Study Guide

Crime and Punishment Part 4, Chapter 2

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 4, Chapter 2

  • Raskolnikov and Razumihin have to hurry to get to the big meeting by 8 p.m.
  • Razumihin asks about Svidrigaïlov. Raskolnikov wants Razumihin to help "guard" Dounia from him.
  • Afraid that Svidrigaïlov was just part of his dream, Raskolnikov begs Razumihin to tell him whether the man was real.
  • Razumihin reassures him and then tells him about his visit to Zametov and Porfiry. Basically, he couldn't get any information out of the men.
  • For the first time, Raskolnikov wonders how Razumihin will feel when he learns that Raskolnikov is the killer.
  • The two men have arrived, and so has Luzhin. (Everybody is so punctual tonight.)
  • They all go in and sit down at the table. A samovar is brewing.
  • Everybody sits down. Dounia and Luzhin sit across from each other.
  • Luzhin thinks about how he almost left when he saw Raskolnikov. Leaving would "punish" the women, but he wanted things settled. Besides that, he could "punish" them whenever he wants.
  • The meeting starts. There's strained and uncomfortable chatter as Luzhin asks the women how their journey went.
  • Then, nobody says anything for a while and so Pulcheria brings up Marfa's death, again.
  • Luzhin says he's heard many things about it and will hear more soon. He has connections.
  • Svidrigaïlov is the worst kind of guy, he says, and must be up to no good chasing Dounia here to the city with his wife's body barely cold.
  • Dounia is surprised and alarmed to hear that he's in St. Petersburg.
  • Luzhin says that Marfa not only paid off Svidrigaïlov's debt (which we heard about in the last chapter), but also helped him beat a murder rap somehow.
  • See, Svidrigaïlov was dating a woman in St. Petersburg. The woman was supposed to be taking care of her 15-year-old niece who was both deaf and mute.
  • She hated the niece and abused her. The girl hanged herself.
  • The state of the girl's body suggested that Svidrigaïlov had been sexually abusing her.
  • Marfa paid to keep the story quiet. (This was all seven or eight years ago, when Marfa paid his gambling debt.)
  • Luzhin says there is also evidence to suggest that he abused his servant, Philip.
  • Dounia begins to defend Svidrigaïlov. She says he wasn't mean to anybody when she was there but admits that she heard rumors about him tormenting Philip psychologically.
  • Luzhin continues talking about Svidrigaïlov, and Dounia begs him to stop.
  • Finally, Raskolnikov speaks. He tells them about Svidrigaïlov's visit and about the 3,000 roubles from Marfa.
  • He says he has a message for Dounia from him but needs to give it to her in private.
  • Luzhin says he has to go. Dounia begs him to stayshe wants to know what he wanted to talk about with Pulcheria.
  • He says that if Raskolnikov can't talk about Svidrigaïlov in front of him, he'll just act the same way.
  • Dounia says she told her brother to be here and that, if Raskolnikov has treated him unjustly, Raskolnikov will have to apologize.
  • Luzhin says that Raskolnikov's behavior is beyond forgiveness.
  • Dounia doesn't want to hear it. If the men can't work it out, she'll have to pick between them. So, how they act tonight will help her decide.
  • Luzhin says she's being unreasonable. Of course he won't get along with everybody in the family. Dounia explains that this is a test to see what kind of man he is.
  • Luzhin says that this is ridiculous. Who does she think she is? How can she put him on the same low level as Raskolnikov?
  • After all he's done for her, he's not going to let her forget this.
  • Now, he turns on Pulcheria. He wants to know if she told Raskolnikov that Luzhin said he'd rather marry a poor girl because she would have to rely on him completely.
  • Luzhin explains that all he meant was that the suffering of poverty makes girls morally stronger than girls who have had everything handed to him.
  • Pulcheria says she doesn't remember exactly how she phrased things. She simply told it to Raskolnikov as she remembered it.
  • Raskolnikov says that Luzhin has been writing lies in letters, too. He reminds him of what he said about the money he gave to Sonia's mother. He tells Luzhin that he's "not worth" Sonia's "little finger."
  • He shocks them all by saying that he has formally introduced Sonia to Pulcheria and Dounia.
  • Things go on this way, and pretty soon Luzhin accuses Dounia of standing up to him because she now has 300 roubles. Then, he implies that she plans to sell herself sexually to Svidrigaïlov.
  • Dounia finally has had enough. She tells him to beat it.
  • He says that if he goes, he won't come back. Dounia assures him that she doesn't want him back.
  • But, he argues, she's obliged to marry him because she promised and because of all the money he paid to get them to St. Petersburg. Everybody tells him to get lost.
  • Raskolnikov almost has to throw him out.
  • Luzhin leaves, but he just can't believe that he's really lost Dounia.
  • Oh, how he hates that Raskolnikov! He's screwed up everything.
  • He still thinks he has a chance with Dounia and that she will marry him in the end.

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