Study Guide

Crime and Punishment Drugs and Alcohol

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Drugs and Alcohol

Part 1, Chapter 1

[Raskolnikov] walked along the pavement like a drunken man, regardless of the passers-by, and jostling against them, and only came to his senses when he was in the next street. (1.1.45)

It's a good thing Raskolnikov isn't a drinker. It's also ironic that he acts like a drunk, considering how he feels about them.

[…] and the drunken men whom he met continually, although it was a working day, completed the revolting misery of the picture. (1.1.6)

There are dozens of lines like this one to be found in Crime and Punishment. Raskolnikov does not like drunks and the first chapter, in particular, emphasizes this point.

Part 1, Chapter 2
Sonia (Sofya Semyonovna Marmeladov)

[Marmeladov:] "I drink so that I may suffer twice as much!" (1.2.21)

Marmeladov is caught in a vicious cycle of suffering and alcoholism. He drinks because he suffers. The drinking pushes his family further into poverty. This makes him feel guilty, so he drinks more and wallows in his suffering. You can see where we are going with this.

[Marmeladov:] And here I, her own father, here I took thirty copecks of that money for a drink! And I am drinking it! And I have already drunk it!" (1.2.31)

Marmeladov asked Sonia for money to go drinking with. Money she earned by selling her body. He knows that this kind of behavior is low, but he also knows he won't stop. It's a testament to Raskolnikov's compassion that he's so nice to the guy.

Part 2, Chapter 6

"She's drunk herself out of her senses," the same woman's voice wailed at her side. "Out of her senses. The other day she tried to hang herself, we cut her down." (2.6.151)

We aren't really surprised to see suicide and alcohol abuse linked together in this brutally blunt passage. The girl in question just threw herself off a bridge when Raskolnikov was standing next to her. She lives, but for how long? Maybe she will transform like Raskolnikov…

Part 3, Chapter 1
Dmitri Prokofitch Razumihin

[Razumihin:] "Then I'll run home in a twinklingI've a lot of friends there, all drunkI'll fetch Zossimovthat's the doctor who is looking after him, he is there, too, but he is not drunk; he is not drunk, he is never drunk!" (3.1.34)

Here's a situation where the novel doesn't take an absolutely negative view on alcohol. This passage is some funny stuff coming from Razumihin. We can't help laughing. You probably remember that he finds drinking a little less amusing the next morning.

Part 6, Chapter 1
Dmitri Prokofitch Razumihin

[Razumihin:] "You always have been a very rational person and you've never been mad, never," he observed suddenly with warmth. "You're right: I shall drink. Good-bye!" (6.1.22)

This time, Razumihin doesn't go drinking. Raskolnikov convinces him that he's loved, that he needs to be there for Dounia. This "blessing" motivates Razumihin to stop drinking.

Part 6, Chapter 4
Arkady Ivanovitch Svidrigaïlov

[Svidrigaïlov:] "I've drunk too much though, I see that. I was almost saying too much again. Damn the wine! Hi! there, water!" (6.4.17)

Svidrigaïlov is so quotable. We've heard from Pulcheria that Svidrigaïlov had alcohol issues. But really, that's probably the least of his problems. Raskolnikov thinks Svidrigaïlov is being so talkative because he's had too much to drink. We bet that Svidrigaïlov isn't saying anything he doesn't want to say.

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