Crime and Punishment and A Doll’s House are two iconic works of 19th-century literature that explore important themes relating to the nature of society, morality, and identity. Both novels feature complex characters grappling with difficult situations and making difficult decisions, linking them in many ways.
One major connection between Crime and Punishment and A Doll’s House is the exploration of the tension between individual desires and societal expectations. In Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov is torn between his desire for personal fulfillment through murder, and his fear that he will be punished by his community for this act. Similarly, Nora in A Doll’s House struggles with her own desires to leave her loveless marriage in order to pursue a more fulfilling life, but is ultimately forced to choose between conforming to social norms and pursuing her own goals.
Another key link between Crime and Punishment and A Doll’s House is the exploration of morality. In Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov grapples with his own sense of guilt over his crime, ultimately struggling to make amends for his actions by confessing in front of a priest.
Similarly, Nora must face up to her own lack of integrity in deceiving her husband, Torvald, in order to escape their loveless marriage. Through these complex moral dilemmas, both Crime and Punishment and A Doll’s House challenge traditional notions of right and wrong by highlighting the complexities involved in making ethical decisions.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House are linked by a number of themes. Characters experience many ironic events in each work. All three forms of irony are employed throughout both works. Irony will be used to connect the two works in this essay. The dramatic, situational, and verbal kinds of irony will be utilized to link the two works together.
Nora, from A Doll’s House is put into many situations where she is being ironic. One example of this is when Nora is talking to Dr. Rank about his impending death. Nora says, “You mustn’t die, not just yet” (Ibsen 1857). This is an example of dramatic irony because the reader knows that Dr.Rank is going to die, but Nora does not.
Another example of Nora being ironic is when she is talking to Mrs. Linde about how happy she is in her marriage. Nora says “I am so happy… I have everything I want” (Ibsen 1857). The reader knows that Nora is not happy in her marriage, but she does not realize it herself.
The same types of irony are also present in Crime and Punishment. For example, there is a lot of dramatic irony when Raskolnikov is planning his crime. He says to himself “No! I don’t want any more” (Dostoyevsky 1866). The reader knows that he has not had enough yet and that he wants to kill Alyona Ivanova even more than before.
Another example of ironic situations in Crime and Punishment comes from the scene where Raskolnikov meets with Sonia Marmeladov’s family at their home. He ends up giving them money, which they think came from their father who died the day before. In actuality, it was money he stole from Alyona’s apartment.
Clearly, there are many links between Crime and Punishment and A Doll’s House. Both works showcase the use of irony to create tension and add complexity to the characters’ lives. Whether it is dramatic, situational, or verbal irony, these novels show how it can impact both characters and the plot itself.
In Crime and Punishment, Dostoyevsky employs dramatic irony. The reader understands that Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov murdered the pawnbroker, Alyona Ivanovna, and her sister, Lizaveta Ivanovna. “He took the axe right out, swung it up in both hands, barely conscious of what he was doing,” etc. (Dostoyevsky 114) Raskolnikov is the only one who knows who murdered the pawnbroker and her sister.
A quote to support this is, “The epileptic fit passed and the sick man was about ten times worse than before” (Dostoyevsky 71). Similarly, there are many parallels between Crime and Punishment and A Doll’s House. In both novels, the main characters struggle with guilt over past actions that have led them to commit a crime. Additionally, both novels deal with themes of self-discovery, as the main characters grapple with their identities in light of their decisions.
One example of this is when Raskolnikov gradually comes to terms with his crime throughout Crime and Punishment, while Nora begins to question her own existence following her decision in A Doll’s House. Ultimately, these connections serve to highlight how Crime and Punishment and A Doll’s House both explore deeper existential questions about the meaning of life and one’s place in the world.
When the reader learns that Luzhin puts money in Sofya Semyonovna Marmeladov’s purse when she isn’t looking, he or she understands. After Sofya, known as Sonia, has finished talking to him, Luzhin leaves. Raskolnikov’s friend Andrei Lebezyatnikov was there when everything occurred. “Andrei Semyonovich witnessed all of this.” (Dostoyevsky 460) On his way to a reception for Sonia’s father, Semyon Zakharovitch Marmeladov, Luzhin publicly accuses her of theft.
He reveals that he saw Sonia’s pocket bulge and from the feeling of it, knew that it contained money. Now everyone believes her to be a thief, except for her father and Raskolnikov. However, if Luzhin’s claim is true then someone other than herself slipped money into Sonia’s pocket at the reception (Dostoyevsky 461).
Raskolnikov is shocked by what he has just witnessed. He couldn’t believe that Luzhin would do something like this to such a sweet and innocent girl. But even more shocking to him is the fact that Sonia was able to maintain her composure while standing up against Luzhin during their confrontation (Dostoyevsky 462).
Sonia denounces the allegation. When Luzhin asks her to check her pocket, she does so immediately. The money he was missing was there, as he had predicted. Sonia does not love Luzhin, who wants to marry her in order to blackmail her. Lebezyatnikov steps in to defend the situation when he adds, “I saw it… I saw it…. And even though it goes against my beliefs, I’d be willing to swear an oath in any court of law you choose because I noticed how you slyly put it into her pocket!”
This is the climax of the story. Sonia has been saved from a fate worse than death. Nora is also faced with a difficult decision. She can either stay in her marriage and be a doll for her husband or she can leave and start a new life. She decides to leave. Nora says, “I have been your doll-wife, just as at home I was Papa’s doll-child; and here the children have been my dolls. I thought it must be so with every one else…. But now I see that it is not so after all, and that perhaps it is most reasonable that it should not be” (A Doll’s House, Act III). Nora has made the decision to leave her husband and start a new life.
Both Crime and Punishment and A Doll’s House end with the main characters making a difficult decision. For Sonia, it is whether or not to marry Luzhin. For Nora, it is whether or not to stay in her marriage. In both cases, the characters make the decision that is best for them. They are both strong women who are able to stand up for themselves.