In Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky gives the reader an inside look to the value system that he holds for himself, as well as the type of characteristics that he abhors in people as well as the characteristics that he admires in people. He uses characters in the novel to express his beliefs of what a person should be like in life to be a ‘good’; person. Specifically he uses Raskolnokv to show both good and bad characteristics that he likes in people. Also he uses Svidriglaiov and Luzin to demonstrate the characteristics that people should shun and his personal dislikes in people.
First, Dostoevsky gives the reader the character, Raskolnokov. He is the main character, whom Fyodor uses to show two sides of people their admirable side and their disgusting side. He loves Raskolnokov, which is why Fyodor uses Raskolnokov’s point of view throughout the whole novel. Personally, Fyodor dislikes some of his qualities but understands that all people are plagued with some bad traits, and that Raskolnokv is trying to make emends for some of his wrong doings, i.e. the murder of the pawnbroker and her sister. He knows that what he did was wrong and is willing to suffer for his crime, and he does throughout the whole book with his constant depression. Dostoesky believes in punishment for your crimes, this is why he shows Raskolnokov suffering through most of the novel, to show his great love for penance. Dostoevsky likes the kind giving nature of people; this is why he portrays the main character as a kind, gentle, and giving, person. Often, Raskolnokov thinks only of others benefits such as when he helped Katerina by giving her all his money for Marmelodov, as well as his caring about what happens to his sister with her marriage to Luzhin. Raskolnokov hates Luzhin’s arrogant and pompous attitude, which reflects Dostoevsky’s animosity of the same qualities in people in the real world.
Dostoevsky does not like all of Raskolnokv though. He hates his aloofness. Dostoevsky cannot stand anti-socialism and believes that people should be together and not dislike ‘meeting at any time’; with anyone. Constantly Raskolnokov alienates himself from all his friends and family to go alone about his way, which ends up getting him into trouble because of his radical thinking, like his theory that some people can transcend the law because of some extraordinary powers. The trouble that Raskolnokov gets into is Fyodor’s way of showing that continually parting yourself from society is unhealthy for a person and that they need other human contact to be complete. This is also why Raskolnokov goes periodically out to find someone to talk with such as when he went to the bar and found Marmelodov, and talked with him, or when he had to go find Sonia to confess himself of his sins, because he could no longer bear the burden that was placed on to him by keeping silent about the murder and by separating himself from everyone he loved. This confession also shows that Fyodor thinks highly of the repentance and this is why Raskolnokov regenerates himself by confessing himself and he repents, and this is the most admirable thing that Raskolnokov does throughout the whole book.
Sonia is the other embodiment of traits that Fyodor admires. She is kind and benevolent towards almost all the people that she meets. She completely gives herself to help her family by subjecting herself to a life of prostitution, just so the family could barely live. Dostoevsky does not approve of prostitution, but he thinks very highly of this kind of continual self-sacrifice for the benefit of others. Dostoevsky believes that this is one of the only true heroic acts that a person can do: sacrificing them selves for the benefit of others, regardless of whether it is death or this type of sacrifice. Also, she tries to help Raskolnokov through his trying ordeal of the murder and convinces him that suffering for what he did is the best thing that he could do, and Fyodor completely believes in that. She is truly driven by compassion and love.
Svidrigliov, on the other hand, is the complete opposite of both Sonia and Raskolnokov. He is one of the most evil characters in the novel, with his cold-hearted and selfish manner. Raskolnokov is represented as Dostoevsky in the novel and Raaklnokov’s hatred for Svidrigliov echoes Fyodor’s hatred for the same type of person. Svidrigliov is the embodiment of all that Dostoevsky hates. He manipulates people and seduces them, as he did to Dounia, and believes that he is not actually what he is. Finally, though, he does realize what a scoundrel he truly is and he cannot stand it and kills himself. Killing himself is symbolic to running away from your problems, which Fyodor hates. That is why Svidrigliov portrays qualities that Dostoevsky hates and Raskolnokov shows many that he likes, as well as not running from his problem but facing it and suffering. Svidrigliov also says that ‘I’ve no feeling of love’;, to demonstrate his independence from anyone else, which Fyodor also throughout the whole novel is saying cannot be.
Luzhin, is the other major canvas for Dostoevsky’s unwanted traits. He is arrogant and pompous, and tries to take advantage of people. Dostoevsky does not like fake fronts people use to cover up their true selves, and Luzhin is almost nothing but that, a mask. He tries to appear benevolent by giving Sonia ten rubbles, as well as marrying a poor girl, Dounia, without a dowry. The ten rubbles that he gave Sonia was just an act so he would seem good-natured to everyone, and he wants to marry Dounia because he wants his wife to be in debt to him forever for his kindness in taking her in. To him the marriage is nothing more than a business deal, and he shows this when he writes to Raskolnokov’s mother asking that Raskolnokov not be present at the meeting between Dounia her mother and Luzhin before the marriage. He says in the letter that he paid Raskolnokov a visit out of concern for his health while he was sick. Someone can see how he likes to manipulate people by his lying that he visited him out of concern when he really did not and also by saying, ‘I may add’; in his letter instead of politely saying, may I add. This shows he is an uncaring, egotistical louse. Dosteovsky completely abhors these qualities in a person, because he does not believe in manipulation of people or an arrogant and pompous attitude. These are anti-social characteristics, which he is completely against, as well as evil traits. That is why Dostoevsky portrays himself in the book through Raskolnokov whom is lacking in all of these bad qualities.
Throughout the entire novel Dostoevsky uses Raskolnokov as his avatar to show his inner value and belief system. He uses Raskolnokov and Sonia to show that a good healthy person in this world must be social and compassionate; otherwise they will die on the inside. He also uses Raskolnokov to show what can happen if you do not socialize with others and try to be a ‘superman’;. Svidrigliov and Luzhin are both used to show what Fyodor abhors in people. He hates the manipulative and lying nature of Luzhin and the cold-hearted and selfish attitude of Svidrigliov, which is also why Raskolnokov hates these characters in the novel, because Dostoevsky dislikes them and their kind in real life. Through the analization of these characters the reader can gain a detailed insight to Fyodor’s personal value and belief system.