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Themes

There's plenty of alcohol in Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, and it isn't romanticized or celebrated in any way. In this novel, alcohol is nearly always a symbol or symptom of weakness, affliction, addiction, vice, abuse, or even vulnerability. Possible positive aspects of alcohol and drinking are not to be found. Though scenes featuring alcohol might have slight comic effects, they ultimately result in regret, at least, and terror, at worst.

Questions About Drugs and Alcohol

  1. How does Raskolnikov feel about drinking? How do you know?
  2. Why does Marmeladov say he drinks?
  3. What role does alcohol play in the funeral dinner scene?
  4. Why does Razumihin stop drinking? He's drunk when he first meets Dounia he's drunk – how does he feel about his behavior the next day?
  5. Do you think representations of alcohol and alcohol abuse are "realistic" in the novel? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The novel suggests that alcoholism is the root cause of most of the suffering in the novel.

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