Illustration of a person's lower extremeties wearing a pair of bloody socks

Crime and Punishment

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 2, Chapter 2 Summary

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Despite his fears, no one is in Raskolnikov’s apartment or has searched it while he was gone. He tucks the trinkets in his one remaining trouser pocket and grabs the purse full of coins before leaving his apartment, door open behind him. He is most afraid of being pursued and knows he must hide all traces of the murder before he is found. Raskolnikov walks to the river and intends to throw the trinkets into the water, but he is afraid someone will see or that the boxes might float and be discovered. The Neva, he thinks, will be a better place to dispose of the goods.

Raskolnikov finds a deserted, fenced-off area filled with rubbish and lifts a large rock before dumping the stolen items into a hollow underneath it. He replaces the rock and makes sure it looks undisturbed. As he walks back to the square, Raskolnikov is overwhelmed with euphoria and is certain he will never be caught. When he arrives at the place where he found the drunken girl, he sobers immediately and asks himself why, if the murder was a deliberate act rather than an “idiotic” one, had he never even bothered to see how many coins were in the purse. His dire need for money was the justification for debasing himself by committing murder, but he finally decides he did this because he is very ill.

He walks without resting and feels loathing for everything he sees. Suddenly Raskolnikov finds he is at his friend Razumihin’s house but he does not know if he walked there consciously. He visits Razumihin in his fifth-floor room; Raskolnikov has not seen him for four months and he shows up unwashed and unkempt. Razumihin notices immediately that his visitor is ill, perhaps even delirious.

Raskolnikov is furious at having to be sociable and rises to leave, but Razumihin physically stops him. Raskolnikov explains that he thought his friend might be able to help him, but he knows now that he can do nothing. After explaining the translation work he has been doing, Razumihin offers Raskolnikov a chance to work, too. Raskolnikov silently takes the sheets of a German manuscript and some money; however, as soon as he reaches the street he retraces his steps and returns both items, again without speaking. Razumihin shouts after him, but his friend just keeps walking.

In a daze, Raskolnikov nearly gets run over by a carriage, and bystanders assume he is either drunk or a professional accident man, trying to dupe innocent people for money. As he rubs his back, still bewildered, Raskolnikov feels someone pressing some coins into his hand. It is an elderly woman with a girl, and after they walk off he realizes they probably, with good reason, assumed he was a beggar.

Raskolnikov stops at a quiet place where, in his college days, he used to stand and contemplate his life. He finds it difficult to believe he is the same person, for his former thoughts are buried deep within him now. He flings the coins in his hand into the water and turns to go home. At that moment, he feels cut off from everyone and everything.

Six hours after he left, Raskolnikov returns home and again sinks into oblivion until he is awakened by a fearful scream and other sounds he has never heard. Soon he realizes it is his landlady making unnatural noises as she pleads with her assailant to stop beating her. Raskolnikov recognizes Ilya Petrovitch’s voice; he is the attacker, and the realization freezes Raskolnikov with terror. Even after the brutal attack is over, he experiences an “intolerable sensation of infinite terror.”

Nastasya enters his dark room with some bread and Raskolnikov asks why the landlady had been beaten. There was no beating. She tells him that it is “the blood crying in his ears” which causes him to imagine things. Nastasya brings him cold water; after he takes a drink, Raskolnikov again falls into forgetful haze.

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Part 2, Chapter 1 Summary


Part 2, Chapter 3 Summary