Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

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Crime and Punishment Part 2, Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Raskolnikov awakes slowly, realizing it is two in the morning, and then he remember what he has done. He races around his closet, checking for evidence from the crime. He finds blood on the cuff of his trouser and cuts it off. Then he takes all the material he stole from the old woman and places it in a hutch in the corner, behind a flap of wallpaper. He thinks better of this hiding place but has no other option, then scours the apartment again for evidence, finding blood in a trouser pocket and on his sock.
Raskolnikov’s first hiding place. Although this hutch appears, at first, to be a good locations for the stolen items, Raskolnikov will become increasingly paranoid in the coming days, as he fears that authorities will look first to the hutch to find whatever the murderer might have taken from the old woman.
Themes
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Madness and Intoxication Theme Icon
Money and Poverty Theme Icon
He removes these blood-soaked bits of cloth but, finding no place to put them, falls asleep once again. He is awoken by Nastasya’s knock. She and the caretaker enter. The caretaker tells him he has been summoned to the police station. Nastasya notices the rags in his hands and think they are simply something he sleeps with, for comfort. The two leave and Raskolnikov prepares to go to the station, wondering why he has been summoned, and willing, out of “cynicism of perdition,” to leave his apartment as it is.
Another coincidence, this time a decidedly frightening one. Raskolnikov’s paranoia begins the morning after the crime: he has never had any dealings with the police, and he wonders what this summons might mean. But he decides to visit the police in order to make it seem, as far as possible, that he has nothing to hide.
Themes
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Coincidence and Free Will Theme Icon
Money and Poverty Theme Icon
Raskolnikov wonders whether he will be able to withstand any form of questioning at the station. He walks in, half-believing he will kneel down and confess all at the first chance. A clerk directs him to a lieutenant’s office, where he finds two women in conversation with a young official, aged 22. The room is dank, hot, and uncomfortable.
Heat is often described in the novel as “oppressive,” and it serves as a physical indication of the pressure and discomfort Raskolnikov feels throughout the remainder of the novel, as he worries the authorities are closing in on him, and perhaps as guilt subconsciously works on him.
Themes
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Madness and Intoxication Theme Icon
Money and Poverty Theme Icon
Raskolnikov looks at the young official, the assistant to the police chief, who asks him his business. The clerk announces that Raskolnikov is the former student who owes back-rent. When the official complains that Raskolnikov is late, Raskolnikov answers that he was only given word of the summons recently. The official tells Raskolnikov to stop shouting, and Raskolnikov answers that it is the official who is shouting, not he.
On the one hand, this news is a relief: Raskolnikov is not being questioned about the murder, but rather is being taken to task for his unpaid rent. Raskolnikov’s decision to contest this summons with the lieutenant also makes it seem he has nothing to hide, for a guilty man might hesitate to dispute anything with the police.
Themes
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The clerk explains that the piece of paper is a request for payment on a promissory note, signed by Raskolnikov nine months ago, which his landlady has redeemed, forcing Raskolnikov to pay. Raskolnikov dimly recognizes what the paper means and, as if “mechanically,” understands that this police visit has nothing to do with the murder. Meanwhile Ilya Petrovich, the young official, has begun yelling at one of the seated ladies, magnificently dressed, at whose house some “debauchery” transpired the previous night.
Another instance of “mechanical” activity. Raskolnikov understands that he signed a promissory note—a note indicating his promise to repay the back-rent—and recognizes that he must ask for an extension on the repayment. But his worries have begun to grow, and he continues to find the atmosphere of the room oppressive, filled as it is with shouting people.
Themes
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Madness and Intoxication Theme Icon
Money and Poverty Theme Icon
Ilya Petrovich yells at the woman and warns her that, if any other “scandal” takes place at her house, any other drunken argument, she will be in significant trouble. Nikodim Fomich, the chief of police, at that moment enters and is informed by Ilya (called “Lieutenant Gunpowder” by Nikodim) of Raskolnikov’s situation. The chief is understanding and Raskolnikov explains his current poverty. He adds, further, that he had promised to marry his landlord’s daughter, who died, and he had an agreement with his landlord that she would never turn in Raskolnikov’s promissory note to the police, thus forcing him to pay.
A classic “good cop, bad cop” scenario. The lieutenant takes any opportunity to yell at Raskolnikov, whom he barely knows, whereas the chief, here and in the future, appears more understanding. Raskolnikov explains for the first time that he was once engaged to his landlord’s daughter, and that this engagement was terminated on the daughter’s death. The engagement seemed to grant Raskolnikov an extension on his rent, since he was to become “family.”
Themes
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Family Theme Icon
All listen to Raskolnikov’s speech, although the lieutenant ends by saying that Raskolnikov had no need to share such private details. The clerk dictates a letter to Raskolnikov, which Raskolnikov dutifully copies—an acknowledgment of his circumstances and promise, eventually, to repay—and the clerk files this letter as an official response to the note. Raskolnikov, meanwhile, has the feeling that he can no longer interact with the room full of people—that something has happened to him that has changed his relationships to other human beings.
Raskolnikov feels that by committing the murder he has compromised his ability to relate to other humans. Of course, from the start of the novel he has been hesitant to speak with others. But after the crime something profound has changed: he feels he cannot understand why people behave as they do. He has become a total outsider, observing society without being able to participate in it.
Themes
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Raskolnikov signs the paper and feels weak. He overhears the chief and the lieutenant discussing the fate of two men, Koch and the young man, who are being questioned about the murder of the old woman and Lizaveta. Nikodim relates that the murderer must have escaped Koch and the young man when both were downstairs seeking the caretaker. Ilya finds the case confusing, and the clerk wonders how anyone could have escaped that house without arousing suspicion.
The police chief, the lieutenant, and the clerk are confounded by the details of the case, which overnight has become a sensation in Petersburg—everyone seems to be talking about it. Razumikhin, however, soon figures out the mechanics of the crime—the manner in which the criminal hid in the painted apartment—although he does not know that Raskolnikov is the murderer.
Themes
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Coincidence and Free Will Theme Icon
Raskolnikov, overhearing this, faints while attempting to leave. He is roused by the men and asked by the chief if he is ill. Raskolnikov replies that he is, and has been since yesterday. The lieutenant questions him on the exact time of his illness, and the police then let him go, although Raskolnikov senses a “special” tone in the lieutenant’s voice. He returns home feeling that the police suspect him, and that he must prepare for a search of his person and property.
An important incident. Raskolnikov claims to faint because of the heat and odor of the room, but his swoon during discussion of the murder appears suspicious from the start, and is the first of many details that point to his guilt, and suggest that he may not be the sort of "superman" he describes in his article that can create his own morality.
Themes
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Madness and Intoxication Theme Icon
Coincidence and Free Will Theme Icon