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Free Study Guide-Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky-Free Booknotes
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PART VI, CHAPTER 3

Summary

Raskolnikov meets Svidrigailov in a seedy tavern. Raskolnikov threatens to kill Svidrigailov if he tries to misbehave with Dounia. Svidrigailov asserts that he is in town to enjoy a round of vice with women. Raskolnikov is convinced that Svidrigailov is a mean and worthless villain and gets up to leave. Svidrigailov asks him to stay a little longer. Before he leaves, Raskolnikov tells Svidrigailov to stop pursuing Dounia.

Notes

This chapter and the next prepare the reader for Svidrigailov's fateful meeting with Dounia. Svidrigailov admits to indulging in sensual pleasures. As he is unable to satisfy his love for Dounia, he loses himself in sordid affairs with prostitutes. Raskolnikov recoils when he sees the moral squalor in which Svidrigailov lives, but Svidrigailov, who is drunk, wishes to talk about his relationship with Raskolnikov's sister, Dounia.


PART VI, CHAPTER 4

Summary

Svidrigailov tells Raskolnikov about his life with Marfa Petrovna and his desire for Dounia. Svidrigailov observes that Dounia is "terribly chaste, to a degree out of the ordinary." He has offered Dounia all his money to get her to elope with him. Raskolnikov realizes that Svidrigailov is still a threat to his sister.

Svidrigailov tells how he has become engaged to a fifteen year-old girl by giving the girl's parents some money. Raskolnikov is disgusted on hearing this ugly fact. The difference in age between Svidrigailov and his fiancée arouses Svidrigailov's lust. Svidrigailov admits that he is a sinful man. Raskolnikov calls Svidrigailov a "vile, disgusting, salacious creature." Svidrigailov takes leave of Raskolnikov, but Raskolnikov follows him onto the street.

Notes

Svidrigailov, in his drunken condition, reveals to Raskolnikov his feelings for Dounia. Raskolnikov is disgusted by Svidrigailov's love of the sensual and by his persistent desire for Dounia. Svidrigailov amuses himself with thoughts of a fifteen year-old girl to whom he is betrothed. Raskolnikov cannot trust Svidrigailov because Svidrigailov has knowledge of Raskolnikov's crime. Therefore, Raskolnikov follows Svidrigailov when he walks out of the restaurant. In this scene, Raskolnikov realizes the depths of Svidrigailov's depravity.

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