Summary and Analysis Part 4: Chapter 6



This chapter is told "afterwards. . .Raskolnikov recalled it this way." There was an unexpected amount of noise and the unexpected arrival of several subordinates. Porfiry is very annoyed that his plans have been interrupted, but a prisoner (Nikolay, the house painter at the scene of the crime) was brought in, and he confessed to the murder of Alyona and Lizaveta. This confession is an overwhelming surprise to both Porfiry and Raskolnikov, neither of whom expected it. Porfiry is so vexed that he is not logical and he refuses to believe it, but recovering quickly, he dismisses Raskolnikov and reminds him that they will see each other again.

Raskolnikov leaves and goes home where the strange man who had once so mysteriously appeared and called him a murderer comes and explains that he was hidden in the closet in Porfiry's office. He apologizes for calling Raskolnikov a murderer and for the trouble he has caused him. With the confession by Nikolay and the apology of the stranger, Raskolnikov resolves to make a new struggle for life.


This six-page chapter is the shortest one in the novel. It recalls Raskolnikov's view of the incident in Porfiry's office where the house painter, Nikolay, confesses to the murder. Ironically, as Porfiry is later to know, Nikolay belongs to an unusual religious sect that emphasizes the importance of suffering for the sins of others, and his desire to suffer is the exact thing that has already been recommended for Raskolnikov.

After the porter comes to apologize for falsely accusing Raskolnikov, he decides to "make a fight for it" — a new determination to live and surpass the stupidity of his crime.