Study Guide

Crime and Punishment Part 5, Chapter 4

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 5, Chapter 4

  • As Raskolnikov heads to Sonia's, he has this basic conversation with himself: "I have to tell her." "No, I can't tell her." "But I have to." "But I can't."
  • He finds her in despair in her room.
  • She's happy to see him and says she doesn't know what she would do without him.
  • Raskolnikov, shaking, asks her if she says all this because she is a poor prostitute.
  • Sonia asks him to please not speak to her that way. She says she can't handle it.
  • He tells her about how her family will be evicted from their home. She wants to rush to them, but our man stops her, saying he needs a little of her attention.
  • Raskolnikov then poses a question to Sonia: if she could choose between Luzhin's life and the lives of her family, who would she choose? How would she decide?
  • Sonia says that only God decides who lives and who diesit could never have anything to do with her.
  • Then, she tells Raskolnikov to get to the point, unless he's only interested in tormenting her. She cries for five minutes, then Raskolnikov says he agrees with her.
  • After that, he feels "helpless" and desperate. Though he doesn't expect it, he suddenly hates Sonia. But, when he looks at the "love" in her eyes, the hate disappears.
  • He sits next to her on the bed. His voice is frozen, he can't tell her.
  • She begs him to tell her what the problem is. He tells her it's nothing, and she begins to feel sorry for him and his pain.
  • Raskolnikov tells Sonia that he's there to reveal Lizaveta's killer. He makes her guess.
  • She looks at him and looks at him, until she realizes that he's the murderer.
  • She is horrified but thinks he's "suffering" badly, and she wants to be there for him. Sonia vows to stand by him and even to go to prison.
  • She feels disoriented and strange. She can't believe she's hanging out with a real murderer.
  • Something awful occurs to herthe money he gave her family was stolen from the pawnbroker.
  • Raskolnikov reassures her, explaining that he doesn't even know if he stole any money. He tells her about hiding the purse under a rock.
  • He tells her that he wishes his motive had been money. Then, he wouldn't feel bad.
  • They are now holding hands.
  • Now, he tries to explain his Napoleon theory to Sonia. You remember: great men won't let anything stand in the way of their greatness, not even other people. Great men kill for progress.
  • Sonia doesn't quite understand his logic.
  • Raskolnikov tells her that he was Pulcheria and Dounia's only hopehe couldn't see a way to take care of them that wouldn't take 10 years. He planned to steal the money and use it to jump-start his career. Sonia doesn't buy this.
  • He explains that the pawnbroker was a "louse" and no good to anybody.
  • Sonia says people are not lice. Raskolnikov agrees with her, saying he doesn't know what he's saying. He has a headache. It's all too confusing for Sonia. She feels "dizzy."
  • Raskolnikov tries to explain again. It's partly that he's just a bad person and partly because he's a little crazy, he tells her.
  • He admits that he didn't really have to stop working and leave school. He could have gotten the clothes and money he needed to keep going. But instead, he just laid low in his horrible little room, thinking and thinking.
  • During the thinking, he started to believe that people are in bad shape, and they can't change, ever. The strong people, the ones who will do anything, will always rule the weak and rule the world.
  • That's why he killed the pawnbroker, to show he was strong enough to do anything and thereby take his place among the strong, among the rulers.
  • Sonia blames "the devil," and Raskolnikov agrees, explaining that once the idea got in his head (the idea about great men and Napoleon), he couldn't get rid of iteven though he knew he really wasn't a Napoleon.
  • The idea tortured him. He decided to kill the woman because he wanted to do so. If he killed, it meant he had "the right." Appalled, Sonia asks if he means "the right to kill."
  • Irritated, Raskolnikov tells her to shush, that he's trying to talk.
  • He explains that he realized the devil was just teasing him with the idea that he could be a great manhe knows this now, knows he's "a louse," too. The devil did the killing.
  • In deep anguish, he begs Sonia to advise him.
  • First, she says, he has to confess, beg forgiveness, and do his time in Siberia.
  • To that plan, he basically says, thanks but no thanks.
  • She says this is the only way to stop the suffering.
  • Unless, he tells her, he really is "a man and not a louse" and therefore isn't guilty and won't have to suffer. He thinks maybe he can still get away with it.
  • After warning her that the cops are after him, he asks if she'll visit him in jail. Enthusiastically, she says she will.
  • On his way over, he thought that confessing to Sonia would make him feel better. Instead, it's made him feel even worse. Now, he tells Sonia not to come see him in jail.
  • She wants to give him a cross. He reaches out to take it but has to move his hand back.
  • Maybe later, he says.
  • She tells him that when he's ready, he can wear the cross and they can pray together.
  • Somebody calls Sonia's name. Andrey Semyonovitch Lebeziatnikov has arrived.

Crime and Punishment Part 5, Chapter 4 Study Group

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