Outside, Raskolnikov walks and talks to himself. He decides he will not permit Luzhin to marry Dunya under any circumstances. He also dismisses his mother’s justifications for the speed of the courtship and for Luzhin’s behavior, believing that Pulcheria has misrepresented the family’s happiness and Dunya’s willingness to go through with the marriage. Raskolnikov believes, in fact, that Pulcheria has “sacrificed Dunya’s happiness” in order to secure the family financially and provide for Raskolnikov, her first-born. Raskolnikov thinks that, if Luzhin were present, he might attempt to kill him.
Raskolnikov becomes angry for a number of reasons. First, he does not believe it is fair that his mother prioritizes his own fate over Dunya’s—although Raskolnikov also does take his mother’s money and seems unwilling to make any on his own. Nevertheless it is an affront to Raskolnikov, on principle, that Dunya would marry a man she does not love in order to better Raskolnikov’s future.
Raskolnikov goes to on to denounce Luzhin for his penny-pinching behavior, since Pulcheria and Dunya will have to pay for much of their travel (Luzhin will cover the cost of luggage which is often free.) Raskolnikov believes that, although Pulcheria has insisted she will not live with the couple after their marriage, Luzhin will be too noble to allow Pulcheria to live separately. Raskolnikov places less faith in Luzhin’s generosity and curses his mother’s naiveté in the face of Luzhin’s cheapness and self-interest.
Luzhin appears to want to make money for his own purposes, but he does not appear poised to share that wealth with Dunya and Pulcheria. Thus Raskolnikov worries that, even if Dunya marries for money, she might not receive what she desperately desires, making the whole proposition useless as well as unpleasant.
Raskolnikov turns his thoughts to Dunya, whose character he believes to be pure and noble. Dunya would never marry a man only for money, he avers; she is marrying Luzhin in order to secure Raskolnikov’s future. He believes that, if Dunya were to marry for his sake, she would be “no better” than the prostitute Sonya. Raskolnikov becomes more and more upset and declares, finally, that he will not accept Dunya’s sacrifice, and he will keep the marriage from going forward.
Here Raskolnikov links Sonya’s prostitution, intended to help support her family, and Dunya’s willingness to marry Luzhin in order to help Raskolnikov and Pulcheria. One form of prostitution is socially acceptable; one is very clearly not. This represents a larger argument in the novel—that some forms of immorality are accepted by society and others banned. Raskolnikov continues to mull over these distinctions throughout the novel.
Raskolnikov weighs his options. He could repay Dunya and Pulcheria once he has established himself in a solid professional position, but that could take ten years, and Pulcheria might well be old and sick by then. His other option is to “accept fate” and “renounce any right to act, to live, to love!” His plan of yesterday regarding the pawnbroker “hits him in the head,” seeming realer and more necessary than ever, and he nearly passes out at the thought of it. To recover, he finds a nearby bench.
Raskolnikov needed some additional reason to rob the pawnbroker—certainly he felt that he needed money, but if his robbing her means Dunya will not have to marry Luzhin, then Raskolnikov is not simply helping himself. Raskolnikov provides many justifications for his murder, but this one seems the most justifiable (though, of course, not justifiable enough).
On his way to the bench Raskolnikov notices a young woman, no older than sixteen, swaying too and fro in casual clothes. She is profoundly drunk at one o’clock in the afternoon. Raskolnikov wishes to help the girl and notices a thirty-year-old man, well-dressed, following the girl “with certain intentions.” Raskolnikov insults the man and gets into a fight with him, only to be pulled away by a policeman, to whom he explains the girl’s predicament and the man’s predatory nature (the man has meanwhile moved away, pretending innocently to smoke a cigarette.)
Raskolnikov’s concern for the safety of women becomes a recurring motif in the novel. Here the girl has become very drunk: it is not apparent why. But very soon thereafter a man arrives and wishes to take the girl home. Raskolnikov demonstrates a willingness to help women in need, which seems at odds with his ability, later, to kill an old woman and her harmless, terrified sister.
Raskolnikov gives the police officer twenty kopecks, the last of his money, and tells him to arrange transportation for the girl. The policeman agrees to protect her and follows her as she stumbles and refuses help. The dandy continues on the other side of the street, also following the girl. Suddenly Raskolnikov becomes disgusted and yells to the policeman to leave off—they should all just have fun, he says, and it’s no one else’s business. The policeman, confused by Raskolnikov’s outburst, continues after the girl. Raskolnikov realizes the policeman kept his money and wonders if Dunya will suffer a fate similar to the girl’s.
Another recurring scene in the novel: Raskolnikov’s ability to change his mind very quickly regarding his moral decisions. Later, when talking to Luzhin and Dunya, he declares with a flourish that he does not care what Dunya does. Of course, Raskolnikov is affected by the actions of those around him, but part of his philosophy, as espoused later in the magazine article on crime, dictates that extraordinary individuals need only set their own moral code and follow it. Raskolnikov claims not to need other people, but his anxieties derive from a concern for others—as Porfiry later explains.
Raskolnikov remembers that, after reading the letter, he intended to head to the home of his friend Razumikhin, a cheerful and socially-adept student who was Raskolnikov’s only companion at the university. Razumikhin also lives in crushing poverty but appears more capable than Raskolnikov of bearing his difficult circumstances—he does so while remaining mostly happy. Razumikhin has also been forced to withdraw temporarily from school, for lack of tuition. He and Raskolnikov have not seen each other recently. Raskolnikov has been avoiding him.
Razumikhin is a foil to Raskolnikov. Both are indigent students; both give lessons for money. But Raskolnikov claims not to like society, and he barely drinks. Razumikhin, on the other hand, is a bit of a womanizer, a thrower of parties, and a prodigious drinker. Razumikhin has outbursts of anger, like Raskolnikov, but he is by many accounts one of the novel’s more psychologically stable and generous characters.