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Essay on Crime and Punishment: Book Versus Movie

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Fyodor Dostoevsky once stated, ‘Nothing is more seductive for man than his freedom of conscience but nothing is a greater cause of suffering.’ Thus, being nothing or accomplishing nothing in life insinuates that failure is inevitable. A particular example of this is in Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment; in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment there are some differences to Michael Darlow’s 1979 movie adaptation but the similarities are strikingly evident. During the exploration of the similarities and differences of the novel and the 1979 movie adaptation of Crime and Punishment, three overlapping themes will be observed. The first theme that will be examined is the setting and ways in which the book and movie are similar and different. Secondly, the theories behind the protagonist’s mindset will be explored and how these show and develop throughout the book and movie. Lastly, the protagonist’s actions in the way in which it affects the human mind will be seen.

The setting of any piece of work provides a base for any story, including the characters that populate it; In Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky paints the picture of the St. Petersburg expansion and how it plays into the everyday lives of all the characters. The similarities of the setting in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment and Michael Darlow’s 1979 movie adaptation can be viewed widely to the point where there are barely any differences. Connections that arise in both the novel Crime and Punishment and the film adaptation include the period (the 1860s) in which the St. Petersburg expansion occurs, how the characters live and take part in their everyday lives and the contrast between the rich and poor with light and darkness. In the novel, Fyodor Dostoevsky paints the picture of the city with the quote

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“The heat in the street was terrible: and the airlessness, the bustle and the plaster, scaffolding, bricks, and dust all about him, and that special Petersburg stench, so familiar to all who are unable to get out of town in Summer all worked painfully upon the young man’s already overwrought nerves… Owing to the proximity of the Haymarket, the number of establishments of bad character, crowded in these streets and alleys in the heart of Petersburg.”(Prt1, Ch1, Pg10)

The 1979 movie by Micheal Darlow demonstrates a view of a dirty, polluted city going through construction and modernization with drunks fighting, begging kids, and prostitutes all over the streets. The differences in the setting can be seen minorly within the book and movie as both the book and movie are very detailed in the same way, this difference can be seen in the contrast between rich and poor. In the novel, Fyodor Dostoevsky demonstrates the poor with the lack of good clothing, starvation, and irritability and the rich with lots of well-ended clothing, intellectual academics and with lots of food. At the novel beginning, the protagonist Raskolnikov is described as so badly dressed that even a man accustomed to shabbiness would not want his clothing and that he is so poor he’s been starving and shrinking for three weeks. While in the movie Micheal Darlow demonstrates the poor with lacking lights gloomeded by darkness, living in small and impoverished places and having nothing, the rich had windows filled with beautiful lights coming in huge big rooms, filled with wealth and anything they wished. Although there are some differences in setting the similarities to overtake how closely the novel and movie match, as the only main difference between the book and movie, is that the movie played with light and shadow to demonstrate differences between those people and places that are rich and those that are poor.

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Essay on Crime and Punishment: Book Versus Movie. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 25, 2023, from
“Essay on Crime and Punishment: Book Versus Movie.” Edubirdie, 27 Dec. 2022,
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