Dostoevsky's Valued Traits

Kenzie Wright-5

In Crime and Punishment, a novel in which Fyodor Dostoevsky studies criminal psychopathology, he also explores the human race by investigating their actions, motives, and thoughts through his characters. It is evident that Dostoevsky embraces some of this character's traits--such as selflessness and intellect--and reviles the characters whose motives are only to improve their own position in society.
Throughout the novel, Dostoevsky displays his respect for those who are willing to make sacrifices to provide relief for others. The most prominent character who exhibits this selflessness is Sonya Semyonovich. Sonya is the daughter of Marmelodov, who, because of his excessive consumption of alcohol, is the cause of his families destitution. Because of the family’s poverty stricken state, Sonya is forced to sell herself into prostitution in order to provide for her family. This is a great sacrifice because not only has she given up herself to be taken advantage by the most vile men in the city, but, by submitting herself to prostitution, Sonya is also giving up her honor and respect throughout the society of St. Petersburg. Sonya’s selflessness continues to be seen for the remainder of novel until the very end when she follows Raskolinikov to Siberia where he is working in penal servitude. Sonya provides love and understanding for Raskolinikov in spite of the fact that “he had not only showed little interest in her visits, but had almost lost his temper with her, had refused to say very much and had even crudely insulted her...” (465). Dostoevsky shows his respect for Sonya’s selflessness because in the end of the novel her generous nature brought blessings to Sonya as well. Sonya’s loyal companionship and love produces mutual feelings in Raskolinikov as well as Dostoevsky writes, “What had revived them was love, the heart of the one containing an infinite source of life for the heart of the other” (471). Despite the fact that Sonya is portrayed...