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Crime and Punishment | Study Guide

Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 3, Chapters 1–2

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Part 3, Chapters 1–2 of Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel Crime and Punishment.

Crime and Punishment | Part 3, Chapters 1–2 | Summary



Part 3, Chapter 1

Dounia's and Pulcheria's concern "tortures" Raskolnikov. He goes back and forth, telling them to stay, then insisting they go. Raskolnikov forbids Dounia to marry Luzhin; obviously, she is only doing it for his sake. He gives her an ultimatum: Luzhin or him. Razumihin convinces the women to leave to keep Raskolnikov calm. He promises to bring the doctor to check on him. He also makes a fool of himself over Dounia, for whom he feels an immediate attraction. Despite his somewhat drunken rambling, the women see that they can trust him. He brings Zossimov, a doctor, who suspects that the causes of Raskolnikov's illness are as much mental as physical. Both men stay overnight to watch over Raskolnikov.

Part 3, Chapter 2

The next morning Razumihin and Zossimov discuss Raskolnikov. They think the police's suspicion of him sparked his unusual interest in the murders. Razumihin goes to update Dounia and Pulcheria. The women share a letter from Luzhin, in which he threatens to leave if Raskolnikov is there when he visits the women that evening. He also claims, inaccurately, that Raskolnikov gave all his mother's money to Sonia, a girl of "notorious behavior." Dounia wants Raskolnikov to be there for Luzhin's visit, but Pulcheria worries about the consequences. All three go to check on Raskolnikov.


Raskolnikov arrogantly demands that Dounia choose between him and Luzhin. That she might be marrying to also benefit herself and their mother doesn't occur to him. Dounia resembles her brother in many ways, but she differs from him, too, and often is the more stable sibling. Where he looks down on others, she tries to balance other's needs with her own; where he is obsessed with his own point of view, she tries to see more than one side.

Two characters offer unexpected and accurate insights about Raskolnikov. Zossimov believes that, in addition to poverty and anxiety, "moral influences" and "certain ideas" play a role in his illness. In Chapter 2 Razumihin shines a light on Raskolnikov's divided nature, noting that "it's as though he were alternating between two characters."

Luzhin's letter in Chapter 2 reveals he is not just vain and shallow but also arrogant and manipulative. He blackmails Dounia to choose him over her brother. He takes no responsibility for the consequences, writing, "You have only yourself to blame." Although Dounia does not know it, Luzhin is lying about Raskolnikov giving the money to Sonia. Of course, while not as shallow as Luzhin, Raskolnikov has his own problems with vanity, arrogance, and manipulation.

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