Dostoïevski, Fiodor – Le Crime et le Châtiment

  • crime and punishment. The novel could be divided in two parts: the first one has the label “crime” and it ranges from book 1 to book 3. While the second one has the label “punishment” and it encompasses the books 4, 5 and 6. “The structure of <Crime and Punishment> must therefore be modified from a linear antithetical balance to one of two sets of antitheses that cross at the middle somewhat in the fashion of a flattened X. One line of dominant motives fades and another, antithetical in character, rises into dominance. But neither disappears: from beginning to end Raskolnikov carries both within him” (Wasiolek, 1959: 132). Worth of mention is the distinction between “strong will” and “weak will”, distinction characteristically of the two halves of the novel. The strong will is inside the rational and proud man. It belongs to masters that are blessed with freedom. On the other hand, the weak will belongs to irrational and humble man, certainly a slave that is comforting in his/ her constraints. In short, these distinctions could well stand aside the concepts of “labor class” versus “bourgeois class”, “elites” versus “masses”, or, finally, “those who are in power and authority” versus “those who are under power and authority”. More, and finally, the description of the structure of the novel, description belonging to Edward Wasiolek, could be an exact depiction of what starting from 1980s are called “swish patterns” or “deep attractors/ surface attractors patterns”.
  • Rodion Romanych Raskolnikov (Rodya)He was, by the way, exceptionally handsome, above the average in height, slim, well-built, with beaufiful dark eyes and dark brown hair” (1974: 2)
  • Sonya (Sofya Semyonovna) Marmeladov. “She is a gentle creature with a sot little voice, fair hair and such a pale, thin little face” (1974: 15) “Under this rakishly-tilted hat was a pale, frightened little face with lips parted and eyes staring in terror. Sonia was a small thin girl of eighteen with  fair hair, rather pretty, with wonderful blue eyes” (1974: 164)
  • Alyona Ivanovna. “She was a diminutive, withered-up old woman of sixty, with sharp malignant eyes and a sharp little nose. Her colourless, somewhat grizzled hair was thickly smeared with oil, and she wore no kerchief over it. round her thin long neck, which looke like a hen’s leg, was knotted some sort of flannel rag, and, in spite of the heat, there hung flapping on her shoulders, a mangy fur cape, yellow with age.” (1974: 4)
  • Lizaveta Ivanovna. “She was a single woman of about thirty-five, tall, clumsy, timid, submissive and almost idiotic. She was a complete slave and went in fear and trembling of her sister, who made her work day and night, and even beat her.” (1974: 56)

The map:


  • TH. Dostoievsky (1884): “Le crime et le chatiment. Tome premier”, Librairie Plon
  • TH. Dostoievsky (1884): “Le crime et le chatiment. Tome second”, Librairie Plon
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky (1974): “Crime and punishment”, Heinemann
  • Edward Wasiolek (1959): “On the structure of Crime and Punishment”, Modern Language Association, Vol. 74, No. 1, pp. 131-136

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