Study Guide

Crime and Punishment Part 3, Chapter 5

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 3, Chapter 5

  • So, the two young men enter Porfiry's house, one laughing, the other scowling and irritated.
  • Through his laughter, Raskolnikov bows to Porfiry, who, amused, introduces himself.
  • Raskolnikov just can't stop laughing. Every time he looks at Razumihin, who becomes more and more irritated, new giggles are released.
  • Everything seems very spur of the moment, and Raskolnikov completes the portrait of a fun-loving young man by knocking down a table, breaking a glass.
  • Porfiry is laughing, too, but wants to be let in on the joke.
  • All of a sudden, Zametov pops up. He's been there all along, sitting on a couch with his back to them. Although not happy to see him, Raskolnikov controls himself.
  • He tells the men that he doesn't know why Razumihin is so upset. All Raskolnikov did was call him a "Romeo" and "prove" that he was one.
  • Razumihin only stays irritated for a few more minutes before he returns to his usual happy self, introducing Raskolnikov to Porfiry and remarking on Zametov's presence.
  • Porfiry is about 35. He has a body that's short and round. He has "dark" and "yellowish" skin and long, white eyelashes.
  • Porfiry and Raskolnikov stare each other down as Raskolnikov asks how he can claim the items. Porfiry says he should just go to the police station and make a written claim.
  • Raskolnikov explains that he can't pay now.
  • Porfiry says it's not important but that, if Raskolnikov wants, he can write up his statement and give it to Porfiry.
  • Then, Raskolnikov thinks he sees Porfiry wink at him. Raskolnikov thinks, "He knows."
  • He says the watch is the only trace the family has of his father. His mother, who is in town, would die if it were lost.
  • Porfiry seems surprised to hear that Raskolnikov's mother is in St. Petersburg and asks when she got in.
  • After hearing she's been in town for a day, Porfiry says he's been waiting for Raskolnikov because he's the only person who hasn't come to check on his pawned property.
  • He thinks Porfiry and Zametov know he's the killer and are accomplices in harassing him, toying with him and playing a crude game to trap him.
  • Razumihin resumes a conversation they'd been having at his party, about why people commit crimes. Porfiry argues that all crime is a product of environment, but Razumihin vehemently disagrees.
  • He says that Porfiry is a sneaky guy who gets people arguing just to amuse himself.
  • Porfiry loves this flattery and promises he'll trick Raskolnikov, too, before it's all over.
  • Porfiry has recently read an article written by Raskolnikov on the very subject in Periodical Review.
  • Raskolnikov had submitted an article but had no idea it had been published.
  • But, he asks, how does Porfiry know he wrote it, when he only used his initial?
  • Apparently, Porfiry is friends with the editor, who revealed the identity of the author as Raskolnikov.
  • Porfiry says that "in his article all men are divided into 'ordinary' and 'extraordinary.'" The extraordinary ones are allowed to kill people, the ordinary ones aren't.
  • Razumihin is shocked. Raskolnikov explains that "extraordinary" people are people that have a "new idea."
  • Even murder is morally justifiable if it's for the sake of the idea. He brings up Napoleon as an example of an extraordinary person.
  • (Raskolnikov identifies heavily with Napoleon. You can find out more here.)
  • Raskolnikov spends a long time explaining his idea. Then, Porfiry asks him if he believes in God and that Lazarus was brought back from the dead by Jesus.
  • Raskolnikov says he believes these things "literally." Porfiry says he was just wondering.
  • Porfiry questions Raskolnikov about his idea for a long time and, while Raskolnikov elaborates, he tells Porfiry that there's nothing to worry about.
  • There aren't many extraordinary people. Ordinary people who pretend to be extraordinary always fizzle out before they can do much damage.
  • Razumihin is freaking out. He can't believe Raskolnikov is saying that murder is sometimes morally correct.
  • After much more questioning, Porfiry asks Raskolnikov if he thinks or thought at any time that he was one of the extraordinary people and therefore killed people and stole their things. Raskolnikov says he doesn't think he's one of the extraordinary. He hasn't said or thought anything new.
  • Raskolnikov prepares to leave.
  • Porfiry invites him to the station to give his statement, like all the pawnbroker's other customers have done.
  • Then, Porfiry asks him if, when he last visited the pawnbroker, between 7-8 p.m., he noticed any men painting.
  • He says he didn't.
  • Razumihin interjects that he couldn't have seen the painters unless he was there the night of the murder. Porfiry apologizes, claiming he must have gotten confused.
  • Razumihin and Raskolnikov leave and hit the street. They are quiet for a few moments.

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