Crime and Punishment Chapter 6
Raskolnikov is greatly affected because the incident at the Hay Market is one among a series of strange and mysterious events within the past several weeks. The first takes place nearly six weeks ago, when Raskolnikov receives the old pawnbroker's address from a friend. He goes to pawn a ring that he had received from his sister at their parting. Afterwards, he goes to a tavern; and while a strange idea is forming in his mind, next to him, a student and a young officer are talking about the old pawnbroker and Lizaveta. The young student explains to his friend how stingily the old woman conducts her business, how she beats her sister, and how the old woman decides to leave all her money to a monastery. About Lizaveta, Raskolnikov learns that she works all day for her sister, never complains, and is continually with child because men take advantage of her meekness. The young student says that he would not feel remorse in killing the old woman and using her money to do good for mankind. He compares the old woman to a louse. The officer agrees that she did not deserve to live, but that it is nature that allows such people to exist. Raskolnikov is mystified that he happens to overhear this conversation while he is thinking those exact thoughts. Is it somehow preordained?
After coming home from the Hay Market, Raskolnikov is overcome by a heavy sleep. Nastasya wakes him up the next morning. He eats a bite and falls asleep again. He has a recurring dream of drinking water from a cool spring oasis in Africa. Suddenly, he wakes and begins preparing for his mission. First, he sews a noose into his coat for hanging an axe. Second, he gets a pledge that he had fashioned beforehand, one made to look like a silver cigarette case. Finally, he runs out of his room, still not convinced of going through with it.
During a crime, Raskolnikov always wondered why criminals left incriminating evidence at the scene of the crime. His conclusion is that, during the crime, criminals often face a failure of the will. He revolves not to succumb to such things. Reason and will would win out.
Upon reaching the kitchen, however, Raskolnikov finds that Nastasya is working there, which means he cannot get the axe. As he is cursing himself, he notices an axe under the bench of a porter's room. "When reason fails the devil helps!" he exclaims (p. 65). Raskolnikov tries to avoid the people passing by. He glances at the clock on a shop wall: ten minutes past seven. He enters the gate without being seen. The staircase is empty except for painters working inside a flat on the first floor. He walks up to the fourth story and sees no one. With his heart thumping, he rings the bell of the old woman's door. It opens.