"Crime and punishment" by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Essay by RahulCollege, UndergraduateA+, October 1996

download word file, 7 pages 3.0

Protagonist and Antagonist Essay

Crime and Punishment is considered by many to be the first of Fyodor Dostoevsky's great books. Crime and Punishment is a psychological account of a crime. The crime is double murder. A book about such a broad subject can be made powerful and appealing to our intellectual interests if there is a link between the reader, the action, and the characters. Doestoevsky makes all these links at the right places. The action takes place between the protagonists and the antagonists. The protagonists include Dounia, the Marmeladovs, Sonia, Razumhin, Porfiry Petrovich, and Nastaya. The antagonists of the story are Luzhin, Ilya Petrovich, and the landlady. Raskolnikov could be considered to be the primary protagonist, while Svidrigailov could be thought of as the primary antagonist.

In every story the protagonist is the character that the reader cares most about. In Crime and Punishment the reader cares about Rodion Raskolnikov. He is the primary and most significant character in the novel. We are introduced to this complex character in Part 1. We get to know the poverty stricken condition that he resides in, and we get to know his family situation as we read the long letter from Raskolnikov's mother. Then we witness the murder as it is graphically described by Doestoevsky. After reading this graphic description of the murder, how can the reader be sympathetic towards Raskolnikov? How can the reader believe that a murderer is the protagonist? It is, in fact, not hard to accept this murderer as the protagonist. Raskolnikov believed that by murdering the pawnbroker, he rid society of a pest. We realize that if the victim would

have been someone other than an evil old pawnbroker the crime would never had taken place. He could never have found the courage to kill an...