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

Summary

Razumihin, who leaves with Raskolnikov, promises to complain to Porfiry about the manner in which he has treated Raskolnikov. Raskolnikov rushes home alone and searches in the wall, where he expects to find the stolen pledges, but of course, nothing is there. As he leaves the building, Raskolnikov notices a stranger asking the caretaker questions about him. The stranger calls Raskolnikov a murderer and walks off.

Raskolnikov returns to his room, wondering who the stranger could be and what sort of evidence he could possess against Raskolnikov. Raskolnikov believes that he has killed not a human being, but a principle. He does not with to be part of the "common weal" of people.

Then he dreams a strange dream in which he imagines that he is in the process of killing the old lady again. However, this time the hatchet has no effect. The old lady survives and laughs at her assailant. Raskolnikov awakes with a start. He notices that there is a visitor in his room. The visitor introduces himself as Svidrigailov.

Notes

Although Razumihin is angry with Porfiry for having offended his friend, Razumihin is unsure about Raskolnikov's innocence.


Following the interview with Porfiry, Raskolnikov returns to his room in a state of nervous agitation. It is obvious that his mind is wandering. He searches for the stolen pledges in the hiding place in the wall, even though he himself had buried them under a stone in a courtyard. The stranger who appears and calls Raskolnikov a murderer was someone who saw Raskolnikov make a second visit to the pawnbroker's apartment. It is this stranger whom Porfiry calls a "hidden secret" in a later chapter. These events naturally shake Raskolnikov's confidence, and hence he has a nightmare later that night.

On returning to his room, Raskolnikov reconsiders his theory of the extraordinary man. He realizes that the old lady he has killed is merely a worthless, old "louse." He feels little or no remorse for killing her. In fact, he feels he has degraded himself and his theory by putting it into practice on such a vile creature as the old pawnbroker. He laments having had to kill Lizaveta as well.

Once again Dostoevsky makes use of a dream sequence to show that although Raskolnikov feels no remorse for the crime he has committed, his sub-conscious mind is still haunted by memories of the gory murder scene. Appropriately, the old woman mocks Raskolnikov and symbolically, his theories in the dream. As is the case with Part II, Part III ends with the arrival on the scene of an important character, Svidrigailov. He is Dounia's former employer, who had tried to seduce her.

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