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 6 Summary

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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 and runs after him, but it is too late. There is no trace of him.

Raskolnikov goes straight to a bridge and now stands looking down at the darkening water of the canal. He is distracted by the hideous sight of a wasted woman hoisting herself over the railing and throwing herself into the water below. As the filthy water swallows her up, people begin screaming and soon a policeman rescues her. Someone in the crowd explains that she is drunk, and just the other day someone had to stop her from hanging herself. After seeing the woman’s attempt...

(This entire section contains 777 words.)

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at drowning, Raskolnikov decides suicide is not the answer and once again determines to make a full confession at the police station.

On his way there, he passes the house where the murdered pawnbroker lived. He enters and walks mechanically to the fourth floor, stopping along the way to note any changes in the building since that terrible day. When he arrives at the woman’s apartment, he is surprised to see painters working; he says he is there to rent the apartment. As if in a daze, Raskolnikov rings the bell several times and shudders at the sound.

When the workers ask why he is really here, he tells them he will explain everything if they will come with him to the police station. They, of course, believe he is mad and are just happy to see him leave. Out on the street, Raskolnikov continues to debate whether to go to the police station when he sees a crowd gathered around an elegant carriage. He goes to investigate the scene.


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