Summary and Analysis Part 5: Chapter 3



Katerina Ivanovna is excited to see Luzhin, thinking he has suddenly become her savior, but she is struck dumb when he disclaims all knowledge of her father and he stands disdainfully apart from her and avoids her as much as possible.

Luzhin then announces the purpose of his visit; he has come to see Sonya. Shortly afterwards, Lebezyatnikov appears at the back of the room and remains quietly there. Luzhin explains loudly to Sonya how he had exchanged some securities for rubles, and that when she left the room after their interview, a one-hundred ruble note was missing. He carefully explains that he had just counted the money and one of the notes is now missing. He accuses Sonya of black ingratitude and demands that she return the money. Sonya denies the charge, and Katerina immediately comes to her defense. Luzhin threatens to send for the police, but tells Sonya that if she will return the note, he will forget everything. Katerina then becomes enraged and screams for someone to search her. As Katerina begins frantically to turn Sonya's pockets inside out, a hundred ruble note falls out of one of the pockets. Sonya still denies the theft, and the landlady orders them from the house.

Lebezyatnikov steps forward and accuses Luzhin of being a vile, evil person. He tells how he saw Luzhin slip the hundred-ruble note into Sonya's pocket while she was standing in his room, amazed at the fact that he had given her ten rubles. Luzhin denies the accusation, and Lebezyatnikov is at a loss to explain why Luzhin acted as he did.

At this moment, Raskolnikov steps forward and explains how Luzhin was rejected by his sister and he tried to alienate him from his family by implicating Sonya. At this time, Luzhin leaves as quickly as possible, but someone throws a glass at him. The glass misses Luzhin, but it hits the landlady who in turn orders Katrina out of the house. Sonya could endure no more and "she gave way to hysteria" and hurried home. Raskolnikov follows her wondering what she can say now about her predicament.


From the wild, frantic scene in Chapter 2, we move to a quieter but more intense chapter where we see Luzhin's attempt to frame Sonya. His elaborate preparations to prove her to be a thief indicate his desperation, his vileness, and his amoral stance. His attempt to disgrace her is only so as to cast aspersion upon Raskolnikov, thereby hoping to prove to Dunya that he was right in his judgment about Raskolnikov's relationship to Sonya. He is ultimately the most despicable person in the novel, and this scene proves that Raskolnikov was right in strongly opposing Dunya's marriage to him.

Sonya leaves before the horror of the scene is over. When she goes to her own room to escape Katerina's hysteria, Amalia Ivanovna's anger, and the general air of disillusionment, she intuitively knows that Raskolnikov will follow her. Note that Raskolnikov watches Sonya's behavior and concludes that "she was capable of bearing everything. . .with patience and serenity."