Crime and Punishment — by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Title: Crime and Punishment
Author: Fyodor Dostoevsky
Year: 1866
Publisher: The Russian Messenger

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Have you ever wondered what it would take to make someone commit a crime? To steal, to lie, to murder? Well, the answer is in this classic book. Crime and Punishment is a story of how someone can fall into so much pressure, depression, and desperation till his mind just “cracks.”

In this book review, I will share my thoughts and reflections about this great story, but let’s start from the beginning, what type of person would write such a book as this?

Fyodor Dostoevsky who lived from 1821-1881 was a Russian novelist, short writer, essayist and journalist. He is regarded as one of the greatest novelists, and his book “Crime and Punishment” is one of the foremost and most acclaimed books.

His other works are:

  • The Idiot
  • The Brothers
  • The Gambler
  • Demons
  • Notes from Underground

And more, each one aims to reflect our true nature, both the good and the bad.

Crime and Punishment

Spoiler alert! This is the story of Rodion Raskolnikov, a former student with a bright future ahead but who then found himself living in a small and horrible room, eating “sometimes”, and without any money.

The Predicament of Rodion Raskolnikov

The whole problem began when he received a letter from his mother and sister saying that his sister was going to marry someone who he knew was a bad person, but who was quite rich and would help the family and him to get back into his studies.

He hates this idea, but what can he do? No money, no food, no option…well, maybe…maybe he can kill his pawnbroker, steal the money and stop the marriage…nobody would care about an old pawnbroker, right? Plus, she is not the best person in the world, so it would be fine, right?

He was wrong. He kills her and her daughter, who had the bad fortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong moment. And from that point, his head, even more than before, becomes a living hell.

From this point, we can see the mental warfare and the incredible psychological understanding Dostoevsky possessed to portray how the mind of a criminal would operate. From creating the conditions, and taking note of every single factor, to the mental punishment, the fever, the illness, and all the consequences.

Final Thoughts…

Long story short, the stress is so much that he gives up and gives himself up to the police (even after thinking about scaping, suicide, and denying everything).

What is “funny” is that he falls in love with Sonya Semyónovna, and she visits him in prison, and when he finally accepts the fact that he loves her, even after all that happened, his redemption starts, showing how virtue and truth can free our souls, even from the worst of sins.


If you want to learn how a simple and harmless person can become a murderer, this book is the one to read. You will learn how the mind can be your own worst enemy when fighting against conundrums and values.

You will learn the power of redemption and how a soul can be purified. And that’s it, I won’t give away any more spoilers, it’s time for you to read it! 

Favourite Quotes:

  • To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s.”
  • It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently.”
  • When reason fails, the devil helps!”
  • A hundred suspicions don’t make a proof.”
  • The man who has a conscience suffers whilst acknowledging his sin. That is his punishment.”
  • And the more I drink the more I feel it. That’s why I drink too. I try to find sympathy and feeling in drink…I drink so that I may suffer twice as much!”

I hope you liked this review of Crime and Punishment, let us know your thoughts on the works of Dostoevsky in the comments below!

Agustin Cardone

Agustin Cardone, from Argentina, currently lives in Ireland, and studies psychology in Mexico. He fell in love with sports when he started playing rugby at 14, soon becoming team captain. He now lifts weights and practices boxing as a way to release stress. He is highly interested in the relationship between body and mind, and is curious about how the brain works and why people do what they do. He would like to help people with addiction, depression, and personality disorders. He believes we all have a story to tell and that we should express it.

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