revistas electrónicas de la Universidad de Granada

Thresholds and Double Spaces in "Crime and Punishment"

Brian Seitz


Images of thresholds, doorways, passages, and double spaces constitute a prominent, recurring motif in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. These images undergird another metaphorical or possibly metaphysical threshold, providing a passage connecting doubled spaces, and transitions, which on a fundamental level is a way of characterizing the theme of the entire novel. The main focus here will be on the nexus of references to physical thresholds and passageways that pervade the novel. In particular, Dostoevsky frequently repeats the image of characters standing in thresholds, so the image was significantly lodged in the writer’s head.  Following this observation, I will offer a selective sampling of these references and, in the end, will indicate what, collectively, they might mean. Reinforced by the imagery of physical thresholds, what emerges in the course of a novel saturated with doubles and double spaces is the ambiguous threshold between sin and salvation, or between solitude and Sonya. The very title of Crime and Punishment succinctly captures this, and Siberia is the penultimate threshold for Raskolnikov, who would like to wait at the threshold of existence until life is shaped into the kind of state he approves of, while not directly or consciously acknowledging that he has already entered, as is evident from beginning to end.

Palabras clave

Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky, threshold, doubles, repetition

Texto completo: PDF (English)


  • No hay Refbacks actualmente.

Creative Commons License
Este trabajo está licenciado bajo la licencia Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 .

ISSN: 1579-8372 | eISSN: 2255-517X