The Motif of Poverty Throughout Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky

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Poverty is an essential motif in Crime and Punishment that enables characters to expose their isolation from society. Raskolnikov demonstrates the true effect that poverty can have on an unemployed man in the 1860s. Razumikhin is seen as Raskolnikov’s foil character that reacts to his form of poverty in the opposite way of Raskolnikov towards society. The weight of being desperately pour effects Marmeledov to extensive lengths that ultimately ends in his death.
Crime and Punishment revolves around Raskolnikov and his amplifying guilt after he murders the pawnbroker, Alyona. From the beginning of the novel his poverty is displayed in his living condition, which is further described by the “yellowish dusty wall-paper peeling off the
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It shall not be, so long as I am alive, it shall not, it shall not! I won’t accept it!” (Part 1. 4.). Raskolnikov begins to alienate himself from his ex-colleague, Razumikhin, although at points it is Razumikhin who supports Raskolnikov the most. It forces Razumikhin to replace Raskolnikov in situations that should have been left to his authority. In a situation where Raskolnikov should have reassured Dounia and Pulcheria of their safety “he waved his hand weakly to Razumikhin to cut short the flow of warm and incoherent consolations he was addressing to his mother and sister” (Part 3. 1). As Raskolnikov began to slowly move away from any form of comfortable socialization and a growing poverty situation, his stubbornness to contain his pride and dignity eventually builds up to the brutal murder of Alyona.
Razumikhin is in a similar financial situation as Raskolnikov. Razumikhin foils Raskolnikov in his response to a desperate situation such as struggling poverty. He faced his struggles with a ‘trial and error’ personality. His view stood that “you never reach any truth without making fourteen mistakes and very likely a hundred and fourteen” (Part 3. 1). It was in these positive outlooks that make Raskolnikov realize how intense his isolation was becoming.

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