Crime And Punishment – Monologue (MarmelAdov)

A monologue from the novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Crime and Punishment. Trans. Constance Garnett. New York: P. F. Collier & Son, 1917.


Well, so be it, I am a pig, but she is a lady! I have the semblance of a beast, but Katerina Ivanovna, my spouse is a person of education and an officer’s daughter.

Granted, granted, I am a scoundrel, but she is a woman of a noble heart, full of sentiments, refined by education. And yet … oh, if only she felt for me! Honoured sir, honoured sir,

you know every man ought to have at least one place where people feel for him!! But Katerina Ivanovna, though she is magnanimous, she is unjust.… And yet, although I realise that when she pulls my hair she only does it out of pity—

for I repeat without being ashamed, she pulls my hair, young man, but, my God, if she would but once.… But no, no! It’s all in vain and it’s no use talking! No use talking!

For more than once, my wish did come true and more than once she has felt for me but … such is my fate and I am a beast by nature! Do you know, sir, do you know, I have sold her very stockings for drink?

Not her shoes—that would be more or less in the order of things, but her stockings, her stockings I have sold for drink! Her mohair shawl I sold for drink, a present to her long ago, her own property, not mine;

and we live in a cold room and she caught cold this winter and has begun coughing and spitting blood too. We have three little children and Katerina Ivanovna is at work from morning till night;

she is scrubbing and cleaning and washing the children, for she’s been used to cleanliness from a child. But her chest is weak and she has a tendency to consumption and I feel it!

Do you suppose I don’t feel it? And the more I drink the more I feel it. That’s why I drink too. I try to find sympathy and feeling in drink.… I drink so that I may suffer twice as much!

Young man, my wife was educated in a high-class school for the daughters of noblemen, and on leaving, she danced the shawl dance before the governor and other personages for which she was presented with a gold medal and a certificate of merit.

The medal … well, the medal of course was sold—long ago, hm … but the certificate of merit is in her trunk still and not long ago she showed it to our landlady.

And although she is most continually on bad terms with the landlady, yet she wanted to tell some one or other of her past honours and of the happy days that are gone. I don’t condemn her for it.

I don’t blame her, for the one thing left her is recollection of the past, and all the rest is dust and ashes. Yes, yes, she is a lady of spirit, proud and determined.

She scrubs the floors herself and has nothing but black bread to eat, but won’t allow herself to be treated with disrespect. We have now part of a room at Amalia Ivanovna Lippevechsel’s;

and what we live upon and what we pay our rent with, I could not say. There are a lot of people living there beside ourselves. Dirt and disorder, a perfect Bedlam … hm … yes.…

And meanwhile my daughter by my first wife has grown up; and what my daughter has had to put up with from her step-mother whilst she was growing up, I won’t speak of.

For, though Katerina Ivanovna is full of generous feelings, she is a spirited lady, irritable and short-tempered.… Yes. But it’s no use going over that! Sonia, as you may well fancy, has had no education.

And do you suppose that a respectable poor girl can earn much by honest work? Not fifteen farthings a day can she earn, if she is respectable and has no special talent and that without putting her work down for an instant!

And there are the little ones hungry.… And Katerina Ivanovna walking up and down and wringing her hands, her cheeks flushed red, as they always are in that disease:

“Here you live with us,” says she, “you eat and drink and are kept warm and you do nothing to help.” And much she gets to eat and drink when there is not a crust for the little ones for three days!

I was lying at the time … well, what of it! I was lying drunk and I heard my Sonia speaking (she is a gentle creature with a soft little voice … fair hair and such a pale, thin little face).

She said: “Katerina Ivanovna, am I really to do a thing like that?” Darya Frantsovna, you see, a woman of evil character and very well known to the police, had two or three times tried to get at her through the landlady.

“And why not?” said Katerina Ivanovna with a jeer, “You are something mighty precious to be so careful of!” But don’t blame her, don’t blame her, honoured sir, don’t blame her!

She was not herself when she spoke, but driven to distraction by her illness and the crying of the hungry children. At six o’clock I saw Sonia get up, put on her kerchief and her cape, and go out of the room and about nine o’clock she came back.

She walked straight up to Katerina Ivanovna and she laid thirty roubles on the table before her in silence. She did not utter a word, she did not even look at her, she simply picked up our big green shawl,

put it over her head and lay down on the bed with her face to the wall; only her little shoulders and her body kept shuddering.… And I went on lying there, just as before.…

And then I saw, young man, I saw Katerina Ivanovna, in the same silence go up to Sonia’s little bed; she was on her knees all the evening kissing Sonia’s feet, and would not get up,

and then they both fell asleep in each other’s arms … together, together … yes … and I … lay drunk.

Read the play here

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