Monday, February 13, 2012
Alcohol Use in Crime and Punishment
The second time Raskolnikov is mentioned drinking, he passes out outside and has a dream, which also deals with alcohol. He recalls his childhood fear of drunk people, and in his dream he sees a drunk mob beating an old horse to death. In this dream alcohol seems to unleash the very worst in people. No wonder Raskolnikov is afraid of it.
Other characters are also victimized by alcohol. The young girl Raskolnikov finds wandering in the street in Chapter IV, who he pays the police officer to take home, is described as drunk to the point of not being aware of her surroundings. The woman who Raskolnikov sees attempting suicide in Part II, Chapter VI is also described as drunk.
The only character who seems to drink without negative consequences so far is Razumikhin, who is arguably the most moral and good-natured character we've met so far. He is described as "almost incapable of getting really drunk," (189) and while he does let slip that Zamyotov and the other police inspectors had considered Raskolnikov as a suspect, he is the only character so far who has not victimized or been made a victim by alcohol.