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The tension explodes in the murder of the pawnbroker. Raskolnikov hits her on top of her head three times with the blunt end of an axe. She dies instantly.
Does Raskolnikov react as he theorized he would? Do his will and reason, which he needs to get away with his crime, hold up? Why does he shake so much that he can barely remove the keys from the pawnbroker's body? He is terrified that he is losing his mind.
At first taking care not to get bloody, but finally smearing his hand in the blood, he snatches the dead woman's purse from its hiding place around her neck. Then he uses her keys to unlock her trunk. But he has only begun to stuff his pockets with gold "pledges" when a faint sound from the other room startles him.
Momentarily, he crouches, unable to breathe, and then he bursts into the murder room, axe clutched in his hand. Lizaveta, the pawnbroker's sister, has returned. Stunned, she stares in horror and backs away, one hand feebly trying to ward off the blow she knows will come. Everything has gone wrong.
Using one swift blow with the blade of the axe, Raskolnikov splits open the head of the horrified woman. Terror washes over him. The unpremeditated murder affects him as the execution of the old woman had not. Reason deserts him. Deliberately, slowly, he washes his hands and the axe and examines everything for stains. Minutes tick by, but he makes no effort to flee until suddenly the urgency to get away strikes him like a bolt.
Again the tension builds. The front door is open. Someone might have seen! He slams it closed and bolts it, locking himself in with his victims. Then momentary calm returns, and he once again prepares to leave-only to be confronted with footsteps mounting the stairs. Instinctively, he knows they are coming to the pawnbroker's.
Locking the door quietly, strangely calm, Raskolnikov waits inside while first one man and then two ring the bell and rattle the door handle. How can the inevitable be avoided? His capture is surely just a matter of minutes away.
But the ironic luck which has been with him all along rescues him again. The confused men leave in search of the porter to find out what is going on. Raskolnikov slips away, hiding briefly in an empty apartment and finally returning to his own room, carefully replacing the axe where he found it.
Two women are dead. Their killer has gotten away, apparently unnoticed, leaving no clues behind. He has proved his theory: if you keep your will and your reason, you can get away with murder. Or has he? He flings himself onto the sofa in his room and falls into a stupor.