Character Analysis Porfiry Petrovitch


Whereas Svidrigailov was working for the gratification of the self, Porfiry is working for the betterment of mankind or, more limited, for the greatness of the Slavic world that needs talented and intelligent young people. Porfiry is a person who believes that Russia is destined to become the great nation of the world and will guide the world into a new era based on love and understanding. Consequently, he feels that any person who has intellectual potential should be serving mother Russia in order to attain these goals. He sees in Raskolnikov a potentially great man who had deceived himself by adhering too much to new and radical intellectual ideas that have come from outside of Russia. Porfiry believes that when Raskolnikov finds his true self, he will then become a man with potential greatness and a man who can do a great service for Russia. If he were to play the part of the average policeman or criminal investigator and concern himself only with trapping the criminal immediately, Porfiry would have arrested Raskolnikov very early in the novel. But Porfiry's aim is not so much to see the criminal locked behind bars as it is to help rehabilitate the criminal and make him into a useful member of society. Therefore, in the final interview, Porfiry gives Raskolnikov some more time in order to confess because a free confession would mitigate the sentence.

Through all of their interviews, Porfiry shows himself to be one of the advanced thinkers of Russia through his use of psychology and new methods, and his belief in the possible rehabilitation of criminals into useful members of society.