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The story of a young man, Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikoff, who takes up to crime for reasons which can be interpreted differently by different readers. The novel falls under the genre of psychological thriller, mystery and philosophy.
The plot built up over the murder of two women, one of whom is an old usurious money lender while the other is her step sister who is good at heart and is pitilessly used by the former. The protagonist is a monomaniac who has abnegated everything and is not in a stable state of mind. In such state of delirium and hysteria he mercilessly kills with a hatchet, two women and this act of his further intensifies this state of suffering of his mind. The novel then delves into the ubiquitous panorama of the delirious mind of our monomaniac anti-hero which lasts till the novel lasts. One might come to think of this crime as a result of extreme poverty stricken situation of Rodion but then on the other hand during his self talks does not he justify his doing by what he considers is a deed which separates him from the ordinary, whose purpose on earth he thinks is only to keep the human race from extinction by means of reproduction of its own kind. “Reason is only the slave of passion.” – This line I think justifies what Rodion has done. With no subtle reason given by the author for why he murdered, the reader is bound to take into perspective many ideas which led to it.
With a dozen more characters introduced, as the novel progresses, the novel doesn’t lose its pace and new events and ideas keep the reader engaged. The author, with his timely narrations and with the various internal monologues of different characters especially Rodion, doesn’t let the reader stick to one idea or one thought process. While the reasons for this crime may not be clear or may not be easy to conclude and even the punishment to which our anti-hero is subjected to is mentioned towards the end, the reader is bound to cling to the plot and peruse through the novel since every paragraph brings something new and presents or establishes further a point of view which seems to negate or deny every pre-conception which was conceived by the reader’s mind to tear through the plot and reach a conclusion. With each chapter divided almost according to a different event in the chronology, there is something new to look for in every chapter of the novel.
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