Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

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Crime and Punishment Part 6, Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Raskolnikov states his certainty that Svidrigailov still has designs on Dunya, which he plans to block. Svidrigailov counters that he could call the police and inform them of Raskolnikov’s confession. Svidrigailov says that he has he given Sonya money to take Katerina’s three children to an upper-class orphanage. Svidrigailov goes to his apartment to get money for a night on the town; he gets in a carriage and Raskolnikov no longer follows him.
Raskolnikov is convinced that Svidrigailov will not rest until he has used every measure to try to elope with Dunya. Svidrigailov responds with blackmail: if Raskolnikov stands in the way of Svidrigailov’s designs, Svidrigailov will go to the authorities and Raskolnikov will be put in jail.
Themes
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Raskolnikov walks passed Dunya in the night, not recognizing her; Dunya has come to meet with Svidrigailov, who has only used his carriage as a decoy to get rid of Raskolnikov. Svidrigailov convinces Dunya to follow him back to his apartment, where he wishes Sonya to corroborate his story about Raskolnikov. Sonya is still not home, but Svidrigailov invites Dunya to his apartment and tells her that he eavesdropped on Raskolnikov from behind the adjoining wall. Dunya questions what Svidrigailov has first said in his letter: that Raskolnikov has committed a terrible crime.
Dunya is at first wary of entering Svidrigailov’s apartment without anyone else home, but Svidrigailov is nothing if not convincing, and he manages to get Dunya inside and to lock the door. He proceeds to insinuate that he knows a terrible truth about Raskolnikov, one that will shake Dunya’s faith in her brother. It is on this point that Dunya becomes nervous: despite everything, she still loves Raskolnikov deeply.
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Svidrigailov insists, however, that he knows the truth, and that he heard Raskolnikov spill out his soul to Sonya over the course of two nights. Dunya has a hard time believing the terrible truth about her brother. She admits, however, that Razumikhin has showed the article Raskolnikov wrote about crime, and she has had her suspicions about her brother’s sanity. Svidrigailov makes an offer: he will not inform the authorities of Raskolnikov’s guilt if Dunya agrees to run away with him to America. Dunya says no and attempts to escape the locked apartment.
Svidrigailov tells Dunya that Raskolnikov has murdered the two women. She has had her suspicions, it is here revealed, but despite all this Dunya will not be compromised—her purity remains intact. Svidrigailov becomes enraged at this, hoping to entangle Dunya in his own immorality. It is this incorruptible side of Dunya that both attracts Svidrigailov to her and greatly aggravates him.
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Svidrigailov says that no one is around to witness their conversation and that, if necessary, he would “use force” against Dunya. Dunya is appalled. She takes out a revolver, which was originally Marfa’s. She shoots once and grazes Svidrigailov’s head, wounding him only slightly. Then the gun misfires and Svidrigailov helps her to fix it. He offers her a third chance to kill him, but she throws the gun down and stands back. Dunya promises, nevertheless, that she will not go away with Svidrigailov, and that she cannot be convinced of it, even to save her brother.
Svidrigailov clearly wishes to either corrupt Dunya or die by her hand. But Dunya's purity is unassailable, and she refuses to allow her principles to be swayed. Svidrigailov has been able to use money and charm to always get what he wants. He has never failed to corrupt someone, but here, with Dunya, he does.
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When Svidrigailov hears this he gives Dunya the key to let herself out of the apartment. He places his hand against his head and feels the small trickle of blood left by the grazing wound. He places the gun in his pocket and goes outside.
Svidrigailov will spend the remainder of the novel coming to terms with Dunya’s rejection. In his failure to corrupt her, his will seems to give out.
Themes
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Madness and Intoxication Theme Icon
Coincidence and Free Will Theme Icon