Crime and Punishment | Study Guide

Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Crime and Punishment | Part 5, Chapters 1–3 | Summary

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Summary

Part 5, Chapter 1

Luzhin is staying with Lebeziatnikov, the Marmeladovs's socialist neighbor. Luzhin obsesses over his broken engagement and is angry about the money he lost on it. He wants revenge against Raskolnikov. Lebeziatnikov takes pride in spouting his socialist views.

Luzhin mentions Sonia's bad reputation. As a socialist Lebeziatnikov claims to respect Sonia's role as a prostitute because she is protesting the rules of society. But Luzhin accuses him of having Sonia kicked out of the boardinghouse. Lebeziatnikov is defensive but basically admits it. Later he criticizes Luzhin's opinion of Sonia because Luzhin "refuses to take a humane view of a fellow creature." Luzhin counts his money and laughs at Lebeziatnikov's political opinions.

Luzhin gets Lebeziatnikov to introduce him to Sonia, saying he wants to start a collection for her family. Luzhin gives Sonia a 10-ruble bill. Lebeziatnikov says he saw everything, calling Luzhin's act "honorable" and "humane."

Part 5, Chapter 2

Raskolnikov attends the funeral dinner organized by Katerina Ivanovna, which is not as successful or dignified as she had hoped. Katerina Ivanovna mistakenly believes Luzhin can help her get a government pension, but he does not even attend the dinner. Her neighbors avoid the event because of Sonia's reputation, and those who have come are a motley bunch with poor manners. Katerina Ivanovna introduces Raskolnikov as an "educated visitor" who will "in two years ... take a professorship in the university." She makes delusional plans to start a high-class school for girls. She mocks her guests and antagonizes her landlady but, weeping, defends and praises Sonia.

Part 5, Chapter 3

Luzhin arrives at the funeral dinner to enact his plan. He accuses Sonia of stealing 100 rubles from his table when they met. Sonia meekly protests her innocence. Katerina Ivanovna, in a frenzy, turns out Sonia's pockets to prove her innocence, but a 100-ruble note falls out. Among calls to send Sonia to Siberia, Lebeziatnikov arrives, announcing he saw Luzhin secretly slip the money into Sonia's pocket during their meeting.

Raskolnikov reveals Luzhin's motive to the crowd: he is trying to embarrass him by making it look as if Raskolnikov has given money to a prostitute and to turn Dounia against him so Dounia will take Luzhin back. The crowd turns against Luzhin, and he leaves the house, pleading slander to the end. Overwhelmed, Sonia also leaves. All the excitement is too much for the landlady, and she evicts Katerina Ivanovna on the spot. Katerina Ivanovna rushes off to find help, telling her children to wait in the street. Raskolnikov heads to Sonia's.

Analysis

Lebeziatnikov represents Dostoevsky's satirical look at socialism, one of the new social movements at that time. Lebeziatnikov is not terribly smart, parroting the views of his group without critical thought and often contradicting himself. Nonetheless, his views lead him to reject Luzhin's and society's condemnation of Sonia, and it is Lebeziatnikov's honesty that acquits her of the theft.

Luzhin's behavior reveals how social snobbery is a form of cruelty, itself a kind of crime against humanity. In fact, the way Luzhin sets up an innocent victim to take a fall is a crime in every sense of the word. Another man who takes advantage of women, Luzhin clearly believes that, because Sonia is a prostitute, he can manipulate her as he sees fit and others will go along with him (which they initially do). Devoid of empathy, he attempts to humiliate her at her father's funeral dinner. All he succeeds in doing is revealing his lust for power and complete lack of integrity.

However, as is often the case in the novel, characters who seem to be complete opposites resemble each other in unexpected ways. While Luzhin and Raskolnikov are clearly at odds in this situation, Luzhin's lust for power echoes Raskolnikov's earlier declaration of "above all, power!" Both men are often arrogant about their superior skill in manipulating others. But in the end Raskolnikov is capable of true compassion. Luzhin is not, and this is the last readers will see of him.

The description of the chaotic funeral dinner in Part 5, Chapter 2, is darkly comic. Most of the dinner guests have not gone to the funeral; some are complete strangers. They are only there for the free food and drink and may make off with the silverware. In their rush to eat and drink, they show no respect for the dead man or his family. Easily swayed, they make fun of Sonia's reputation and condemn her based on trumped-up evidence. Like Lebeziatnikov, however, in the end they angrily condemn Luzhin for his treatment of her.

Katerina Ivanovna has always been volatile, but now she begins to fall apart both physically and mentally. She coughs almost nonstop and makes impossible plans based on fantasies of a future she will never see. Being kicked out by the landlady is the final straw that pushes her over the edge. Like Raskolnikov, she is disintegrating under the pressures of her life, but for very different reasons. Together she and Sonia represent a dark picture of what could happen to Pulcheria and Dounia should Raskolnikov disappear from their lives.

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