Crime and Punishment By Fyodor Dostoevsky Summary and Analysis Part 3: Chapter 6

Summary

Raskolnikov and Razumihkin leave Porfiry's to meet with Dunya and Pulcheria; they discuss the implications of the conversation about the murder, and Raskolnikov is certain that he is suspected. Razumihkin is infuriated that suspicion is cast upon Rodya, and he plans to reprimand his distant relative, Porfiry.

Just as they reach the rooming house where his mother and sister are staying, Rodya parts from Razumihkin promising to return shortly. The parting is again difficult. Rodya flees to his room to search for any scraps of evidence, but he can find nothing.

As he is leaving his room, the porter points out a man who was inquiring after him. When approached, the mysterious stranger calls him "Murderer!" and leaves. Even though Rodya follows him, nothing is resolved. This episode leaves him visibly agitated and confused, and rather than going to his mother's, he returns to his room and sleeps.

Alone, he begins to examine the basis of his theory. He still believes in the nobility of the theory, but he worries about whether he might not have destroyed some of its nobility by practicing it on a disgusting object like the old pawnbroker. Napoleon was a real ruler "to whom everything is permitted," but he cannot believe Napoleon, who conquered "the pyramids" and "destroyed Toulon," would ever "crawl under a vile old woman's bed." He then realizes that he "killed not a human being but a principle." Furthermore, he feels that he may also be a louse, and he again thinks of confession.

He falls asleep and dreams that he is again striking the old pawnbroker, but this time she refuses to die. When he awakens from this dreadful dream, he notices Svidrigailov standing in his doorway.

Analysis

Again, Rodya feels crushed by Razumihkin's attentions and needs to get back to his secret world of which Razumihkin cannot be a part, and thus there is another difficult parting.

The appearance of the mysterious man who calls him a murderer is disturbing and extremely upsetting to Raskolnikov. In reality, he is the man who was present when Raskolnikov returned to the scene of the crime. He is later present when Raskolnikov returns to Porfiry's office, and he is the "hidden" fact that Porfiry keeps referring to.

After being forced to defend his theory to Porfiry and being called a murderer by the mysterious stranger, Raskolnikov is prompted by his own confusion to attempt to re-examine his theory. This re-examination reveals that he still believes strongly in the basis of his theory, but he does see that he was not good enough to execute the theory. He feels little remorse for the actual murder or death of Alyona, but instead resents the old pawnbroker as being so low that her very vileness spoils his theory. His reasoning is that if his theory is noble, it should have been tested on a noble object.

These thoughts then prompt the tenth thought of confession — this time motivated by his alternating love for his mother, yet his inability to be near her. He fears that his theory — that crime isolates a person — is working on him.

At the end of the chapter, he wonders why he always thinks of Alyona and not of Lizaveta whom he also murdered. The reason is that Alyona's murder stands for the validity of his theory. It was deliberately conceived, premeditated, and executed as a part of the theory. Therefore, his intellectual being is at stake with the murder of Alyona. But Lizaveta's murder was done out of desperation and fear and does not fit into the premeditated theory. Thus, Lizaveta's murder is no threat to his philosophical existence.

After these thoughts and hatred of the old pawnbroker, it is appropriate that he dreams of murdering the old pawnbroker again, and again, but this time he fails. It is appropriate that as he completes his dream about the murder and that at the end of this awful nightmare, the symbol of evil, Svidrigailov, appears.

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