Dmitri is desperate for money. Even if he could persuade Grushenka to marry him, he would still be bound to repay the 3,000 rubles he owes Katerina first. But he is unable to obtain from his father the money he believes to be rightfully his, and he has no real income. In a last-ditch effort to raise the funds he needs, he visits Samsonov and attempts to strike a deal with him. He says that if the old merchant will give him the money, Dmitri will give him the rights to some land that he might be able to win from his father in court. Samsonov has no interest in this shabby deal, and cruelly attempts to dupe Dmitri. He suggests that the young man visit a different merchant to sell his land—a merchant who, unbeknownst to Dmitri, is even now planning to buy this same property from Fyodor Pavlovich.
Dmitri travels to the merchant’s town, pawning his watch to pay for the transportation, but finds the man drunk. When the man has not sobered up the next day, Dmitri returns to town, desperate and uncertain of how to proceed.
Dmitri asks Madame Khokhlakov to lend him the money, but she refuses and suggests that he should go to work in the gold mines instead. He runs into Grushenka’s servant and finds out that she is not at home. The servant refuses to tell him where she has gone.
Enraged, Dmitri takes a brass pestle—a small club-shaped tool used for grinding powder—to use as a weapon and hurries to Fyodor Pavlovich’s house, certain that Grushenka has gone to be with his father. But when he spies through the window, he sees that Fyodor Pavlovich is alone, and when he taps out Grushenka’s secret signal, Fyodor Pavlovich rushes to the window. Dmitri concludes that Grushenka is not with his father.
Grigory happens by at this moment and sees Dmitri sneaking around in the garden. He accosts him, and the men scuffle. Dmitri hits Grigory with the pestle, and Grigory falls to the ground, blood pooling beneath him. Dmitri, in a panic, tries to tend the wound, staining his clothes in the process. But then he throws the pestle into the darkness and flees the scene.
Dmitri storms back to Grushenka’s house and forces the servants to tell him where Grushenka has gone. When he hears that she has joined her former lover, he is devastated. He realizes that she will never be his. Thinking that his life is meaningless without Grushenka, he decides to visit her one last time and then kill himself.