The Epilogue opens in Siberia, where Raskolnikov has been sent to a prison camp one and a half years after the crime. In an official statement after his confession, Raskolnikov gave exact details of the crime, and told the authorities the rock under which the stolen articles might be found. Authorities are confused as to why Raskolnikov made no efforts actually to steal the goods. This and Dr. Zossimov’s testimony caused them to find that Raskolnikov was “temporarily insane” during the crime.
Interestingly enough, the authorities view Raskolnikov’s lack of desire actually to steal the old woman’s items as an indication that he was not in his right mind during the commission of the crime. This causes the judge to reduce Raskolnikov’s sentence to eight years in a Siberian prison camp—not too long, certainly by contemporary standards.
Raskolnikov’s confession of guilt causes him to receive a lighter sentence. It is also revealed that, as a student, he looked after an old man and carried two children out of a burning apartment. These stories also granted Raskolnikov some leniency during sentencing, since they attested to his goodness of character.
These other instances of Raskolnikov’s goodness were not brought up during the course of the narrative, much as Raskolnikov’s article, written when he was a student, was only revealed significantly later, in conversation with Porfiry.
Pulcheria became ill at the start of the proceedings. Pulcheria seems at first to think that her son was taken away because he had “powerful enemies,” perhaps connected to a political intrigue. But slowly Pulcheria stops talking about Raskolnikov at all . . . only to say, in later days, that he is a good boy with a bright future ahead of him.
Pulcheria, like Razumikhin, insists throughout the novel that Raskolnikov is a noble, courageous young man who has become embroiled in bad circumstances. But Pulcheria at the end seems to realize this is not the case, and decides no longer to speak about her son at all. This is a marked chance from her earlier adulation of Raskolnikov, her first-born.
Raskolnikov and Sonya left for Siberia together, and Razumikhin married Dunya; Razumikhin hopes to raise enough money to join his friend in Siberia after several years. Pulcheria approves of their marriage and continues raving about Raskolnikov as she is dying, saying that he would come to her nine months after their last meeting. But upon Pulcheria’s death she reveals, indirectly, to Razumikhin and Dunya that she really knows what has become of Raskolnikov, that he is in exile for his terrible crime.
The marriage between Razumikhin and Dunya, long championed by Raskolnikov, finally takes place, and Pulcheria seems to understand that her daughter’s future is secure in Razumikhin’s hands. Interestingly, Pulcheria is revealed to have known far more about her son’s guilt than she let on; Pulcheria simply did not want to admit publically that her son was not so moral and promising as she had believed him to be. She, unlike Raskolnikov, never faced Raskolnikov's crimes.
Raskolnikov only learns of his mother’s death much later. Sonya has maintained a correspondence with Petersburg, and in her letters she details Raskolnikov’s captivity in facts alone, without attesting to anything beyond them—she tells of Raskolnikov’s living conditions, what he does for work, his appearance. Sonya visits Raskolnikov every so often—she has settled in the town near the camp and has taken on some work as a seamstress—but in her latest letter to Siberia Sonya indicates that Raskolnikov has taken ill and is in the camp’s sick-ward.
Sonya serves as Raskolnikov’s link to the outside world. Her letters are his only means of (indirect) communication with Petersburg. This endears Sonya to Razumikhin and to Dunya—both had their suspicions about Sonya’s motives earlier, before Raskolnikov’s confessions. Sonya has indeed assumed the role of Raskolnikov’s chief protector, and in the second part of the Epilogue, their loving relationship is made explicit.