"What can I tell you? I've known Rodion for a year and a half: sullen, gloomy, arrogant, proud; recently (and maybe much earlier) insecure and hypochondriac. Magnanimous and kind. Doesn't like voicing his feelings, and would rather do something cruel than speak his heart out in words. At times, however, he's not hypochondriac at all, but just inhumanly cold and callous, as if there really were two opposite characters in him, changing places with each other."
Perhaps the most famous novel written by Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky. Originally in Russian under the title Prestuplenie i nakazanie (Преступление и наказание)A moody university student named Raskolnikov murders an old moneylender who has been exploiting her clients, but accidentally also kills the woman's innocent, feeble-minded half-sister after she wanders in on the murder scene. He struggles with the ramifications of his actions through the novel. While ruminating over his crime, he deals with visiting family, a nosy friend who falls in love with his engaged sister, an implacable police detective, Porfiry, who plays mindgames with him, the all-too-obvious faults in his own ‹bermensch theories, and his budding relationship with a prostitute and her poor family.Translated into English many times, and Detective Porfiry is a primary inspiration for the title character of the ColumboTV Movie series.If you came here expecting Crime and Punishment Series, please fix the link.
Distant Finale: About a year and a half after the main events of the book.
Driven to Suicide: Svidrigajlov, and subverted with Raskolnikov; Everyone thinks that he'll rather kill himself than go to prison and Raskolnikov even goes to the river as an attempt to drown himself, but he doesn't have the courage to do it and eventually realizes, that he'll have to take responsibility for his actions.
Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Initially played straight and then averted; Villain Protagonist Raskolnikov genuinely adores his mother and sister, but, after the murders, he feels alienated from them and is actually irked by their very presence.
The Power of Love: Nihilism and pride fuel most of the actions of the book. This is the only thing that stands in their way. It's enough.
Tsarist Russia: The story takes place during the reign of Tsar Alexander III.
Tearjerker: Raskolnikov's dream about a poor old mare getting beaten to death. Which is also mad Squicky.
‹bermensch: An Unbuilt Trope at the time it was written. Raskolnikov's main purpose is to become a superior man beyond good and evil; the whole book could be considered a Take Thatante litteram to Nietzsche's theories. Raskolnikov himself describes his inspiration, Napoleon Bonaparte, in Ubermenschian terms.
Unusual Euphemism: (Svidrigailov, speaking to Achilles) "When you are asked, you just say he was going, he said, to America." (Svidrigailov tells this before he commits suicide. A sentence after he says the aforementioned, the guy tells him he can't shoot himself in the head here in the street. The next sentence is "Svidrigailov pulled the trigger.")
Utopia Justifies the Means: Ruthlessly deconstructed. Even though Raskolnikov intends to help the people whom the moneylender has exploited, the unplanned murder of her innocent sister leads him to question his beliefs.
Wham Line: Novel's full of 'em. "Did I murder the old woman? I murdered myself, not her! I crushed myself once for all, for ever.... But it was the devil that killed that old woman, not I. Enough, enough, Sonia, enough! Let me be!"
Depending on interpretation, there is enough textual evidence to suggest that Lizaveta was also a prostitute, and thus had to terminate her pregnancy.
In addition, it's implied that she was mentally retarded in some way, so it's also possible her sister forced her to terminate the pregnancies/give the babies up (although what kind of social provisions there were in Tsarist Russia, I don't know) without her fully understanding what was happening.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Raskolnikov. Though it's debatable whether he murdered the pawnbroker to use the money altruistically or to help himself or whether he simply wanted to prove that he was an ‹bermensch and could get away with it. Considering Raskolnikov and his situation, probably a combination.