Crime and Punishment
Sam Holzman & Max Leopold
A Scene of Violence
In great literature, no
scene of violence
exists for its own sake.
How does the scene
or scenes contribute to
the meaning of the
complete work?
Emotional vs. Rational
The use of harsh violence serves the purpose of creating the
same conflict in the reader’s mind as it does in the
protagonist’s: the struggle between the emotional reaction to
a display of brutality and rationalizing a violent action.
The Horse Dream
• A child in his dream
• The mare is killed for selfish reasons
• Clue to Raskolnikov’s true motivations
• Repulsed by idea of murder when he awakes
• “Can it be that I shall tread in the sticky warm blood,
break the lock, steal and tremble; hide, all spattered n the
blood…with the axe…” (62)
• Foreshadows and prepares readers for future violence
• Shows Raskolnikov as an observer
The Killing of Alyona
Nervousness before the murder
Emotional overcoming rational
“Why do you look at me as though you did not know me?” (79)
“hands fearfully weak” (80)
Actual killing described as mechanical, effortless
Brutal depiction mirrors horse dream
“Then he dealt her another and another blow…The blood gushed as
from an overturned glass” (80)
Describing her as glass shows her lack of value to him
After killing his hands tremble again
Emotion after, not during crime
Examines her wounds in detail
Reminder of the harshness of the crime
“flung the crosses on the old woman’s body” (81)
Killing of Lizaveta
Written like the slaughter of a helpless animal
No gratuitous description or numerous blows
“The feeling of loathing especially surged up within him and
grew stronger every minute.” (83)
Representation of innocence
“did not even raise a hand to guard her face” (83)
Opposite of Alyona; only motive is fear of being caught
Ruins all the buildup of his rational mind state
-Struggle with rationalizing leads to emotional struggle.
Again, the prompt is not asking us to discuss the idea of
violence as an overarching theme. We are to look at
violence in specific scenes and how those scenes act to
contribute to the novel’s meaning.