Crime and Punishment Summary

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One July day in St. Petersburg, a poor young man slips out of his apartment and goes out. He is Rodion Romanych Raskolnikov, a former student, and he is preoccupied with something. He arrives at the apartment of Alyona Ivanovna, a pawnbroker, where he is attempting a trial of the unknown deed obsessing him.

He has pawned something to this woman a month before, and now pawns an old watch for much less than he had hoped to get. As the woman gets her money, he watches and listens very carefully, storing up details in his memory. He leaves after vaguely mentioning that he may come back soon with another pledge.

Tormented, he wanders down the street, mentally at war with himself. He happens upon a tavern, where he stops to eat and drink something, and feels better after doing so. There, he meets Semyon Zakharovich Marmeladov, a retired official and a drunkard. Marmeladov pours out his life story to Raskolnikov, telling about his consumptive wife Katerina Ivanovna, his three small children, and his oldest daughter Sofya (Sonya), who has had to prostitute herself to earn money for the family. Marmeladov himself had recently acquired a position, but almost immediately lost it through his alcoholism. He has been away from home for five days, having stolen his salary money and spent it all on drink.

Marmeladov asks Raskolnikov to take him home. Rodion does so, and witnesses how Katerina Ivanovna falls on her husband and drags him about by his hair. She kicks Raskolnikov out, assuming him to be a drinking partner of her husband's. As he leaves, he places a handful of change on their windowsill unnoticed. Outside, he regrets this action, but knows he cannot go back to get the money.

The next day, he awakens feeling unrested. Nastasya, the landlady's servant, comes in with some tea for him, as well as leftovers from the previous day's meal (since he is behind on his rent, the landlady has stopped sending his dinner up to him). She also tells him that he has received a letter. Agitated, he sends her to get it, and orders her out of the room so he can read it.

The letter is from his mother, Pulcheria Alexandrovna, and mostly concerns his sister Avdotya Romanovna, or Dunya. Dunya had been working as a governess in the house of the Svidrigailov family, but the husband's unfortunate attraction to her led the wife to kick Dunya out on the assumption that the girl had ini...

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...ainder of the day wandering about and settling his affairs, and shoots himself the next morning.

Later that day, Rodya goes to see his mother for the last time before turning himself in. He then hurries home, where he finds Dunya waiting for him. He takes leave of her and goes to Sonya. She gives him a cross. He rushes out rudely, not even saying goodbye to her, impatient to get it over with, even though he can't understand why he should go, because he still does not see his act as a crime.

He goes to the station, with Sonya following him. He finds out that Svidrigailov is dead, and, stunned, leaves without confessing; but Sonya is waiting for him, and he goes back upstairs and confesses.

Rodya is exiled to Siberia, where Sonya follows him. Dunya marries Razumikhin. Pulcheria Alexandrovna dies. Sonya writes to the Razumikhins about Rodya. He is unsociable and hated by his fellow prisoners. He falls ill. At the end of his illness, Sonya herself is ill, and he misses her. When she recovers, she goes to him, and he at last repents truly, falling at her feet and weeping. Having finally recognized his sin, he is resurrected‹able to love Sonya and look forward to his life with her.
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