A new and unknown man walks in, asking for Raskolnikov, who Razumikhin indicates, brusquely, is the man lying on the sofa. The new man is taken aback by this rudeness but recovers and introduces himself as Pyotr Petrovich Luzhin. Raskolnikov appears not to remember Luzhin’s name, despite having read his mother’s recent letter, and Luzhin is confused and embarrassed. Razumikhin asks him to step inside and sit down.
The drama of Luzhin and Dunya has fallen into the background during the crime. On his arrival, however, Luzhin once again comes to occupy Raskolnikov’s thoughts, and to stir up his ire. It is characteristic of Luzhin, a proud man, that he would expect a warm reception and would be offended by Raskolnikov’s apparent lack of respect for Luzhin’s position.
Razumikhin informs Luzhin of Raskolnikov’s illness. Luzhin worries that conversation might further upset the sick man, but Zossimov says it might actually be good for him. Just as Luzhin begins to speak, Raskolnikov cuts him off, saying he knows he is “the fiancé.” Luzhin tells Raskolnikov that he has rented two rooms (in an apartment Razumikhin claims is filthy and dilapidated), and that he is furnishing his marital apartment and staying, in the meantime, in Frau Lippewechsel’s with his friend Lebezyatnikov.
Although Raskolnikov seemed not to know who Luzhin was, he is in fact aware that Luzhin wishes to marry his sister. Razumikhin attempts to protect Raskolnikov from Luzhin, whom he distrusts from the start. In another coincidence, Luzhin is staying at Amalia’s house, where Katerina and the children live, and his roommate is Lebezyatnikov, who had a previous disagreement with Katerina.
Luzhin says he learns much from Lebezyatnikov, because the latter is a man of “new ideas,” meaning a liberal. Luzhin admits that, though he is older, he finds the new ideas exciting, including those espousing self-interest—the betterment of one’s own condition first—as a means of improving society on the whole. Razumikhin, however, cuts him off and implies that Luzhin merely wishes to demonstrate his intellect. Luzhin is offended and begins to leave.
A first fight between Razumikhin and Luzhin. Razumikhin will later vie with Luzhin for Dunya’s affections, although at this point Razumikhin has not yet met Raskolnikov’s sister. Luzhin is quick to take offense, and wishes to remove himself from a situation in which he feels he is not respected.
Continuing their previous conversation, Zossimov says to Razumikhin that the old lady’s killer must have been one of her clients. Raskolnikov is upset to learn that Porfiry, the investigator, is interviewing the old lady’s clients. Razumikhin also explains that the details of the murder, and the way only some goods were stolen, indicates that it was the criminal’s first attempt at such a crime, and that he “lost his head” while committing it.
Razumikhin again understands a good deal about the crime and the criminal, although he is unable to connect Raskolnikov to the crime. He understands that the killer became flustered and did not know what to do with the loot he had taken.
Luzhin, Razumikhin, and Zossimov discuss the murder and other recent crimes in Moscow, among the upper, educated classes. Suddenly Raskolnikov interjects that the pawnbroker’s murder is “in line” with Luzhin’s theory, that self-interest can be used to improve the world. Luzhin is taken aback at this. Raskolnikov asks Luzhin to verify that he indeed said a woman married in dire financial straits makes a better, more grateful wife.
The comment Luzhin once made to Pulcheria and Dunya here returns. Raskolnikov argues that Luzhin wishes to dominate the woman he marries, that Luzhin’s view of society, which is based on self-interested individuals pursuing their own goals, allows Luzhin simply to take what he wants in life without concern for the feelings of others.
Luzhin argues that his words were misrepresented in Pulcheria’s letter, but Raskolnikov does not permit Luzhin to finish speaking and instead demands that he not use his mother’s name again. Raskolnikov avers that he is not sick after all, and he tells everyone, Luzhin foremost, to leave. Luzhin is greatly insulted, and Razumikhin and Zossimov, heading out, discuss how upset Raskolnikov appears to get on mention of the pawnbroker’s murder. Raskolnikov turns to the wall to sleep.
Raskolnikov again toys with the notion of his sickness: here he claims that he is not sick, that he understands the situation perfectly, that he finds Luzhin to be a reprehensible individual, and that he will not let Luzhin marry his sister. Raskolnikov and Zossimov here realize, for the first time, that Raskolnikov’s agitation appears to be linked to mention of the murders.