Luzhin awakes to find he is still upset about his interaction with Dunya and Pulcheria. He returns to his apartment and learns that he, along with Lebezyatnikov, Raskolnikov, and Amalia the landlord, have been invited to Marmeladov’s funeral banquet. Luzhin has a certain fascination for his roommate Lebezyatnikov, who is a representative of the “younger generations” and of the “new,” liberal ideas. But Luzhin finds Lebezyatnikov to be small-minded and inarticulately passionate about his beliefs.
Lebezyatnikov is only capable of parroting the beliefs he has read about in newspapers and heard spoken in parties and at meetings. Luzhin senses this, and ridicules Lebezyatnikov. But it is Lebezyatnikov who, despite his own personal hypocrisies regarding women’s rights, states that Sonya is innocent of theft when accused by Luzhin. Luzhin, on the other hand, is all too willing to slander a woman’s reputation for his own personal gain.
Lebezyatnikov also finds that Luzhin is an obstinate and unlikeable man. They speak on the day of the funeral meal and Luzhin claims he will not attend; Lebezyatnikov says he will not either. Luzhin mentions that Lebezyatnikov once beat Katerina, but Lebezyatnikov hotly denies this and says that his behavior does not violate his beliefs in women’s equality.
Here Luzhin makes reference to Lebezyatnikov’s personal hypocrisies. It is probably true that he beat Katerina for arguing with him over Dunya, but Lebezyatnikov seems aware of Luzhin’s deep-seated desire to maintain a position of power over his fiancée. Thus Lebezyatnikov insinuates that Luzhin, too, is uncomfortable with women’s liberation.
Their conversation turns to Sonya: Luzhin asks whether, according to the “new ideas,” Sonya’s prostitution is wrong. Lebezyatnikov replies that it is indeed a representation of Sonya’s power and an affirmation of the new principles. Luzhin ridicules Lebezyatnikov for this answer, asking whether Sonya would be allowed “on the commune” of Lebezyatnikov’s proposed utopian society. Lebezyatnikov answers that he has been attempting to work with Sonya, to educate her, and Luzhin again makes light of this.
Lebezyatnikov’s beliefs go one step beyond those common among liberal sets in 1860s Russia. Lebezyatnikov is essentially a utopian communist, one who believes that life in capitalist society would be much improved if people were to live together, share child-rearing duties, and work for the betterment of all, in a society without wages or excessive inequality.
Luzhin continues to joke about the commune and about the proposed liberal sexual politics of such a place. Lebezyatnikov answers that Luzhin is only angry because he was rebuffed yesterday by Dunya and Pulcheria. Luzhin is angered but asks Lebezyatnikov whether he can’t call Sonya over to speak with them. Lebezyatnikov does so and Sonya enters. Luzhin gives his condolences to Sonya and says he has something to say to her.
Lebezyatnikov is aware that Dunya, with Pulcheria’s and Raskolnikov’s assent, has broken off her engagement with Luzhin. Lebezyatnikov uses this information in order to get back at his roommate for his teasing about Lebezyatnikov’s proposed communal society.
Luzhin expresses a desire to help Sonya and the family, since he recognizes that they now depend on Sonya for support. Luzhin says that he wishes to give Sonya some money, and not Katerina, because he feels Katerina has been profligate in her spending on the meal, and he doesn’t believe she will save for the children’s welfare. Luzhin gives Sonya ten roubles, and she leaves.
Here Luzhin sets up his entrapment of Sonya. He pretends that he only wishes to help Sonya’s family, and gives her ten roubles as a symbol of his sympathies. But he has also slipped her 100 roubles without her noticing.
Lebezyatnikov tells Luzhin that his behavior is noble, especially considering how upset Luzhin must be over the possible dissolution of his engagement. Lebezyatnikov returns to their previous conversation of utopian politics, saying he does not understand Luzhin’s insistence on legal marriage and children. Lebezyatnikov says that, in his proposed commune, marriage would be “natural” and children would be raised all together, as a society. Luzhin laughs but seems to be focused on something else; Lebezyatnikov notices this even as he continues speaking.
Lebezyatnikov’s ideas on marriage are the most radical in the novel. Lebezyatnikov believes that, in the new world order, men and women will be joined together of their own free will, and marriages will condone a certain amount of infidelity. This is considered enlightened behavior, and Lebezyatnikov will support such practices on his supposed commune. Luzhin finds these ideas ludicrous, but is preoccupied with his ploy against Sonya.