“What does the city symbolize in ‘Crime and Punishment’ by Fyodor Dostoevsky?
Crime and Punishment is one of the greatest masterpieces written by Fyodor Dostoevsky. This novel is full of symbols such as cross, yellow color etc. But I would like to mention the symbol of the city in the book. However, one of the most important features of the symbol is that it can’t be clearly explained. So I try to tell you my thoughts about it.
In 1860s St Petersburg was the capital of the Russian Empire, one of the greatest states at that time. But in this novel it appears as the city which is sunk in the poverty, crime and sin. And we can see the proof of it in the text: the main character “…was hopelessly in debt to his landlady…”. “I want to attempt a thing like that…” – this phrase is a hint at the crime, at the murder. Moreover, in this city “Nobody has space to breathe or move much less privacy. The homes in the novel are places of violence, abuse, and chaos.”
In my opinion, the city means faith in better future. And because of it people are still alive, they try to fight for their existence. They attempt to find something important and relevant which is worth living for. But this hope is not in the city for Raskolnikov and Sonya. They understand that they love each other only in Siberia, far away from this horrible place.
Summing up, we see that St Petersburg in this novel is a redoubt of sin and poverty. Characters are afraid of living here. And there are many reasons for it. But they don’t lose their hearts. And this is the most important thing in our life: not to despond.
1. Dostoevsky, F. (n.d.). Crime and Punishment. Retrieved from http://www.russianlessons.net/ebooks/show/1/1/1/both
2. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Analysis. Setting.(n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.shmoop.com/crime-and-punishment/setting.html
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