Study Guide

Crime and Punishment Part 2, Chapter 4

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 2, Chapter 4

  • Raskolnikov tells everybody that he's feeling just fine and isn't sick at all.
  • The doctor says he can eat soup and tea, but no meat, cucumbers, or mushrooms.
  • Razumihin has plans to take Raskolnikov all over town.
  • The doctor vetoes this plan and says Raskolnikov needs to stay in his bed.
  • There's going to be a party at Razumihin's house tomorrow, though, and he wants Raskolnikov to come.
  • When Zossimov asks, Razumihin reads him the guest list, so to speak.
  • Among the guests will be "Porfiry Petrovitch, the head of the Investigation Department here" and Zametov (the police clerk).
  • Porfiry is distantly related to both Razumihin and Zossimov, but Zossimov and he haven't gotten along in the past.
  • He's also the guy that's been interrogating suspects in the murder of the pawnbroker and her sister.
  • Zossimov can't imagine what people like Razumihin and Raskolnikov have to talk about with a corrupt policeman like Zametov.
  • Well, it turns out that Zametov (whom Razumihin defends as being a very young man needing special care) and Razumihin are both interested, very interested, in a certain situation with a certain housepainter.
  • He's been accused of murder (yes, the murder of the pawnbroker), and the two men want to free him because he's innocent.
  • Remember, there were painters working in one of the flats Raskolnikov had to pass by in order to get to the pawnbroker's apartment.
  • One of those painters pawned a pair of earrings, which he claimed to have found on the street, which turned out to have been pawned by somebody else to the murdered pawnbroker.
  • The guy he pawned them to heard about the murders and suspected that the earrings and the housepainter, Nikolay Dementyev, were connected to it, so he went to the police.
  • Nikolay got drunk on the money from the earrings. When he heard about the murder, he knew he was a suspect due to the earrings. Scared, he ran, and then he tried to hang himself.
  • But, somebody saw him trying to hang himself and got the police in time to stop him.
  • They got him, and he admitted that he didn't find the earrings in the street but in the flat they were working in.
  • See, right before closing time, the other painter, Dmitri, had smeared paint on Nikolay's face, and they started playing and fighting.
  • Dmitri ran off, but Nikolay went back to the flat to close it up.
  • That's when he found the box behind the door.
  • (At this detail, Raskolnikov gets a little excited but then lies back down, listening.)
  • The police believe Nikolay is guilty because he wouldn't have run and wouldn't have tried to hang himself if he wasn't guilty.
  • But, 10 people saw the two painters rolling around in the grass like lunatics.
  • As Razumihin explains to the doctor, they wouldn't have been acting like that, or had time to act like that, if they had just killed the two women.
  • Razumihin knows exactly what happened though, he says.
  • The earrings prove it.
  • The murderer, he says, was inside, at the door when the two guys came to pawn something.
  • He waited until they went away and then made his escape. The earrings fell out of his pocket when he walked by the room being painted.
  • The doctor thinks Razumihin's theory is "melodramatic," like a soap opera.
  • Razumihin is about to respond, but a stranger enters the room...

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