Crime and Punishment Chapter 30
Raskolnikov feels an urgent need to tell Sonia who killed Lizaveta. When he sees her, he asks, if she were to choose, between Luzhin or Katerina Ivanovna dying. In essence, Raskolnikov is asking whether it is better for a wicked person like Luzhin to go on living at the expense of the Katerina Ivanovna's of the world. Sonia asks how she can answer such a question as if she were somehow the judge over life. She asks Raskolnikov to get to his point and stop torturing her. Thus, she begins to weep.
After five minutes of silence, Raskolnikov's tone changes. He admits he is asking for Sonia's forgiveness. Shortly after this admission, he feels a sudden hatred for Sonia, which quickly vanishes when he meets her gazing eyes. Thinking he must seize the moment, Raskolnikov sits Sonia down. He can barely speak and Sonia senses his suffering. Raskolnikov reveals that the murderer killed Lizaveta accidentally, that the murderer was planning only to kill the old pawnbroker. Sonia cannot guess that Raskolnikov is talking about himself. Giving her a hint, Raskolnikov whispers, "Take a good look" (p. 353). Sonia's frightened face reminds him of Lizaveta's expression right before he struck her. That same look of terror resides on his face as he tries to make Sonia understand that he is the murderer. Sonia takes his hands, makes one last attempt to see if there is some hope in his eyes, and finally resigns to the truth. Not knowing what to do, Sonia throws her arms around him, asking why he would do such a thing to himself, telling him that he must be the most miserable person on the face of the earth. Raskolnikov asks her not to leave him. She answers that she will follow him everywhere, even to Siberia. Raskolnikov suggests that he might not be ready to go to Siberia. Sonia gets a clearer sense of the significance of Raskolnikov's confession. Sonia tries to understand why (hunger or money), but Raskolnikov rejects her simple explanations. Raskolnikov attempts to explain. Was it so he could prove himself to be a Napoleon? No. Was it for financial security? No. It was to prove that he could do it-to exercise his power over himself. To see whether he was a louse or a man, whether he had the right to transgress the law.
Raskolnikov concedes that when he murdered the old woman, he murdered himself. After the murders, he discovers that he is indeed a louse like everyone else. He asks what he is to do. Sonia cries:
"Go at once, this very minute, stand at the cross-roads, bow down, first kiss the earth which you have defiled, and then bow down to all the world and say to all men aloud, 'I am a murderer!' Then God will send you life again. Will you go, will you go?" Chapter 30, pg. 361
Raskolnikov makes one last effort to hold on to his pride. Perhaps he is a man after all and not a louse. Why should he give himself up to those who cannot understand him? He tells Sonia that the police is already on his trail. Sonia asks if he has a cross on him. She gives him hers made of cypress wood (she has Lizaveta's). They will suffer together and bear the cross, Sonia proclaims. Not wanting to hurt her feelings, Raskolnikov tells her he will take the cross at a later time. At that moment, Lebeziatnikov knocks on the door.