Crime and Punishment By Fyodor Dostoevsky Summary and Analysis Part 2: Chapter 6

Summary

Alone, Raskolnikov immediately dresses in his new clothes, takes all the money that is left over from the purchase of his new clothes, and escapes from his room. He walks towards the Hay Market, where he encounters a 15 year old to whom he gives five kopecks. He is furthermore drawn toward a saloon in search of human fellowship. He then remembers the horror of being confined to living on a square yard of space all his life: "only to live, to live no matter how — only to live." He then resolves to live life whatever it may be.

He leaves the saloon and enters a clean restaurant where he asks for the newspapers of the last five days, beginning with the day of the murder and followed by the days of his illness. While he is reading the papers, he meets Zametov, the minor official in the police department and a friend to Razumihkin.

As the two begin a conversation, Raskolnikov begins to taunt Zametov telling him about his activities and motivations. He tells him that he came to the restaurant solely for the purpose of reading about the murder of the old pawnbroker. In fact, he confesses his extreme concern about the entire episode. When Zametov explains how the police are all wrong in the manner they are conducting the case, Raskolnikov begins to resent the implication that the crime was obviously performed by an amateur. As a result of this resentment, he offers what he thinks would be a perfect way of committing the crime and how one should go about hiding the money and the jewels. Raskolnikov's explanations and suggestion that he might be the one who murdered the old pawnbroker and her half sister disturbs Zametov who dismisses it as an aftermath to Raskolnikov's illness.

Outside, he runs into Razumihkin and he tells him of his annoyance at being followed. "I don't want your kindness. . .I may be ungrateful, perhaps I am mean and base, only leave me alone, all of you, for God's sake leave me alone!! Leave me alone!" Razumihkin is so shocked at this outburst that he allows Raskolnikov to go his own way and immediately realizes that the outburst is part of Raskolnikov's illness.

After Raskolnikov has escaped, he goes to a bridge where he is a witness to a woman's attempt to drown herself. He realizes that he was going to attempt the same thing and then becomes disgusted with himself for even thinking about it. He then returns to the scene of the crime. He is amazed to find the entire apartment being repainted. It no longer looks the same as when he was last in it. He then goes to the doorbell and begins to ring it, listening and remembering the "hideous and agonizingly fearful sensation he has felt when he was trapped after the crime." When the painters demand to know what he is doing there, he tells them to come with him to the police station and he will tell everything. At the end of the chapter, he is fully resolved to go to the police himself and confess everything.

Analysis

As noted earlier, by dressing in his new clothes and accepting the money from his mother, Raskolnikov is ready to move in the direction of redemption. On his walk, his first act is to give five kopecks to a 15-year-old street singer, an act of human compassion. In another incident, he gave a wench begging for 6 kopecks a total of 15 kopecks. Feeling his own compassion, his thoughts turn to living even if he is "confined to a square yard of space it is better than immediate death" — a thought that becomes a motif which he rejects or accepts according to his desire to live.

When he enters a cafe to have tea, he asks for the newspapers of the last five or six days. Throughout Europe, cafes always have newspapers and often the latest magazines for their customers to read, and Raskolnikov takes advantage of this custom to request the papers of the last five or six days when he was anti-social and then ill. Here in the cafe, he meets Zametov and thinks of confession for the sixth time. This time, however it is a type of real confession: "Now I will declare to you. . .no, better, I'll confess," but the way the confession is made makes Zametov see it only as a result of Raskolnikov's delirium and sickness. His explanation follows exactly the same steps that he had taken himself in committing the crime. At the end of the explanation, Raskolnikov asks "And what if it was I who murdered the old woman and Lizaveta?"

The confession, however, is not as readily dismissed by Zametov as Raskolnikov believes, and later it is used as part of Zametov's suspicion against Raskolnikov.

Raskolnikov is offended when Zametov suggests that the murderer was inexperienced and rather inept. And to prove to himself that Zametov is wrong, Raskolnikov presents the exact description of how he hid the stolen property. Even though Raskolnikov is horrified at his own murder, he is still resentful that others would find fault with it.

When he meets Razumihkin again, he becomes adamant that he should be left alone, we have the manifestations of the Ubermensch who feels that he must act alone in order to establish his superiority.

When Raskolnikov goes to the bridge with the apparent intent to commit suicide, he first observes the unknown woman's attempt to drown herself and he reminds himself again of existing on "the square yard of space" and again there is the seventh thought of confession, which is motivated this time by the nearness of the suicide.

Raskolnikov's return to the scene of the crime supports the theory that crime is partly a disease since it is a neurotic desire that draws him back to the murder scene. When questioned by the painters, he offers to take them to the police station and confess all to them — the eighth time that he contemplates confession. Then standing at the crossroads, for the ninth time, he contemplates confession. This time he resolves to go in order to end the torment of doubt as to whether he is an Ubermensch.

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