Crime and Punishment Characters
by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Crime and Punishment Characters

The main characters in Crime and Punishment are Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov, Pulcheria Alexandrovna, Duonia, Dmitri Razumihin, Piotr Petrovitch Luzhin, Sonia, and Profiry Petrovitch.

  • Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov is an impoverished former law student who murders a pawnbroker.
  • Pulcheria Alexandrovna is Raskolnikov's mother, who is tormented by knowledge of Raskolnikov's crime.
  • Duonia is Raskolnikov's sister, who tries to save him from himself.
  • Dmitri Razumihin is Raskolnikov's friend, who pines for Duonia.
  • Piotr Petrovitch Luzhin is a government official engaged to Duonia.
  • Sonia is the daughter of Raskolnikov's friend. Raskolnikov confides to her.
  • Porfiry Petrovich is a detective who elicits Raskolnikov's confession. 

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Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov

Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov (ROH-dyon roh-MAH-noh-vihch ras-KOL-nih-kov), called Rodya, a psychologically complex young law student who murders not for wealth but as an experiment, to see if he is one of those who can circumvent society’s restrictions. Impoverished and weakened by illness and hunger, he decides to rid society of a worthless person in order to preserve his genius for posterity, to relieve his devoted mother and sister from compromising themselves, and to prove that he is above conscience. He kills Alonya Ivanovna, a miserly old crone, and her sister. Later, in his loss of illusions, of peace of mind, and of the wealth he sought, he learns through suffering. Important changes result from acceptance of his inward punishment. His humanitarian instincts are brought out; his deep love of family and friends is revealed, and his belief that life must be lived is renewed. The study of his psychoses from the time he conceives his mad theory to his attempt at expiation in Siberia provides a masterly characterization of a tormented mind and shattered body.

Pulcheria Alexandrovna

Pulcheria Alexandrovna (pewl-CHEH-ryah ah-lehk-SAHN-drov-nah), his long-suffering mother, whose faith in her son sustains her but whose mind gives way under the strain of his deed and guilt. A handsome, middle-aged woman of distinction, a widow who has supported her family and urged her son to make his way in life, Pulcheria is a study of motherhood thwarted, a woman tortured by her inability to fathom her favorite’s depravity.

Avdotya Romanovna

Avdotya Romanovna (ahv-DOT-yah roh-MAH-nov-nah), called Dounia (DEW-nyah), her daughter and the younger sister who has aided in her mother’s effort to make something of her brother through working and skimping. A mirror of her mother’s fortitude and faith, Dounia is the beautiful, impoverished, clear-sighted savior of her family.

Dmitri Prokofitch Razumihin

Dmitri Prokofitch Razumihin (DMIH-tree proh-KOH-fihch rah-zew-MEE-hihn), Raskolnikov’s devoted friend. Enamored of Dounia, he is the savior of the family honor. Like Dounia, he has all the normal responses of a generous nature and works unceasingly to discover and repair the tragic situation of his friend. Affianced to the beautiful Dounia, he founds a publishing company to aid the hapless girl, mother, and brother. He is one of the few characters with a sense of humor; his good deeds lighten a psychologically gloomy and depth-insighted plot.

Piotr Petrovitch Luzhin

Piotr Petrovitch Luzhin (pyohtr peh-TROH-vihch LEW-zhihn), a minor government official betrothed to Dounia, a man filled with a sense of his own importance. Raskolnikov objects to his suit. Dounia herself loses interest in him after she meets Razumihin, whom she later marries.

Sofya Semyonovna Marmeladov

Sofya Semyonovna Marmeladov (soh-FYAH seh-MYOH-nov-nah mahr-meh-LAH -dov), called Sonia, the daughter of a drunken clerk and stepdaughter of the high-strung Katerina Ivanovna. It is her father who brings the luckless prostitute to Rodya’s attention and whose funeral the unstable student finances. From gratitude, the benevolent though soiled child of the streets comforts the murderer and supports him in his...

(The entire section is 1,955 words.)