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Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The Itsy-Bitsy Spider

Raskolnikov is associated with blunt and sharp instruments, blood, nightmares, and to some degree horses. (Remember his horse dream?) Pro tip: if you see a cutie on Tinder with those same interests, swipe left for the love of all that is good in the world.

And yes, these associations might make our skin crawl...but they aren't real creepy-crawly symbols. Unlike Svidrigaïlov, our man doesn't have any spider or rat issues. (That's one thing he has going for him.)

Speaking of Svidrigaïlov, what did you think of his idea of the afterlife?

"We always imagine eternity as something beyond our conception, something vast, vast! But why must it be vast? Instead of all that, what if it's one little room, like a bath house in the country, black and grimy and spiders in every corner, and that's all eternity is? I sometimes fancy it like that." (4.1.84)

This even gives ol' Raskolnikov "a cold chill."

And here's the kicker: Svidrigaïlov doesn't think this is a bad thing. He puts this forth as his ideal. Perhaps he's bluffing to freak out Raskolnikov, or perhaps he really believes something like that is in store for him. Would he kill himself if he knew he was going there? How does that compare with some other ideas of the afterlife or hell (since many people would say that's where Svidrigaïlov is going)?

Doesn't the hideous hotel room he stays in his last night seem a little like his idea of the afterlife? It's tiny and dark. Only, instead of spiders, he gets mice and rats crawling on him and trying to eat his cold (disgusting) veal.

Ugh. The room with the spiders isn't looking so bad any more, even to us.

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