Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes
1. What are Raskolnikov's motives in murdering Alena Ivanovna and Lizaveta?
2. How does he gradually realize that his theories of crime and "the Extraordinary Man" are hopelessly flawed?
3. Comment on the immediate and long term effects of the dual murders on the development of Raskolnikov's character.
4. List some of the significant crises in Raskolnikov's personal and family life. Examine the effect that these have on his thoughts and behavior later. Is he "evil" and why?
5. Critically analyze the nature of the relations between: (a) Raskolnikov and the Marmeladov family and (b) Raskolnikov and his friend, Razumihin.
6. Why does Raskolnikov object to Luzhin as a suitor for Dounia?
7. Show how, in stages, Dostoevsky exposes Luzhin as a mean and despicable character.
8. What causes Raskolnikov to be both drawn to and repelled by Svidrigailov? In what respects can the character of Svidrigailov be regarded as a kind of foil to Raskolnikov?
9. Explain how Dostoevsky renders a sympathetic portrait of Sonia as the chief agent of Raskolnikov's redemption, although she herself is a "fallen woman."
10. How does Porfiry get Raskolnikov to confess his crime? Also comment on Porfiry as a policeman who thinks progressively for a mid-nineteenth-century Russian.
11. Examine Crime and Punishment as Dostoevsky's brilliant treatment of the Christian theme of redemption through suffering.
12. Analyze the function of dreams in Crime and Punishment.
13. What use does Dostoevsky make of symbols in this novel?
14. Show how the character of Raskolnikov illustrates Dostoevsky's view that basic knowledge of one's self is more important than mere blind acceptance of advanced theories.
15. Write a critical analysis of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment as an excellent portrait of the social conditions of the time.
16. Discuss the view that, in this novel, Dostoevsky is chiefly concerned with the theme of an individual's isolation within a corrupt society.