Moral Ambiguity Sonya Semyonovna Marmeladov is a confounded young woman who can be characterized as morally ambiguous in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel, Crime and Punishment. Sonya is making decisions in life uncertain of whether they are right or wrong. She has been forced into prostitution for the betterment of her family, is being captivated by a killer, and is trying to maintain a relationship with God. Sonya battles with moral ambiguity throughout the novel, and because of this, her character plays a major role in Crime and Punishment and leaves an effect on many people in St.
Petersburg. Sonya Marmeladov is known by readers as a woman who lives in a disheveled home with an incompetent family and doesn’t have any money to her name. She supports herself and her family by selling herself to aspiring clientele. She is also looked down upon as a person for this, and is thought of as an awful person. Sonya shows moral ambiguity here because she is uncertain what is morally correct in her situation. Should I serve as a prostitute and intentionally commit sin?
Should I let my family run out of money and risk being kicked out of their home and not be able to have food? These are questions Sonya asks herself and this debate of whether she or her family is more important to herself is what adds to the significance of the novel. Another circumstance where Sonya is morally ambiguous is where she has to decide to either have a relationship with Raskolnikov, or leave him out of the picture. Sonya knows that it is right to help Raskolnikov in her life because he could be lost and go even deeper into his madness.
However, Sonya knows that Raskolnikov is a killer and it would be wrong to be associated with somebody who knowingly commits sins as extravagant as murder. Sonya is also aware that Raskolnikov has issues and his madness could drive him to do other things that could lead to even worse consequences. Sonya believes that it is equally as wrong to not help Raskolnikov and forgive him for his sins, than it is wrong to be acquaintances with a killer. This decision Sony makes to stay and help Raskolnikov is significant because it had an effect on the whole novel.
If she chose to leave Raskolnikov and let him sort out his own problems, he probably wouldn’t have confessed to the murder. Sonya’s relationship with God, I believe, had an influence of the choices she made while dealing with her moral ambiguity. She was a good hearted person, so she wanted to do what was best for others and for God. Sonya believed that god would want her to sacrifice herself for her family, just as He sacrificed Himself for the human race. Also, Sonya knew that god would help Raskolnikov; therefore she should do the same.
Even if she is putting herself potentially in danger, Sonya knows Raskolnikov is in danger now and could lead him to hurting others as well. Sonya Marmeladov is a woman who is viewed as morally ambiguous for reasons such as her dilemma between being a prostitute to support her family, or to leave them to suffer on their own. She also had to make a choice between choosing Raskolnikov, loving him, and helping him through his issues, or leaving him to suffer his life of guilt.
Sonya is a believer of god and can be considered a symbol of Jesus in the novel. She resembles this analogy because she has sacrificed herself for the greater good of others, and essentially brought Raskolnikov back to life, just as Jesus did with Lazarus. Sonya’s morally ambiguous character plays a significant role in Crime and Punishment, leaving an impact on the society of St. Petersburg and Changing Raskolnikov’s life and future.