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Crime and Punishment is set in the claustrophobic slums of St Petersburg in the heat of the summer. The novel's setting mirrors the inner life of the main characters as they struggle with their problems of grinding poverty. Central to the plot are the thoughts and actions of Rodion Raskolnikoff, an embittered yet idealistic student who is disastrously influenced by new ideas on morality. He is finally redeemed through the love of Sonia, a prostitute who is also a devout Christian, and the cool wisdom of Porphyrius, a magistrate. 1. On the Brink - A visit to a pawnbroker - A wretched drunk. Rodion Raskolnikoff, an impoverished law student, leaves the slums of St Petersburg to visit Alena Ivanovna, an elderly pawnbroker. She is not impressed by the watch he wishes to pawn and reminds him of debts outstanding. Leaving her, Raskolnikoff is troubled by whether or not he should carry out his plan to murder Alena. He visits a bar where he meets Marmeladoff, a drunken former civil servant. He tells Raskolnikoff that his alcoholism has ruined his family and forced his daughter Sonia into prostitution. Raskolnikoff escorts Marmeladoff home to a tirade from his wife. 2. Murder Is Done - A sudden opportunity. Raskolnikoff is woken by Nastasia, the cleaner, who gives him a letter from his mother. It tells him she and his sister Dounia are coming to St Petersburg. After reading the news, Raskolnikoff wanders the streets in a state of anxiety. Whilst walking in the market, he overhears Elizaveta Ivanovna, the pawnbroker's sister, telling a neighbour that she will be out at seven o'clock the following evening. Raskolnikoff now has his opportunity to find Alena alone. Next day, Raskolnikoff goes to Alena's lodgings. He waits until she is busy untying the parcel he has given her and then strikes her with an axe. Grabbing her keys, he rifles her bedroom and is stealing her possessions when a noise in the next room makes him freeze. 3. Frantic Escape - Death of an innocent - Unexpected callers. Elizaveta has returned home unexpectedly and finds her sister dead. Raskolnikoff murders her, too. Fearful at finding the front door open, and hearing footsteps, Raskolnikoff closes it. Two young men soon arrive and, suspicious of the locked door, go to find the porter. Raskolnikoff slips downstairs, hiding in an empty room when the young men return. At home, he hides his booty and falls into a feverish sleep. 4. Guilty Actions - At the police station - Revisiting the scene. Raskolnikoff is woken by a summons to the police station. He arrives there determined to confess his crime, but he is merely asked to sign some forms. However, when he overhears a discussion about the murders, he faints. On coming to, he is questioned, but allowed to go home. Raskolnikoff becomes feverish again, and later, on waking, realizes that several people, including his friend Razoumikhin, are in the room. When they go, he revisits Alena's flat which is being redecorated. He points out to the workmen that there is no sign of blood and is thrown out by the porter. 5. Mixed Feelings - Death of a drunkard - A family reunion. Marmeladoff is run over by a carriage and Raskolnikoff takes him home. A doctor is called but he can do nothing. When Sonia arrives, Marmeladoff dies in her arms. To calm Marmeladoff's wife, Katerina, Raskolnikoff gives her money sent to him by his mother and leaves, filled with elation at meeting Sonia. Returning home happy, he is so shocked to find his mother and sister waiting for him that he faints. When he recovers, he abruptly tells them to leave. The next day, Raskolnikoff decides to visit Porphyrius Petrovitch, the magistrate. 6. Under Suspicion - A theory examined - Promise of a revelation. At Porphyrius's home, Raskolnikoff pretends to have come to talk about his pawned possessions found at the murder scene. Porphyrius says he was expecting him and discusses Raskolnikoff s theory on crime, which he has read in an article, that superior men need not obey the same laws as others. Porphyrius suggests that Raskolnikoff considers himself to be one of the superior men. He then asks him to return the next day to discuss the murders further. Later, Raskolnikoff visits Sonia, whom he upsets by saying they are both outcasts, and by his questions concerning her future. On leaving, he promises to tell her the name of Alena Ivanovna's murderer. 7. The Net Closes - Confused confessions - The truth is told to a loved one. In his office, Porphyrius begins by speculating about what sort of man might have committed the murders. He tells Raskolnikoff that he knows about his visit to the scene of the crime. Distraught, Raskolnikoff demands to be either charged or cleared. A man suddenly bursts in and confesses to the murders. Confused, Porphyrius has to let Raskolnikoff go. At Sonia's house, Raskolnikoff reveals to her that he is the murderer. She recoils but then vows never to leave him and tells him to confess his crime publicly. News is then brought that Sonia's mother is going mad. 8. Admission of Guilt - Final confession - Love in Siberia. Raskolnikoff and Sonia find Katerina dementedly scolding her children in the street. She collapses from consumption and later dies at home. Some time later, Porphyrius unexpectedly calls on Raskolnikoff and tells him that he knows he is the murderer and that he should confess. Raskolnikoff rebuffs him. Soon after, Raskolnikoff sets out intending to confess in public, but instead, does so at the police station. Eighteen months later in Siberia, Raskolnikoff and Sonia are reconciled in love.Show more