Crime and Punishment Chapter 2 Summary

By | October 7, 2018

Crime and Punishment is a book published in 1866. Set in Russia, the protagonist of the story is a young impoverished man. He has heavy internal conflict which stems from a plan he has constructed. He wants to kill an old woman and take her money. He believes that he has the right to do so because he is poor and because the woman is cruel and unfair. He doesn’t think murder is that bad of an act because it is outweighed by the good deeds he can fulfill with the cash.

Chapter 2 of the story begins inside the tavern. Raskolnikov encounters a man who has drunk a lot of alcohol. He is obviously a heavy drinker who is in rags. For some reason, the man decides to tell the protagonist the story of his life. The man is married to a noble woman named Katerina. Their relationship grew after a failed previous relationship that left the woman with three children. The man’s daughter has now taken desperate measures in order to support her and the family. Recently, the man managed to pull himself together and get a job, which made his wife very happy. Unfortunately, the man got drunk again and lost it. He is now in a state of despair because he does not want to return home. 

The drunk’s name is Marmeladov. He and his wife are both described as being somewhat pathetic. However, each of them has a sense of pride. Marmeladov believes that he was not wholly responsible for his behavior. However, he constantly hurts his family and is not able to support them. He is even somewhat similar to Raskolnikov is this aspect.

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The drunk seems sad, but also angry that this has happened to him. He eventually persuades Raskolnikov to help him visit his wife and children again. Raskolnikov reluctantly agrees. When he reaches, the household, he realizes just how bad it is. Katerina is still somewhat young, but looks very sick and tired. When she sees her husband she yells at him. Other people come to see the commotion and laugh at the couple. Raskolnikov decides to go but he decides to leave a small amount of money. However, afterward, he is regrets his decision and decides that he hates the family.

Once again this depicts the multiple sides of the main character. He is compassionate because he leaves them money, but also decides that they are pathetic. This further illustrates his sense of pride.

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