Crime and Punishment Part 6, Chapter 3 Summary
by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 6, Chapter 3 Summary

Svidrigailov has some hidden power over Raskolnikov and he must find out what it is. His worst fear is that Svidrigailov has spoken with Petrovitch, though he is almost certain that has not happened. Strangely, Raskolnikov has only a vague anxiety about his immediate future, though his mind is weary with “moral fatigue.” He wonders whether any of this is worth doing, but he goes to see Svidrigailov nevertheless, questioning whether it was mere chance that connected him to Sonia. Thinking of Sonia makes him wistful, but he knows he must go either her way or his own, and he has already chosen.

Something sinister about Svidrigailov has been haunting Raskolnikov. The man has discovered his secret and may still have “designs on Dounia.” Now Raskolnikov wonders whether Svidrigailov has gained power over him so he can use it against Dounia as a weapon. This thought torments his dreams, and now that he is on his way to see the man, it enrages him; if this is true, it will transform everything. Raskolnikov might have to confess everything to Dounia, and perhaps even to Razumihin to secure his help in protecting Dounia. Raskolnikov is exhausted with thinking about such things, and he knows only the end: if Svidrigailov is trying to hurt Dounia, Raskolnikov will kill him.

Suddenly Raskolnikov looks around and wonders how he got here, in a place just past the Hay Market. He sees a building in which the entire second story is a tavern. He is shocked to see Svidrigailov sitting at one window, smoking a pipe and silently scrutinizing him, obviously intending to slip away unobserved. Raskolnikov immediately averts his eyes, pretending not to have seen the man but watching him stealthily nonetheless. Like the last time they met, Svidrigailov has a sly smile on his face, and now each man is aware that the other is watching him.

Finally Svidrigailov laughs loudly and tells Raskolnikov to come join him. Already Svidrigailov has made himself at home here; he has assumed a patriarchal attitude toward the tavern staff, though it is a filthy, second-rate saloon. Raskolnikov is not sure why he walked this way or how he managed to find Svidrigailov, but Svidrigailov explains that he had given Raskolnikov this address several times and said he could be found here; though Raskolnikov was ill, even delirious, he must have registered the address subconsciously and made his way here today.

Svidrigailov says he has been watching Raskolnikov for several days: he leaves his room and walks precisely twenty paces before talking to himself and waving his hands, sometimes stopping in...

(The entire section is 659 words.)