Summary: Chapter I

Luzhin is in his room with Lebezyatnikov, a younger man who is his roommate. Luzhin now realizes that his engagement with Dunya is irrecoverably broken. He nurses a deep hatred for Raskolnikov, and shivers to think of the money that he lost on deposits for their newlywed home and furnishings. He fantasizes that if he had given his fiancée and her mother more presents, they would not have broken the engagement. Meanwhile, he and Lebezyatnikov have been invited to the memorial dinner that Katerina Ivanovna, who lives in the same building, is holding for Marmeladov. Lebezyatnikov is a pompous fool, though Luzhin initially thought of him as a thoughtful young man who could help him navigate the new political waves of liberalism, radicalism, and nihilism washing over Russia. Luzhin invites Sonya to his room and gives the embarrassed girl a ten-ruble note.

Summary: Chapter II

The narrator considers Katerina Ivanovna’s reasons for spending more than half of the money given to them by Raskolnikov on the memorial banquet and concludes that it is probably because of her pride. Only Raskolnikov and the lowliest of the tenants, who behave rudely, attend the affair. Katerina, who claims repeatedly to be of a “noble, if not aristocratic,” family, hurls insults at her low-class guests. Meanwhile, she appears increasingly unwell, coughing up blood during the meal. She ends up fighting with her landlady while her guests egg her on. In the middle of the fight, Luzhin appears in the doorway and Katerina rushes to him.

Summary: Chapter III

Luzhin insultingly brushes Katerina aside as she implores his protection from the landlady. Turning to Sonya, he accuses her of stealing a one-hundred-ruble note. Sonya denies the theft. Katerina becomes incensed at the insult to her stepdaughter and starts raving against Luzhin and the landlady. To prove Sonya’s innocence, she defiantly turns the girl’s pockets out and is shocked when a one-hundred-ruble note falls out. Luzhin magnanimously agrees not to press charges. To Luzhin’s horror, however, Lebezyatnikov appears and declares that he saw Luzhin place the note in Sonya’s pocket earlier. Raskolnikov then explains that Luzhin was probably trying to embarrass him about his association with Sonya. Luzhin, faced with the complete ruin of his plan, tries to extricate himself by maintaining his innocence and insulting Lebezyatnikov and Raskolnikov. After Luzhin leaves, the fight between Katerina and the landlady continues. In the end, the Marmeladovs are evicted.

Summary: Chapter IV

Raskolnikov visits Sonya in her room. He tells her that her family has been turned out of their building but urges her not to go to help them. He confesses the murders to her. Sonya responds with immense pity and promises to support Raskolnikov and not abandon him. She is astonished when he tells her that his poverty was not the motive. Rather, he says, “I was ambitious to become another Napoleon; that was why I committed a murder.” He also confesses that he feels detached from other people and believed, and perhaps still believes, in his superiority over most other people. Sonya tells him that he has been punished for turning away from God. He reiterates that self-absorption fueled his actions, that he wished to prove that he was somehow extraordinary and able to transgress the moral codes that bind ordinary people. Sonya tells him that he must confess his sins publicly for God to give him peace. At first he resists, but he soon consents. Sonya promises to come to see him in prison and support him. She gives him a pendant cross to wear, similar to the one that she wears, saying that they will both bear their crosses. Just then, Lebezyatnikov knocks at the door.

Analysis: Chapters I–IV

Luzhin’s profoundly materialistic and self-serving nature is brought to the fore in this section. Obsessed with money and material objects, he blames Dunya’s rejection of him on entirely material motives, thinking that once she had the inheritance from Marfa Petrovna, she and her mother no longer needed him. His plan to frame Sonya solidifies his status as one of the novel’s villains. His ploy is clumsy and mean-spirited, and, although he tries to maintain his pride, it is clear that he will never regain Dunya’s favor. After this scene, Luzhin disappears from the narrative, never to return again, since he has played his last cards and been beaten. Dunya is now completely free to turn her attention to Razumikhin, the man whose rightness for her has been clear from the start.

Lebezyatnikov functions as a humorous and sarcastic caricature of the pompous but stupid intellectual, a proverbial emperor with no clothes. Even as he rushes to Sonya’s defense, Lebezyatnikov feels the need to make little speeches about the ethics of private charity. In depicting Lebezyatnikov as obsessed with intellectual fads and unrealistic utopias, Dostoevsky criticizes the actual intellectual currents that were sweeping Russia in the 1860s, such as nihilism, and emphasizes how much more profound, albeit equally misguided, Raskolnikov’s theories are.