Credits to
Francesco Provinciali

Guilt and expiation in “Crime and punishment” by Fedor Dostoevskij

Issue 11/2021

Abstract. 200 years after the birth of Fedor Dostoevskij, it is our duty to pay homage to this great Russian writer of the nineteenth century, a true giant of world literature of all times, by proposing the reading of his masterpiece “Crime and Punishment” with particular regard to the concepts of guilt and of atonement that are the basis of the plot of the book and that will be resumed and completed in the novel “The brothers Karamazov”.
The perpetrator of a double murder, the young student Raskol’nikov, experiences a long state of suffering, prostration and repentance after the crime. Thanks to the help of the young Sonja who brings him the Gospel and the gift of faith, he will be able to make a journey of awareness towards repentance and atonement.
Dostoevskij was inspired by the book “Dei delitti e delle pene” by Cesare Beccaria of 1764: however the term punishment in his novel does not have so much the meaning of the penal sanction with respect to the crime, as it recalls the concept of guilt that accompanies the offender in a long journey of awareness about the crime committed, which takes place from the abyss of evil to redemption.


To read the Reflection, click on “open file”.


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