Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

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Arkady Ivanovich Svidrigailov Character Analysis

One of Raskolnikov’s two antagonists, Svidrigailov is a womanizer and libertine who was once married to Marfa, and who has been linked to crimes in the past. He courts Dunya, who refuses him, and when he later tries to elope with her she refuses once more, with finality. Svidrigailov is so broken by this that he shoots himself in the head.

Arkady Ivanovich Svidrigailov Quotes in Crime and Punishment

The Crime and Punishment quotes below are all either spoken by Arkady Ivanovich Svidrigailov or refer to Arkady Ivanovich Svidrigailov. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Criminality, Morality, and Guilt Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of Crime and Punishment published in 1993.
Part 4, Chapter 2 Quotes

You’ve all been saying that I was mad . . . and just now I imagined that perhaps I really am mad and was only seeing a ghost!

Related Characters: Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov (speaker), Arkady Ivanovich Svidrigailov, Dmitri Prokofych Razumikhin
Page Number: 295
Explanation and Analysis:

At this point in the novel, Raskolnikov's paranoid psychology begins to fold in on itself. For the young man genuinely does wonder, now, if he is crazy, and if the friends he has known for some time appear to him only as illusions - if he can trust his own senses, his ability to understand whatever is going on around him. Indeed, Raskolnikov feels so divorced from the crimes he has committed that he wonders why it is he has committed them - what possibly could have motivated him, and from where those motivations derived.

Razumikhin, for his part, seems more and more convinced that his friend is guilty, at least of something - that he is somehow implicated in the murder that seems always to pique his interest, to cause him to act as though he has an incredible stain of guilt on his soul. But Razumikhin is afraid to bring this up with his friend, perhaps because he is also worried about upsetting someone who is so clearly in a perilous and unstable mental state. 

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Part 6, Chapter 6 Quotes

"Well, never mind, brother. It’s a good place. If they start asking you, just tell them he went to America."

"Oi, dat’s not allowed, it’s de wrong place!"

Related Characters: Arkady Ivanovich Svidrigailov (speaker)
Page Number: 511
Explanation and Analysis:

The final exhortation here is from the guard outside a building, who sees Svidrigailov about to kill himself. The guard, tellingly, does not advise the man not to commit suicide - he simply says that outside the building by the guard station is the "wrong place" to commit such an act. Indeed, throughout the novel, Dostoevsky is interested in what constitutes the right and the wrong place - which actions belong in which place, which actions cause one to be guilty or innocent, and whether the circumstances might justify those actions.

Just like Raskolnikov's murders, Svidrigailov's suicide is never adequately explained, because there is no adequate explanation for it. There is only his belief, like Raskolnikov's, that life presents a series of horrid tasks, and that the way out of that life is to engage in a violent act, directed either against oneself, ending that life, or against other people, putting one's freedom in jeopardy. 

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Arkady Ivanovich Svidrigailov Character Timeline in Crime and Punishment

