Katerina Lvovna, “outwardly a very pleasant woman,” lives in the prosperous house of the merchant Izmailov with widowed father-in-law Boris Timofeevich and the elderly husband Zinovy Borisovich. There are no children for Katerina Lvovna, and “with all the contentment” her life “for an unskilful husband” is the most boring. On the sixth year of marriage
Zinovy Borisovich leaves for the mill dam, leaving Katerina Lvovna “one-alone”. In the yard of her house she measures strength with a cheeky worker Sergei, and from the cook Aksinya learns that this fellow has been serving the Izmailovs for a month, and from the former house was expelled for “love” with the mistress. In the evening, Sergei comes to Katerina Lvovna, complains of boredom, says that she loves, and remains until the morning. But on one of the nights Boris Timofeevich notices how the red shirt of Sergei descends from the window’s daughter-in-law. The father-in-law threatened that she would tell Katerina Lvovna’s husband everything, and send Sergei to the prison. The same night, Katerina Lvovna is poisoning her father-in-law with a white powder, reserved for rats, and continues with “Aligoria” with Sergei.
Meanwhile, Sergei becomes dry with Katerina Lvovna, jealous of her husband and talks about her insignificant state, admitting that she would like to be “her husband before her before the eternal temple”. In response, Katerina Lvovna promises to make him a merchant. Zinovy Borisovich returns home and accuses Katerina Lvovna of “cupids”. Katerina Lvovna takes Sergei out and boldly kisses him with her husband. Lovers kill Zinovy Borisovich, and the corpse is buried in the cellar. Zinovy Borisovich is searched uselessly, and Katerina Lvovna “lives with Sergei, according to his widow’s position at large.”
Soon the young nephew of Zinovy Borisovich Fyodor Lyapin, whose money was at the deceased merchant in circulation, came to Izmailovo. Learned by Sergei, Katerina Lvovna conceives the lime of the God-fearing boy. On the night of Vespers under the feast of the introduction, the boy remains alone in the house with his lovers and reads the Life of St. Theodore Stratelates. Sergei grabs... Fedya, and Katerina Lvovna suffocates him with a feather pillow. But as soon as the boy dies, the house starts shaking with blows, Sergei panics, sees the deceased Zinovy Borisovich, and only Katerina Lvovna realizes that it is with a roar that the people who saw in the crack slammed into what is being done in the “sinful house”.
Sergei is taken to the unit, and at the first words of the priest about the terrible court he confesses to the murder of Zinovy Borisovich and calls Katerina Lvovna an accomplice. Katerina Lvovna denies everything, but admits at the confrontation that she killed “for Sergei.” The murderers are punished with whips and sentenced to hard labor. Sergei excites sympathy, and Katerina Lvovna behaves steadfastly and even refuses to watch the birth of a child. He, the sole heir of the merchant, is given up for education. Katerina Lvovna thinks only of how to get to the stage as quickly as possible and see Sergei. But at the stage Sergei Nelaskov and secret visits do not please him. In Nizhny Novgorod, the Moscow party joins the prisoners with a soldier of Fiona’s free disposition and a seventeen-year-old Sonnetka, about whom they say: “It’s curving around your hands, but it’s not given to you”.
Katerina Lvovna arranges another meeting with her lover, but finds in his arms trouble-free Fiona and quarrels with Sergei. And not reconciling with Katerina Lvovna, Sergei begins to “crap” and flirt with Sonnetka, which seems to “rukchnet.” Katerina Lvovna decides to leave pride and put up with Sergei, and during the meeting, Sergei complains of pain in his legs, and Katerina Lvovna gives him thick woolen stockings. The next day, she notices these stockings on Sonnetka and spits Sergei in the eye. At night, Sergei, together with a friend, beats Katerina Lvovna under the giggle Sonnetka. Katerina Lvovna grieves grief on Fiona’s chest, the whole party led by Sergei mocks her, but Katerina Lvovna behaves with “wooden tranquility.” And when the party crosses by ferry to the other side of the river,