Crime and Punishment read-a-long weeks 8 and 9


The Crime and Punishment read-a-long is hosted by Wallace over at Unputdownables. In weeks eight and nine we read from part 4 chapter 6 to the end of part 5 chapter 4. The official discussion posts are over at Unputdownables.

As always, this discussion will contain spoilers, so only read on if you don’t mind/have already read this far (or further).

Raskolnikov seems to be vacillating wildly over the question of confessing to the police. He even goes to see Porfiry at the police station and seems on the verge of giving in to his provocation when someone else turns up to confess to the murder. But he knows and the police know that the confession is false so it’s only a delay, not an end to his torment. As Porfiry says:

“If I leave one gentleman quite alone, if I don’t arrest him or worry him in any way, but if he knows, or at least suspects, every minute of every hour, that I know everything down to the last detail, and am watching him day and night with ceaseless vigilance, if he is always conscious of the weight of suspicion and fear, he is absolutely certain to lose his head. He will come to me of his own accord.”

Luzhin is currently coming across as a far worse character than Ras. He’s willing to ruin Sonya, and therefore make Katerina and her children even more destitute than they are, just to score a petty point against Ras and have a slim chance of getting Dunya back.

The scene between Sonya and Ras was incredible. One moment I was completely on side with Ras and thinking their fledgling love was beautiful and heartbreaking, then the next moment I’m reminded that he’s a cold-blooded murderer trying to rationalise what he has done. Here is a selection of quotes from Ras:

“I wanted to make myself a Napoleon, and that is why I killed her.”

“I only killed a louse, Sonya, a useless, vile, pernicious louse.”

“Whoever is most audacious is most certainly right…power is given only to the man who dares stoop and take it. There is only one thing needed, only one – to dare…I wanted to have the courage, and I killed.”

“Did I murder the old woman? I killed myself, not that old creature! There and then I murdered myself at one blow, for ever!”