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Characters

Meet the Cast

Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov

Raskolnikov really loves people, or, maybe, Raskolnikov really hates people. Oh the confusion! The very root of his name is "raskol," which means "schism" or "split." Razumihin tells Dounia and Pul...

Sonia (Sofya Semyonovna Marmeladov)

Sonia has an intense life. She's forced into prostitution at seventeen or eighteen, then falls in love with a killer (Raskolnikov) and moves all the way across the country to be with him while he d...

Arkady Ivanovitch Svidrigaïlov

Svidrigaïlov is, arguably, the biggest bad-guy in the book. He makes Raskolnikov look like a saint. He's completely unfaithful to his wife, sleeps with his servants, and even attempts to rape...

Dounia (Avdotya Romanovna Raskolnikov)

Dounia is strong and steady, young and beautiful, intelligent and educated. Yet, she isn't the best judge of character. She learns over the course of the novel, though. In some ways Dounia is a dev...

Dmitri Prokofitch Razumihin

Razumihin is charming, sweet, loving, and forgiving. Responsible for much of the comic relief in the novel, he's a real people-person, and just the guy you want around if you get sick. He'll take c...

Porfiry Petrovitch

Porfiry is the attorney investigating the murders of Alyona and Lizaveta, and is a bit of a mystery. We don't really know him outside of his professional capacity. He's related to Razumihin, but th...

Pyotr Petrovitch Luzhin

Luzhin is a complete villain. Well, actually, an incomplete one, by dint of his completeness. That's a fancy way of saying he's a flat character. A complete villain, like Svidrigaïlov, has som...

Alyona Ivanovna

Alyona is the pawnbroker Raskolnikov murders. Like Pyotr Petrovitch Luzhin, she is a flat character. We can sympathize with her because she is a woman in her late sixties, because she is helpless b...

Lizaveta Ivanovna

Lizaveta is the woman Raskolnikov didn't intend to kill. In fact, part of why he feels justified in killing Alyona, Lizaveta's half sister, is because she beats and exploits Lizaveta. Lizaveta is a...

Semyon Zaharovitch Marmeladov

Marmeladov is a "don't let this happen to you" kind of character. His drinking strongly contributes to huge suffering for his entire family. His daughter Sonia has been forced into prostitution and...

Katerina Ivanovna Marmeladov

Katerina lives in the past. As far as we can tell, she was born in a fairly prosperous and "respectable" family, with a degree of privilege. She just didn't have good taste in men. When we meet her...

Pulcheria Alexandrovna

Pulcheria is Raskolnikov and Dounia's mom. She loves her little Raskolnikov and would do anything for him. Even, according to him, push her daughter into the arms of the cruel Pyotr Petrovitch Luzh...

Marfa Petrovna Svidrigaïlov

Is Marfa a victim or a victimizer, or both? It's hard to say because we never meet her. We know that she paid Svidrigaïlov's debt to get him out of prison and used her money to keep him from b...

Nikolay Dementyev

Nikolay is one of the men who is painting in the building when Raskolnikov kills the two women. He is first accused of the murders, then confesses to them. Arguably, his false confession is part of...

Zametov

Zametov is actually the first policeman to whom Raskolnikov confesses. Of course, Raskolnikov says he's just kidding, but this bizarre confession definitely puts Porfiry on Raskolnikov's trail. Zam...

Ilya Petrovitch

Ilya has the second to the last word in the pre-epilogue novel. His words are, "Drink some water." We know those aren't the most exciting lines, but they occur just before Raskolnikov finally turns...

Andrey Semyonovitch Lebeziatnikov

When we first hear about Andrey Semyonovitch, we think he's a bad guy. Marmeladov tells Raskolnikov that he beat Katerina because she wouldn't have sex with him, to pay him back for the money she o...

Nastasya Petrovna

The cook and servant in Raskolnikov's building. She is very kind to Raskolnikov and makes sure he eats a little something now and again.

Nikodim Fomitch

He's the superintendent of the district and, other than having some great lines – including, "Poverty is not a vice, my friend" – he doesn't play a big role in the story.

Praskovya Pavlovna

Raskolnikov's landlady and mother of his ex-fiancé. Razumihin has a brief affair with her.

Natalya Yegorovna

Described as ugly, odd, and sickly, Natalya was engaged to Raskolnikov, but then died.

Zossimov

Zossimov is a doctor and he takes care of Raskolnikov when he's sick. He seems to view Raskolnikov as a psychological experiment, but nothing comes of this. Zossimov basically drops out of the plot...

Polenka, Lida, Kolya

These are Katerina's children from a previous marriage. At the end of the novel these orphans are presumed to be in a safe place, but we wonder if Sonia will try to find them when her life becomes...

Philip

The servant Svidrigaïlov drove to suicide.
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