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    • #1015635
      Avatar photoFrancis Elcaron
      Participant

      I had no occasion to bring it up in my assignment this week, so I want to mention here something that I thought was a clever touch at the end of Part Three. On page 193, Svidrigaylov is described as “carefully stepp[ing] over the threshold” when entering Raskolnikov’s room. I don’t know if the Russian word used here is the same as the one used for the figurative sense of “overstep” (i.e., transgression or crime), but if so, it’s almost certainly not a coincidence on Dostoevsky’s part, especially since just two pages earlier, Raskolnikov wails, “I wanted to hurry up and overstep. . . . I didn’t kill a person, I killed a principle! A principle is what I killed, but I didn’t step over at all; I remained on this side. . . . The only thing I managed to do was to kill,” so the word is fresh on the reader’s mind.

      This suggests to me that Dostoevsky intends to use Svidrigaylov as a foil to Raskolnikov (just like Razumikhin, only from the opposite angle): an unrepentant criminal who does actually step over and has no qualms about it. If this is true, then Razumikhin and Svidrigaylov would be representative of the two sides of the *raskol* (“schism”) in Raskolnikov.

      In that connection, I’m eager to see what will ultimately become of Svidrigaylov‚ÄĒhopefully (and given what we know of Dostoevsky, most likely) nothing good. I have the sense that he had something more direct to do with his wife’s passing than is mentioned by Pulkheriya Aleksandrovna (138-39), otherwise there isn’t much point in Dostoevsky specifically bringing up the manner of her death before introducing him.

    • #1016379
      Avatar photoShoshana Milgram
      Spectator

      Yes, the Russian word here is the same for literal and figurative over-stepping or trans-gressing.

      We have heard about Svidrigailov, and now we have a chance to meet him, to assess his own  self-justifcation, and to see if he presents a foil or contrast to Raskolnikov.

      Thanks for noticing,

      Shoshana Milgram

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