Crime and Punishment Part 2, Chapter 7 Summary
by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 2, Chapter 7 Summary

The elegant, empty carriage is stopped in the middle of the road; the distraught coachman stands nearby and the police stand in front of it. A crowd has gathered as one of the policemen holds a lantern over something lying on the ground, close to the wheels. While everyone laments the tragedy, Raskolnikov pushes his way closer to the scene until he espies a poorly dressed man, bloody and mangled, lying on the ground.

The man was evidently drunk and the coachman, who was driving at a reasonable pace, tried to shout at the man to watch out; however, the unheeding man fell directly under the horses’ hooves. Either the man was drunk or the act was deliberate, the crowd agrees. The coachman is upset because someone important is waiting for him to bring the carriage, and he wants the badly injured man to be taken away quickly.

No one knows who he is until Raskolnikov gets closer and sees the man’s face. It is Marmeladov, who lives close by. Raskolnikov is violently agitated and offers to pay if someone will take the man immediately home. The house is only thirty yards away and some people decide to help Raskolnikov carry Marmeladov. Inside, Katerina Ivanovna is coughing and pacing, as she always does in her free moments, as she prepares to lecture her children once more about their duties. The children are literally in rags as they listen to their mother talk about the life they used to have and cursing what their lives have become. It is a familiar rant but the children listen attentively. Suddenly Katerina Ivanovna notices the crowd in the hallway outside and Marmeladov’s family is terrified as they see the unconscious man being dragged to their couch. Raskolnikov tries to calm the family and announces that the man will come to and he will pay for a doctor.

Katerina Ivanovna does not panic and sends her oldest daughter, Polenka, to get Marmeladov’s daughter, Sonia. The room is now full of people and even the one remaining policeman is unable to herd them out; finally Katerina Ivanovna rages at the crowd to stop gawking and let the man die in peace. It is an impressive display of outrage, interspersed with coughing, and her reproach is effective as the crowd begins to recede. The imposing German landlady arrives to restore order and demands that the man be taken to the hospital. Katerina Ivanovna adopts a haughty demeanor with the landlady, reminding her that she was once a princess, but nonetheless begs the woman to let Marmeladov die in peace.

As the two women argue between Katerina Ivanovna's coughs, Marmeladov suddenly regains consciousness and groans. He requests a priest and his wife and family are visibly upset as the doctor arrives. After a brief look at the man’s injuries, the doctor says there is no hope and Marmeladov only has minutes to live. The priest arrives and takes the doctor’s place next to the dying man. The entire family now kneels in prayer and the crowd outside the door...

(The entire section is 783 words.)