The timeline below shows where the character Arkady Ivanovich Svidrigailov appears in Crime and Punishment. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 3
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Dunya’s position was placed in jeopardy when Mr. Svidrigailov began making passes at her, eventually asking her to elope with him. Dunya refused but,... (full context)
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...the intervening two months. Marfa slandered Dunya throughout the province, further shaming the family. But Svidrigailov ultimately could not stand the lies being told, however unknowingly, by his wife; he confessed... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 6
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...find a man in the room. Raskolnikov pretends he is still sleeping but eventually wakes; Svidrigailov introduces himself and says he knew Raskolnikov was not really asleep. (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 1
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Svidrigailov immediately addresses his relationship with Dunya, arguing that his behavior toward her was based only... (full context)
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Raskolnikov wishes to go but finds he somewhat enjoys talking to Svidrigailov. Raskolnikov admits that Svidrigailov seems a kind of gentleman; Svidrigailov complains that Petersburg is only... (full context)
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Svidrigailov asks Raskolnikov if he believes in ghosts. Svidrigailov says that sometimes he senses Marfa’s presence.... (full context)
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Svidrigailov goes on to say that the afterlife might be something like a bathhouse where one... (full context)
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Svidrigailov wishes for Raskolnikov to arrange a meeting with Dunya, whereby he can convince her not... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 2
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Raskolnikov meets with Razumikhin and tells him the man leaving his apartment was Svidrigailov. Raskolnikov hopes that Razumikhin also saw him; he is worried he has been having hallucinations.... (full context)
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...enter Pulcheria and Dunya’s quarters. They all discuss, briefly, Marfa’s death, and Dunya learns that Svidrigailov has come to Petersburg. Luzhin says that Svidrigailov is a depraved man, that he hopes... (full context)
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Raskolnikov announces that Svidrigailov has already paid him a visit and that Marfa left Dunya three thousand roubles. Pulcheria... (full context)
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...control of Dunya and her mother. When Luzhin then implies that Dunya is receptive to Svidrigailov’s offers, she kicks him out the apartment, effectively ending their engagement on the spot. Yet... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 3
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...Dunya, and Raskolnikov do not view him as a benefactor and protector. He worries about Svidrigailov, whom he considers a rival for Dunya's affections. Back in the lodgings, Dunya apologizes to... (full context)
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Raskolnikov tells his mother and sister of Svidrigailov’s offer of ten thousand roubles. Dunya fears Svidrigailov’s attentions and Razumikhin promises to protect the... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 4
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...Lizaveta. Sonya falls into a fever and worries for the remainder of the night. Meanwhile, Svidrigailov has been standing behind a adjoining wall in the apartment next door the whole time,... (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 5
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Svidrigailov pulls Raskolnikov aside to say he will provide for Katerina’s funeral and for the family... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 1
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Raskolnikov passes the next several days in a “fog.” He worries about Svidrigailov and meets with him several times after Katerina’s death. Svidrigailov has set money aside to... (full context)
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...will be revealed very soon. Razumikhin says that Dunya has received a letter, presumably from Svidrigailov, that she finds “very disturbing.” He also reports that Nikolai the painter has confessed to... (full context)
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...and is hiding his activities to escape detection. He realizes the letter is probably from Svidrigailov and rushes to intercept Dunya. Raskolnikov worries to himself that even Razumikhin has come to... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 3
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Raskolnikov hurries to Svidrigailov’s and worries that the latter has already seen Porfiry. Raskolnikov wonders whether it is worth... (full context)
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Raskolnikov passes through the Haymarket and sees Svidrigailov seated in a tavern; the latter attempts to leave but thinks better of it and... (full context)
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Svidrigailov replies that, though Raskolnikov has been in a daze for the past 48 hours, Svidrigailov... (full context)
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Raskolnikov says that, if Svidrigailov believes he has power over him, Svidrigailov might be surprised to learn that Raskolnikov cares... (full context)
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Svidrigailov has been drinking one glass of wine quite slowly, but it has “gone to his... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 4
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Svidrigailov recounts first the story of his marriage to Marfa, who bought him out of debtor’s... (full context)
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Svidrigailov says that Marfa often confided in Dunya on the estate, saying Svidrigailov was an immoral... (full context)
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...if she would run away with him to America; Dunya, of course, said no, but Svidrigailov claims he offered the money out of a desire to help Dunya, who was supporting... (full context)
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Svidrigailov details the circumstances of his current engagement; the girl is not even sixteen, yet her... (full context)
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Svidrigailov complains of the nightlife in Petersburg, the life he used to enjoy before his marriage... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 5
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Raskolnikov states his certainty that Svidrigailov still has designs on Dunya, which he plans to block. Svidrigailov counters that he could... (full context)
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...walks passed Dunya in the night, not recognizing her; Dunya has come to meet with Svidrigailov, who has only used his carriage as a decoy to get rid of Raskolnikov. Svidrigailov... (full context)
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Svidrigailov insists, however, that he knows the truth, and that he heard Raskolnikov spill out his... (full context)
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Svidrigailov says that no one is around to witness their conversation and that, if necessary, he... (full context)
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When Svidrigailov hears this he gives Dunya the key to let herself out of the apartment. He... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 6
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Svidrigailov spends the night on the town, drinking and carousing with women he meets in the... (full context)
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Svidrigailov then heads to the house of his fiancée, says he is leaving Petersburg “for some... (full context)
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Svidrigailov walks aimlessly and ends up taking a room in a rundown inn. He attempts to... (full context)
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Svidrigailov calms the girl and takes her to his room to sleep, though he curses himself... (full context)
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...early morning fog and finds a young man standing as a guard outside a building. Svidrigailov tells the guard he is going to America and pulls out a gun. The guard... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 8
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...brief, trifling conversation with Gunpowder. As they speak, Raskolnikov overhears someone else talking about how Svidrigailov has killed himself. (full context)
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He walks outside, not having the courage to confess and rattled by Svidrigailov’s death. In the courtyard he finds Sonya, who wordlessly urges him back into the station... (full context)