The main character in the novel "Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoevsky has in reality two totally contradicting personalities. One part of Raskolnikov is the intellectual. He is cold, unfeeling, inhumane and exhibits tremendous self-will. It is this side that enables him to commit the most terrible crime imaginable - taking another human life. The other part of his personality is warm and compassionate. This is the side of him that does charitable acts and fights against evil in his society.
The confusion in Raskolnikov's soul is best seen when he tries to help a girl in the street who has been raped and left to the whims of anyone who finds her. Raskolnikov tries to protect her from the evil of the street- gut then stops himself when he is repulsed by the wickedness of his society. " Why did I take it upon myself to interfere? Was it for me to try to help? Let them eat one another alive - what is it to me?" At one time Raskolnikov is both caring and concerned and yet he is able to push aside the whole affair by being totally indifferent.
This is how Raskolnikov is able to commit his crime. His intellectual side ignores his conscience and is able to commit the crime in a rational and orderly way. It is his dual character that serves as his punishment. One side of him is able to commit the murders so the other must bear the punishment. He is tortured by the cruelty in mankind and yet he himself is able to repeat it.
Raskolnikov justifies his crime by coming up with a philosophy that the man with power is the man to rule over all others. But this power is only given to those who dare to take it. Raskolnikov wanted to see if he had the courage to take that power. He also had to battle with his rationalization of the murders. He claimed that since Alyona, the first murder victim was such a parasite to people, it was all right to kill her. He never mentions his other victim, Lizaveta, because she was the sweet and harmless one whose murder he cannot face.
The two other characters of the novel who represent these two different sides are Sonya Marmeladov and Svidrigailov. Sonya is the warm side of Raskolnikov. She is a prostitute forced into that field because her father drinks away all of the money in the family. She is meek and submissive. She will give her father her last copper, even if he comes to her totally drunk. Raskolnikov is at once attracted to and repulsed by this personality. Svidrigailov is the cold and detached personality that Raskolnikov both loathes and embraces.
The goal of the novel is to make Raskolnikov into one whole character. Sonya helps bring Raskolnikov back into his emotional, humane side. Through her suffering, she shows him that it is important to have a love for all humanity and that no person should ever be able to exist like a parasite off another person. Porifery, the official investigating the crime, acts as the intellectual who shows Raskolnikov that all intellect must be used for the good of mankind.