilt. Rodion Raskolnikov is one of such people. Using the ingenuity of Fyodor Dostoevsky and his eternal masterpiece Crime and Punishment, the paper is going to prove the idea that the actual crime committed by Rodion Raskolnikov was the arrogance he had towards the world.

Actual Crime

The actual crime of Rodion Raskolnikov was not the fact of the double murder, intentional and conscious. It was a terrible deed by itself, but it was only the result of Raskolnikov’s true crime. He is guilty of being too weak to admit his mediocrity and accept it (Dostoyevsky 103). Rodion wanted too much and had too little because, in his mind, he was too great. In reality, Rodion was just a regular young man with gigantic ambitions. On the one hand, ambitions are good since they create momentum and make people develop. On the other, Raskolnikov had not enough will to be the man he wanted to be.

He only wanted to dare according to his own words. Dostoyevsky described it as follows: “… that power is only vouchsafed to the man who dares to stoop and pick it up. There is only one thing, one thing needful: one has only to dare! … I wanted to have the daring … and I killed her” (739-740). It is clear that at some point, Rodion had found the courage to pick up the power he dreamt of so much. Unfortunately for him, Raskolnikov appeared to be not so outstanding as he thought he was. Sonya had made Rodion the man he was, conscious and good deep inside. This contradiction had made him so miserable that the inevitable punishment followed. Dostoyevsky depicted a man with unreasonable ambitions and goals not supported by the essence of this individual. It should be said that the author did it perfectly.


Summing, the paper proved the idea that the actual crime committed by Rodion Raskolnikov was the arrogance he had towards the world. Rodion’s problem was his inability to stick to the concept of his exceptionality and superiority over others. Such a contradiction between his conscience and arrogance has made Rodion be there where he appeared to be at the end of the novel. Raskolnikov made the wrong choice based on the wrong assumptions, so everything went wrong until then. The problem was in the lack of character strength that would help Rodion to be closer to the image he had made up in his head for himself. The inevitability of punishment, presented by Dostoyevsky, is based in this case solely on Raskolnikov’s weak character and his inconsistency.

Works Cited

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment. Mineola: Dover Publications, 2001. Print.

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