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Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Protagonist

Character Role Analysis

Raskolnikov

Raskolnikov is a challenge to our idea of a protagonist or "good guy." He murders two women with an axe. He's nasty to his girlfriend, even though she's followed him to prison. Yet, we like him, and it doesn't really have much to do with the fact that he saved some kids from a burning building (though that helps). It's more because of his compassion toward people like Marmeladov and Katerina, and because he reminds us of ourselves. Most of us have been, or will be, really confused and have had to live with horrible mistakes. If not, we probably know and/or love someone who has had such an experience. Seeing Raskolnikov as the protagonist lets us have hope that even after murder a person can still be human, still have the potential within to change and have a decent life.


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