Crime and Punishment Questions and Answers
by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Which minor character serves as a foil to a main character in Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment?  

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The character of Razumikhin also acts as a foil to Raskolnikov. Indeed, Crime and Punishment is replete with foils for the story's protagonist. Razumikhin's name comes from the Russian word for "reason." This gives us a clue as to his personality. But unlike his friend, his reason is ultimately grounded in faith, and not a nihilistic worldview. He's an ex-student, and like Raskolnikov lives in considerable poverty. Despite this, he appears much more comfortable in his own skin, much more at ease in a society from which Raskolnikov has become isolated. In fact, Razumikhin's kind and considerate nature serves to highlight just how isolated his friend really is. This is what makes him a foil.

At one point in the book Razumikhin gets drunk and starts behaving boorishly. Yet the next day he is incredibly embarrassed at his behavior and feels guilty about it. It's this genuine feeling of remorse that sets him apart from Raskolnikov. Razumikhin has acted foolishly, and even then it was only...

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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