Crime and Punishment Part 4, Chapter 2 Summary
by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 4, Chapter 2 Summary

At eight o’clock, Raskolnikov and Razumihin hurry to the boarding house so they will arrive before Luzhin. Raskolnikov explains who Svidrigailov is and says they must protect Dounia from him; then he asks Razumihin if he is sure he saw Svidrigailov, for something in him still wonders if it was all part of his delirious dreaming. Perhaps he is mad and everything that has happened to him in the past few days has all been some kind of hallucination. Razumihin assures him that the man was real and asks what Svidrigailov wanted, but Raskolnikov remains silent.

Razumihin tells Raskolnikov that after dinner with the two women he went to see Petrovitch, and Zametov was still with him. Though he tried to explain Raskolnikov’s innocence to them, they could not and would not understand him. Even when he took Petrovitch aside to talk, the man refused to do anything but just look at him. Razumihin realizes he must just let events unfold, and when Raskolnikov is proven to be innocent of the old pawnbroker’s murder, he and Raskolnikov will enjoy a hearty laugh at their expense. Until that moment, Raskolnikov never once thought about what Razumihin would think when he discovers the truth. They meet Luzhin in the hallway, and all three walk together silently into the apartment. Dounia greets her guests graciously, but Luzhin still has not composed himself after seeing the other two men.

Luzhin considers walking deliberately away as he had promised when he sees the other two men in order to punish the women; however, he does not like uncertainty and he must learn what is behind this willful disobedience. Better to learn the cause now and punish them, as was his right, later. The conversation is stilted, for Luzhin is one of those men who observes punctilious politeness until he is crossed; then he becomes more like a “sack of flour” than an elegant gentleman. Finally Pulcheria Alexandrovna says Marfa Petrovna is dead, giving Luzhin the opportunity to vilify Svidrigailov for her murder, among many other crimes, including driving two people to suicide by his ill treatment of them.

Dounia does not believe any of it and defends her former employer, despite his previous nefarious designs on her. Luzhin is convinced that Marfa Petrovna did not leave her husband any significant money; if she had, he would even now be spending it on his former disreputable pursuits. Dounia asks Luzhin to stop talking about it when suddenly Raskolnikov announces that Svidrigailov came to see him today. Everyone is shocked.

He tells them Marfa Petrovitch left Dounia three thousand roubles and Svidrigailov wants to meet with Dounia, but will not say more until he can speak to her privately. Luzhin is offended and starts to leave, but Dounia reminds him he is the one who wanted this meeting. She knows how important this meeting is, for she must judge both men’s character and choose one over the other. Either her brother does love her as he says he does or Luzhin is right and he...

(The entire section is 789 words.)