Summary and Analysis Part 2: Chapter 4



Dr. Zossimov appears to check up on his patient's progress. Razumihkin is eager to know if Raskolnikov can attend a function he is having that night for his old uncle from the provinces. Also Zametov, the chief clerk, will be there along with Porfiry Petrovitch, the examining magistrate and "a graduate of the College of Jurisprudence."

As Zossimov and Razumihkin talk of the arrest of two painters for the murder of Alyona and Lizaveta Ivanovna, unlike his usual lethargic self, Raskolnikov is intensely interested in this discussion. Razumihkin is very firm in his stand that the painters could not have committed the crime and makes an elaborate defense of their innocence. Zossimov notices that the discussion excites Raskolnikov and thinks that this interest in the crime suggests that he is regaining an interest in life.


This chapter introduces the character of Porfiry Petrovitch, who will become Raskolnikov's adversary and actually his friend even though Raskolnikov will not admit the latter.

The essence of the chapter is Razumihkin and Zossimov's discussion of the murder and the arrest of the house painters for the murder. The entire discussion excites Raskolnikov so much that Zossimov thinks that he is almost recovered from his illness. Razumihkin's strong defense of the painters becomes ironic when later, in Part Four, Nikolai, one of the painters, confesses to the crime (albeit a false confession).

The long and difficult explanation of the crime — a discussion that involves many new names and theories of guilt that later prove false — must be viewed as some sort of filler for the newspaper in which the novel was being serialized.