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Chapter 20 Notes from Crime and Punishment

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Crime and Punishment Chapter 20

Out in the street, Razumihin and Raskonikov discuss the meeting with Porfiry. For the first time, they speak openly of the suspicions against Raskolnikov. Razumihin is furious at Porfiry and Zametov for their blatant remarks. Razumihin wonders why Porfiry would ask the question about the painters. Who would give themselves in? asks Razumihin. Raskolnikov answers that only peasants deny everything, but that cunning men try to answer truthfully about the details as to gain credibility. It was Porfiry's plan to catch him with a simple trap, suggests Raskolnikov. He is surprised at himself for being so open in discussing such details. When they approach the women's lodging, Raskolnikov tells Razumihin to go tell his mother that he has something to attend to, and that he'll be back soon. Razumihin tries to go with him, but Raskolnikov rebuffs him.

Raskolnikov, in a nervous sweat, goes to his room and checks the hole in the wall for any evidence of the stolen goods. Embarrassed by his paranoia, he steps out. A porter points him out to a man, who quickly walks away. Raskolnikov follows for a while and finally confronts him. The man calls him a murderer. Raskolnikov is shocked; he stops following the man. He heads back to his room and falls asleep. In his thoughts, Raskolnikov wonders who that mysterious man can be. Does that man know? He feels himself becoming physically weak. Knowing that it would come to this, he begins to regret having shed blood. A Napoleon he is not. He argues with himself over the reasons why he committed the murder. Was it to fulfill his fleshly desires? Only to justify it with a principle? He considers himself lower than the "louse" he killed. He then thinks of Lizaveta and Sonia, two gentle souls. He loses consciousness.

The mysterious man who had called him a murderer beckons him to follow him. He follows him to the old pawnbrokers flat. Behind a cloak, he sees the old woman bent over. He grabs an axe and strikes her, but the old woman just laughs. The more he whacks at her, the more she laughs. People gather around to see this spectacle. Raskolnikov awakes from the dream. He notices in the doorway a stranger. The stranger comes in and takes a seat beside him. Raskolnikov closes his eyes, wondering if it is still a dream. When he opens his eyes, the man is still there. Raskolnikov finally musters up the nerve to ask the man what he wants. The man introduces himself as Arkady Ivanovitch Svidrigailov.

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