In Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky explores the psychological aspects involved in criminal investigation and its effects on criminals. He focuses not on the actual murders, but instead on the way the murders force the main character to deal with tormenting guilt. By shifting the focus, Dostoevsky suggests that guilt can destroy the human psyche worse than any punishment by the hands of men. .
By using emotions, Dostoevsky allows the reader to look inside the mind of a criminal. Most of this insight relies upon Raskolnikov's fear. After killing both Lizaveta and the Alyona Ivonovna, Raskolnikov instantly exhibits the typical characteristics of a criminal. Most of them always devise a plan to evade authorities and avoid capture. However, his emotions takes hold of him in that, "Fear gained more and more mastery over him, especially after this second, quite unexpected murder." Even though Raskolnikov commits murder in cold blood, Dostoevsky allows Raskolnikov to maintain his humanity by stating, " it is very possible that he would have flung up everything, and would have gone to give himself up, and not from fear, but from simple horror and loathing of what he had done." With this emotional torment, Dostoevsky shows the weakness of Raskolnikov's emotional stability.
As a detective, Porfiry Petrovitch understands that criminals overcome with guilt have few options. The wrath of mental torture forces a criminal to either confess or go insane. Porfiry employs specific investigatory tools in the interrogation of Raskolnikov. As the story develops, Dostoevsky allows Petrovitch to launch psychological attacks on with in return solicit explosive and disturbing reactions from Raskolnikov. Through his own paranoia, Raskolnikov opens himself to the traps of capture. In meetings with Porfiry, Raskolnikov feels the pressure from his guilty conscience. The tension between the two causes Raskolnikov to panic even before questioning from Porfiry.