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FREE Barron's Booknotes-Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky-Free
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CHAPTER 4

Svidrigailov tries to explain the stances of his love for Dunya, and as he does it he ironically compares it with Raskolnikov's relationship with Sonia. It was Dunya's pity for him, and her desire to "save" him from his sins that made him love her, he says. That, of course, is similar to Raskolnikov's situation with Sonia. But the basis of Svidrigailov's love is sexual passion, an element that does not play a part in Raskolnikov's feelings.

Dunya was frightened-even repelled-by his passion, Svidrigailov says. But he was consumed with desire for her. Finally, he offered to buy her love: he would give her everything he had if she would run away with him.


The conversation convinces Raskolnikov that Svidrigailov still desires Dunya, but the mysterious man has a shocking announcement to make: he's found a new bride, and he's getting married. His bride is 16 years old, and he's quite taken with the response she has shown to his attentions. Raskolnikov is repelled by the sensuality that excites Svidrigailov. And Svidrigailov, for his part, seems to take great delight in telling stories that he knows will get Raskolnikov riled. When they part, Raskolnikov's suspicions that Svidrigailov is still in pursuit of Dunya remain strong.

NOTE:

Perhaps the key to the chapter is Svidrigailov's disclaimer: "I am only a sinful man!" Raskolnikov, on the other hand, is a criminal, and yet he does not consider himself sinful. Has he any right to judge the behavior of anybody else?

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FREE Barron's Booknotes-Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky-Free
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