Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment is all about a boy killing for money, literally, and then spending the rest of the book trying to hide it. Although the book covers a grim plot line, it is filled with romance, kindness, sympathy, and big-brother love. Sounds just great, doesn't it?

19th-Century Literature19th-Century World Literature
All 19th-Century Literature
AuthorDostoyevsky - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
FormNovel
LanguageEnglish Language
LiteratureWorld Literature
ThemesCriminality
Drugs and Alcohol
Justice and Judgement
Love
Religion
Suffering
The Home
Versions of Reality
Violence

Transcript

00:22

Raskolnikov, a poor, young student in 19th Century Russia . . .

00:26

. . . commits a double murder . . . . . . but isn't particularly sorry about it.

00:31

Was he right to feel the way that he did? Can killing another human being ever be justified?

00:37

Raskolnikov killed Alyona because she was a mean, old cheat . . .

00:41

. . . without whom the world would be a better place.

00:43

He also thinks that he can use the money he steals from her . . .

00:46

. . . to do good things. So, is that it?

00:49

Is it justifiable to whack someone . . . . . . as long as they're a despicable excuse

00:53

for a human being . . . . . . or if something good could come out

00:56

of it? But who really gets to decide who's evil . . .

00:58

. . . and what happens when someone innocent like Lizaveta gets in the way?

01:03

Maybe it's easier to take the stance that killing can never be justified . . .

01:06

. . . that taking a life for any reason is wrong.

01:09

Our anti-hero clearly didn't agree . . . . . . though he did end up spending quite

01:13

a bit of time in Siberia. So, where do you stand?

01:16

Do you agree with Raskolnikov that evil people deserve to die? That good can come from their

01:22

demise? Or do you think that killing another human

01:25

being can never be justified? In a world full of wars . . .

01:28

. . . and quite a few despicable people . . . We've got to admit this is a tough one.

01:36

Shmoop amongst yourselves.