whip.jpgRaskolnikov’s compassion becomes apparent during a dream he has of him during his childhood. In this dream, to the horror of the young Raskolnikov, the town people whip and beat an old a mare until it collapse to the ground and dies. The graphic violence the murder of the mare is described in prepares the reader for the vivid murder as well as foreshadows the murder of Alyona. After the dream Raskolnikov is disgusted by his preparation to kill Alyona signifying his uncertainty about committing murder.
He ultimately makes the decision to kill Alyona only because the opportunity to do so arose when he learned when Alyona would be alone in her apartment. His own image of her is confirmed when he over hears a student and an officer speaking of her: ‘“I could kill and rob that cursed old women, and that I assure you, without any remorse…I was joking just now, but look: on the one hand you have a stupid, meaningless, worthless, wicked, sick old crone, no good to anyone, and on the contrary, harmful to everyone, who doesn’t know herself why she’s alive…kill her and take her money, so that afterwards with its help you van devote yourself to the service of all mankind and the common cause…And what does the life of this stupid, consumptive, and wicked old crone mean in the general balance? No more than the life of a louse, a cockroach, and not even that much, because the old crone is harmful’” (64-65). The thought of the student were “ exactly the same thoughts had just been conceived in his own head” (65).