Crime and Punishment Part 2, Chapter 6 Summary
by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 2, Chapter 6 Summary

As soon as everyone leaves, Raskolnikov dresses, pockets the money his mother sent him, and sneaks out of the building. It is eight o’clock in the evening; though he is weak, he is also quite calm. He has only one thought: this must all be over today. He is determined that everything must change. He interacts with several strangers and frightens them; as he continues his aimless walking, he enjoys the sounds of revelry and is propositioned by a prostitute.

Raskolnikov finally enters a restaurant and asks for newspapers from the past five days and some tea. As he is reading about the murders, he is joined by Zametov, the head clerk, rather flushed from drinking champagne. He tells Raskolnikov that he came to see him while he was sick and is surprised to see him out tonight. Raskolnikov acts strangely and talks in riddles the clerk cannot comprehend; he finally announces euphorically that he came to this place deliberately to read the articles about the murders.

Zametov is puzzled and grows even more confused when Raskolnikov begins to laugh maniacally for no apparent reason. He tells the sick man that either he is crazy or....Suddenly an appalling idea occurs to him. Raskolnikov goads him to speak what he is thinking, but Zametov refuses. After calming himself, Raskolnikov is able to talk more reasonably, and the two men discuss how foolish criminals can be. Soon the conversation moves to the old pawnbroker’s murder and Zametov posits that her murderer was a foolish, desperate fellow who was so clumsy he did not even rob the old woman after killing her.

Raskolnikov is offended and asks why, if the killer was so foolish, he is still at large. Zametov assures him the killer will be caught because such criminals always give themselves away. Raskolnikov whispers what he would do after such a crime, and he proceeds to tell Zametov exactly what he did do, hiding the loot so he can collect it several years from now. Zametov says Raskolnikov is a madman, but the confession continues; Raskolnikov now asks what would happen if he himself was the one who killed the old woman and Lizaveta.

Zametov’s reaction is explosive. He looks at Raskolnikov wildly and denies that it could be true. Raskolnikov pays the bill and shows him a fistful of roubles, asking how a man wearing rags just the other day now has new clothes and money to spare. As he leaves the restaurant, Raskolnikov meets Razumihin, and his friend insists on taking him home, even threatening to lock him up. Though he is grateful for the help, Raskolnikov explains that he simply wants to be left alone, free from the persecution of their presence, even if it makes him seem ungrateful or unkind.

Before Raskolnikov leaves, Razumihin tells him he is a fool, but he is having a dinner party that night and expects him to be there. After he lets his friend leave, Razumihin panics at what Raskolnikov might do...

(The entire section is 776 words.)