Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

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Crime and Punishment Part 1, Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Raskolnikov becomes flustered and, hearing the door open, pulls it outward, and the old woman along with it. He scares her and she does not initially recognize him. He introduces himself again and says he has brought along the new pledge he promised. He presents the “cigarette case,” which she accepts and moves inside to unwrap. Raskolnikov recognizes his chance has come.
Raskolnikov, despite his preparations, becomes nervous as the door swings open, and he uses force to enter the apartment. The “fog” that can cloud the judgment of those committing crimes appears to descend on him as well.
Themes
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He hits her, almost “mechanically,” with the blunt end of the axe, and she cries only slightly. He hits her again and again until she is dead. He feels “in possession of his reason,” and reaches carefully into her pocket to remove her keys, which he uses to try to open the chest of drawers in the woman’s bedroom. But the keys frustrate him, and he returns to the woman’s body, from which he removes a purse tied around her neck. He stuffs the purse into his pocket without looking at it.
The crime itself. Raskolnikov hits the old woman repeatedly and brutally with the blunt end of the axe—she is dead within seconds. From there, the crime becomes less and less “reasoned,” less planned—he grows confused. Even the nature of the blows themselves—struck with the blunt end of the axe—indicate that Raskolnikov has proceeded with haste.
Themes
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Madness and Intoxication Theme Icon
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After fumbling more with the drawers, he looks under the woman’s bed and finds a trunk. In the trunk are old clothes, and Raskolnikov begins wiping his hands on the red silk, because red will hide the color of blood. Valuables fall out of the clothes and Raskolnikov stuffs them indiscriminately into his pockets. He hears the sound of footsteps in the other room and stops, terrified.
It turns out the chest of drawers cannot be opened. Luckily for Raskolnikov there are some items hidden in clothing in the trunk under the old woman’s bed—but he does not take the time to examine these objects. Instead he stuffs them into his coat. He is not really in this for the money.
Themes
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Madness and Intoxication Theme Icon
Money and Poverty Theme Icon
Lizaveta has arrived and seen her slain sister. Raskolnikov enters and Lizaveta feebly places her left hand in the air, as if to ward him off. Without hesitation Raskolnikov hits Lizaveta in the head with the blunt end of the axe and splits her skull, killing her. He finds a bucket of water and washes all the blood from the axe, slipping it back into his coat. He inspects his clothes for blood and realizes he must escape.
The second murder. Lizaveta has been presented, from the start, as an innocent, shy, and good-natured character—she is terrified of her sister, whom she obeys completely, and her business dealings are considered more than fair. Raskolnikov will have a difficult time justifying his murder of Lizaveta, who is merely an innocent bystander.
Themes
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He looks up and realizes, to his horror, that the door was wide open the whole time. He then hears footsteps mounting the stairs. He manages to shut and lock the door in time, he on the inside, two men on the outside. One large man, named Koch, rings the bell several times and yells rudely for the old woman and Lizaveta. A young man also arrives, having hoped to pawn something with the woman. They discuss what to do, wondering if the woman has gone out, and the young man realizes the door’s hook is rattling, meaning it is locked from inside and someone is home.
Now Raskolnikov is on the other side of the door, and two men wish to do business with the old woman. Because it is rare for the woman to leave her apartment, they suspect that something might be wrong, and when they see that the door is locked from the inside, they wonder who might be hiding in the apartment, if the not the old woman herself.
Themes
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Madness and Intoxication Theme Icon
Coincidence and Free Will Theme Icon
The young man, who is studying to be a public investigator, tells Koch to stay upstairs, since he suspects foul play, while he runs to get the caretaker. Raskolnikov stands behind the door holding his axe, but Koch becomes impatient with the young man and follows him. Raskolnikov takes this opportunity to open the door and slip outside.
More good luck for Raskolnikov. If Koch had stayed by the door, as the young man asked him to do, Raskolnikov would not have been able to leave, and would likely have been caught red-handed.
Themes
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As he is going downstairs, the two painters on the second floor coincidentally get into an argument and run out, leaving the apartment they are painting empty. Raskolnikov ducks inside and hides behind a wall while Koch and the young man mount the stairs to the old woman’s apartment. He then exits the building, debating what to do and how to elude the two men, who at that moment are discovering the corpses. He returns, nearly unconsciously, to his house, places the axe back in the caretaker’s empty room, and lies down in his closet, with only “bits and scraps of various thoughts” in his head.
The final stroke of luck. The painters’ argument surprises Raskolnikov—its timing coincides exactly with the murders—and he ducks into their apartment to avoid Koch and the young man mounting the stairs. If the two painters had argued two minutes earlier or later, Raskolnikov would have had no place to hide while descending the stairs, and Koch and the young man would have caught him.
Themes
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Madness and Intoxication Theme Icon
Coincidence and Free Will Theme Icon