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Word Count: 707
Anyone who has had any exposure to theatre has at least once heard the colloquialism there are no small parts only small actors Some may mock this platitude pointing out the fact that of course there are small parts most literary works contain several bit parts But the root of this statement is true no matter how small a characters part may be that character makes a contribution large or small to the story And in Fyodor Dostoevskys classic work Crime and Punishment a central character that provides a key turning point has only two brief appearances Alyona Ivanovna is a pawnbroker and moneylender This acceptable existence vaguely awkward for a woman in the beginning of the novel leads one to first want to disregard her as a mere surface character But as the story unfolds it becomes quite clear that both Alyona Ivanovna and her despicable character are a vital part of Raskolnikovs plot to achieve extraordinary status To begin with Alyona Ivanovna first presents a problem for Raskolnikov at her murder albeit quite indirectly While he is bludgeoning Alyona Ivanovna with the butt end of an axe her sister Lizaveta returns from an errand and happens upon the horrifying scene Startled by her arrival Raskolnikov turns to her and murders her as well This event equips Raskolnikov with two dilemmas he has not only killed one woman but two the second of whom he had no intention of harming and the fact that he murdered Lizaveta could spoil his theory of the Extraordinary Man the Ubermensch As a result of this possibility Raskolnikov comes to more or less ignore his murder of Lizaveta Through the progression of Raskolnikovs experience several holes in his theory lead the reader to believe that Raskolnikov is not in fact an Extraordinary Man These can be tied directly to Alyona Ivanovna or to her murder It becomes apparent that perhaps Alyona Ivanovna was not quite the despicable and
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