Study Guide

Crime and Punishment Part 4, Chapter 5

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 4, Chapter 5

  • At 7 a.m., Raskolnikov goes to the police station.
  • He's waiting for Porfiry and can't understand why nobody seems interested in him.
  • That man from yesterday, the one who called him a murderer, must not have been real.
  • If the man was real, Raskolnikov thinks the cops would have arrested him as soon as he stepped into the police station.
  • He thinks about how much he hates Porfiry and decides he won't give the man any information at all. Then, he's called into Porfiry's office.
  • Porfiry is alone. He closes the door behind Raskolnikov.
  • Raskolnikov gives him the statement he wrote in regards to the pawned items he wants to claim and asks if it's okay.
  • Porfiry takes the paper from Raskolnikov without much interest and seems distracted.
  • Raskolnikov, who is nervous and agitated, asks him if he wants to question him about the murder of the two women.
  • Porfiry says there is plenty of time for that and then begins to talk about the new house he's having fixed up and will move into soon.
  • Angry, Raskolnikov asks him if it's a tradition among detectives to make small talk to distract a suspect and then to spring the accusations on him when his guard is down.
  • Porfiry takes this as a joke and starts to laugh. Raskolnikov laughs, too, but then gets mad again and frowns.
  • Irritated, Raskolnikov stands up and tells Porfiry that if he wants to question him, he should do so, but he doesn't have time for small talk.
  • Porfiry says he doesn't want to question Raskolnikov but just wants to hang out with him for a few minuteslike friends.
  • He then spends a long time explaining some of his detective methods to Raskolnikov.
  • Basically, Porfiry tells Raskolnikov that all criminals eventually confess and it's important to give a criminal time and space to make the confession.
  • If a criminal is arrested before the time is right, before there is exact proof, it will disrupt this process.
  • He says that once a criminal is aware of Porfiry, the criminal will keep coming around Porfiry until he gives himself away, all on his own.
  • Raskolnikov fantasizes about choking Porfiry while he talks on and on about how ingenious his methods are. Raskolnikov can't take it any more and turns white.
  • Getting up, Raskolnikov demands that they throw him in jail right now if he's a suspect or to leave him alone if he isn't.
  • Porfiry tries to get Raskolnikov to drink water, saying that he must be sick again.
  • He tells Raskolnikov that he's just hallucinating. He's seen cases like this before. A guy has been sick, a murder happens, and so the sick man comes to imagine that he is the killer or that he has some involvement in the murder.
  • Porfiry says that's why Raskolnikov went to visit the scene of the crime the other day, when he asked the workmen if they had cleaned all the blood off the floor.
  • Raskolnikov says he wasn't delusional when he did that.
  • They go back and forth like this for a while until finally Raskolnikov asks him to just tell him whether or not he is a suspect.
  • Porfiry won't give him a straight answer. He claims that he only wants to be Raskolnikov's friend.
  • Raskolnikov says he doesn't want his friendship and goes to the door.
  • This is amusing to Porfiry, who tells Raskolnikov he can't leave without seeing Porfiry's "surprise." He tells him to open a door in his office to find the surprise.
  • The door is locked, and Raskolnikov is furious. When Porfiry holds out the key to him, Raskolnikov freaks out, trying to attack the man, who threatens to have him restrained.
  • Raskolnikov says there is no evidence against him but that he knows they plan to arrest him anyway. It's all in your head, Porfiry tells him.
  • Raskolnikov hears a noise outside the door and thinks he's about to be arrested.
  • But then, something completely unexpected happens.

Crime and Punishment Part 4, Chapter 5 Study Group

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