Crime and Punishment Chapter 2
Although Raskolnikov despises people, here at the tavern, he suddenly feels a need for company. He takes particular interest in the government clerk, who looks as though he wants to start up a conversation. The clerk, named Marmeladov, is of shabby appearance for one who speaks so eloquently. He begins to pour out his life story to Raskolnikov. Apparently, others in the tavern have heard it many time before. They taunt and jeer him at several points in the story.
Raskolnikov learns that Marmeladov used to work for the civil service, that as a widower himself, he married a widow with three children out of pity. After a year and a half, he was laid off due to changes in the office. Upon coming to St. Petersburg, he found another position, but lost it due to his drinking. His wife, Katerina Ivanovna, who was of good background and education, did the best she could with the situation, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the children day and night. But one day, she took her frustrations out on Marmeladov's only daughter from his previous marriage, Sofya Semyonovna, telling her that she was of no help to the family. Sofya (Sonia), being a dutiful and sacrificial person, went out that night and returned with thirty roubles, which she laid before her mother-in-law. Without a word, Sonia wrapped a green shawl over her head and went to bed, her body shaking. Katerina Ivanova understood how Sonia got the money. She comforted Sonia, kissed her feet, and they fell asleep in each other's arms as Marmeladov lay drunk. Because of the protests of their landlady, Amalia Ivanovna and other tenants of the building, Sonia was forced to take a yellow ticket and move out. That served as a wake up call for Marmeladov, who the very next day, begged his former employer to give him another chance, which was granted. With a salary, his fortunes at home began to change. They ate and dressed better. He was respected by his wife and children; his wife even called him a poppet. All was well until five days before, when Marmeladov's weakness overtook him and brought him to his current, pitiful state of affairs. He even went to Sonia to ask for more money to spend on drink. Marmeladov ends his story by asking everyone to feel pity for him.
"Why am I to be pitied, you say? Yes! There's nothing to pity me for! I ought to be crucified, crucified on a cross, not pitied! Crucify me, oh judge, crucify me but pity me?" Chapter 2, pg. 20
Marmeladov goes on to talk about the cross, of Christ's call to 'Come to Me' those who are meek, ashamed, and weak, the drunkards and sinners. He will forgive all because they never believed themselves to be worthy of such grace. And on that day, Marmeladov continues, all will fall before Christ and weep and all shall understand. "Lord, Thy kingdom come," (p.20) he concludes, exhausted from his speech.
Amidst the insults of the other patrons, Marvmeladov decides to return home and asks Raskolnikov to accompany him. They enter a small flat on the fourth floor. Raskolnikov is immediately able to recognize Katerina Ivanovna, Marmeladov's distraught wife. Upon seeing her husband, she seizes and beats him, demanding to know what he did with the money. Marmelodov takes the beating as a form of penance. Meanwhile, the children are frantically crying. At such a scene, the other tenants of the house, many of them shady characters, look in with interest. Raskolnikov leaves a few coppers on the window before leaving indiscriminately. Soon after, he regrets giving what was left of his money. He thinks about Sonia and her sacrifice and about Marmeladov, the scoundrel, who brought misfortune upon himself and his family. Raskolnikov then questions his view of man:
"What if man is not really a scoundrel, man in general, I mean, the whole race of mankind-then all the rest is prejudice, simply artificial terrors and there are no barriers and it's all as it should be." Chapter 2, pg. 24