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Free Study Guide-Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky-Free Booknotes
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PART II, CHAPTER 6

Summary

Around eight in the night, Raskolnikov gets dressed and goes to Haymarket Square. He has 25 rubles with him. He stops at the huckster's shop where he had overheard the discussion between the huckster and Lizaveta on the evening before the day of the murder. He asks questions about the huckster, who is not in town, at a merchant's shop.

Raskolnikov wanders into a seedy part of town. He enters a tavern filled with prostitutes and drunks. There he gives 15 kopecks to a prostitute who asks him for money. He leaves and goes to a respectable restaurant called "The Crystal Palace." While he is reading the newspapers from the previous five days, Zametov, the police clerk, comes up to his table.

Raskolnikov feels the urge to "stick his neck out." He tells Zametov that he is reading the newspapers to find out more about the murders and cryptically asks Zametov: "Do you understand now?" He teases Zametov and challenges him to catch the murderer. He asks Zametov if he believes that he, Raskolnikov, could be the murderer. Raskolnikov says that if he were the murderer, he would have hidden the stolen loot under a heavy stone. Zametov asserts that the murderer must have acquired a great deal of money suddenly. Raskolnikov then flashes his 25 rubles to pay the bill. He walks out, leaving Zametov in deep thought. Raskolnikov himself feels a wild hysteria and pleasure that soon gives way to fatigue and a sense of irritation.

Raskolnikov bumps into Razumihin at the door of the restaurant. Razumihin is angry because Raskolnikov has left his sickbed and gone wandering by himself. Raskolnikov tells Razumihin that he does not want his help and wishes to be alone. Razumihin invites Raskolnikov to a house-warming party to be held later that night. Then Razumihin leaves Raskolnikov alone, at the latter's insistence.


Raskolnikov walks to a bridge and leans on its parapet. There, he witnesses a suicide attempt made by a tall woman, identified as Afrosinia. Afrosinia jumps into the canal, hoping to be drowned, but she is rescued and survives the attempt. Raskolnikov, who has been contemplating suicide drowning, is revolted by the scene. He sets off for the police station intending to confess his crime. Instead, he wanders to the scene of the murders. In the apartment where Alena Ivanovna used to reside, he finds workers redecorating the place. He pretends to be interested in renting the flat and asks the workmen about the bloodstains caused by the murders. The workmen treat him with suspicion. They call the caretaker, who asks Raskolnikov his name. Raskolnikov gives him his name and address. The caretaker demands to know why Raskolnikov asks about the murders. He shoves Raskolnikov out into the street. Raskolnikov decides to go to the police and confess, but he stops when he sees a crowd of people gathered around a carriage in the street.

Notes

The irony of the poor woman's failed attempt at suicide is not entirely lost on Raskolnikov. He knows that it is better to live life than to rush to one's death; he now concludes that it is better to live in poverty than to die.

Raskolnikov is obviously tormented by his memory of the crime. He wanders back to Haymarket Square. There, he had heard about Lizaveta's appointment with the huckster and had decided to kill Alena Ivanovna afterwards. Once more he displays his generous nature when he gives 15 kopecks to a prostitute. He had intended to get drunk in the seedy tavern, but he changes his mind and goes instead to 'The Crystal Palace.'

In this chapter, one clearly sees the beginning of the elaborate cat and mouse game that Raskolnikov plays with the police. He literally sticks out his neck and goes to great lengths to sow the seeds of suspicion in the mind of Zametov (who is a friend of Razumihin's). Poor Zametov is confused by Raskolnikov's cavalier attitude but comes to the opposite conclusion; that Raskolnikov is completely innocent. Raskolnikov is here the hunter as he oppresses the police clerk. In forthcoming chapters, Raskolnikov becomes the hunted when Porfiry Petrovitch needles him.

Dostoevsky shows deep insight into the criminal mind. He shows how Raskolnikov has a need to return to the scene of the crime. It reveals the criminal's desire to relive the moment of the crime. Raskolnikov's questions about the bloodstains arouse the workers' suspicions. In a show of bravado, he challenges the caretaker to go to the police station with him. Luckily for him, the caretaker only throws him out. Raskolnikov slips up by giving the caretaker his name. Porfiry Petrovitch later learns of Raskolnikov's visit to the scene of the crime and he begins to suspect Raskolnikov all the more. After that, Raskolnikov is haunted by the memory of the tinny doorbell and the bloodstains in the apartment, just as earlier he was haunted by the smell of fresh paint. On several occasions in this chapter, he toys with the idea of confessing his crime but fails to go through with it.

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