Description: This study provides a detailed analysis of the confession motif in Dostoevsky' s Crime and Punishment. It discusses Dostoevsky's use of the sacramental concept of confession, in which the estranged person is reunited with the human community through contrite confession. Throughout the novel, Raskolnikov wavers between desiring estrangement and seeking union. These two poles are shown in his encounters with Sonya and Porfiry (who represent union) and Luzhin and Svidrigaylov (who represent estrangement). Sonya and Porfiry tell Raskolnikov to confess and accept responsibility for his life; Luzhin and Svidrigaylov show him how to continue passing responsibility to others. This study also demonstrates that the epilogue is not merely a tag, as some Dostoevsky critics have argued. Rather, Raskolnikov' s redemption is the only thematically and psychologically valid conclusion.
Date: August 1984
Creator: Collins, Cynthia R.