What does it mean “to be in one’s right mind”? Raskolnikov is presented, from the beginning, as a character on the brink of mental collapse. He talks to himself in public, lies in bed all day in his small apartment, and barely eats. He walks aimlessly around Petersburg, and he often does not remember where he goes or what he does. Razumikhin, Pulcheria, and Dunya fear for Raskolnikov’s mental state, eroded not only by his poverty but, later, by his guilt and paranoia over the murder.
Many other characters are also touched by mental illness or drunkenness. Marmeladov’s alcoholism prevents him from holding down a job and supporting his family. He is eventually crushed under a wagon. Katerina, his wife, succumbs to madness prompted by her grief over her husband’s death and the weight of their family’s poverty. Razumikhin is a notable drinker who first arranges for Pulcheria’s and Dunya’s comfort in Petersburg while deeply intoxicated. Svidrigailov is so broken by Dunya’s unwillingness to elope with him that he decides to kill himself. Pulcheria’s grief over Raskolnikov’s condition and exile drives her illness and death. Her grief, like Katerina's, is essentially indistinguishable from madness.
Although questions of madness and sanity dominate the novel, Raskolnikov never admits that his crime was caused by temporary insanity—although this, more or less, is the verdict rendered after his confession. Raskolnikov cannot find any one reason for killing the two women. Indeed, it becomes clear that his madness derives more from the crime than it does prompt the crime.
Madness and Intoxication ThemeTracker
Madness and Intoxication Quotes in Crime and Punishment
Details, details above all! . . . It’s these details that ruin everything always . . .
If he had ever once managed to analyze and finally decide everything down to the last detail . . . at that point he would most likely have renounced it all as absurd, monstrous, and impossible.
If indeed this whole thing was done consciously and not foolheadedly . . . then how is it that so far you have not even looked into the purse and do not know what you’ve actually gained?
"And what if it was I who killed the old woman and Lizaveta?"
"But can it be?"
"Admit that you believed it! Right? Am I right?"
What I’m driving at . . . is that your complete recovery now depends chiefly on you yourself. . . . I should like to impress upon you that it is necessary to eliminate the original, so to speak, radical causes that influenced the onset of your ill condition.
. . . only peasants or the most inexperienced novices deny everything outright and all down the line. A man with even a bit of development . . . will certainly try to admit as far as possible all the external and unavoidable facts.
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!
Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave . . . . Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. . . . Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou has heard me, . . . and he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth.
One little word, Rodion Romanovich, sir; concerning everything else, it’s as God wills, but all the same we’ll have to ask you a thing or two formally, sir . . . so we’ll be seeing each other right enough, sir.
Dunya! This Razumikhin, Dmitri Prokofych, is a very good man . . . He is a practical man, hard-working, honest, and capable of deep love . . . .
I’m wicked, I see that . . . but why do they love me so, when I’m unworthy of it!