Christian Imagery In Dostoyevsky's Crime And P

Better Essays

For the Love of God: Christian imagery in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment
Within Crime and Punishment, the true nature of man is explored as Fyodor Dostoyevsky calls into question the moral code of man and the systems with which we define human ethics. Perhaps the most significant usage of artistic devices within the novel is the use of Christian symbols to introduce the thematic concept of salvation due to acceptance of Christianity. Christian symbolism helps give meaning to the novel and allows the author to deliver his thesis on the saving power of Christ to the reader. These themes are used to the greatest effectiveness when the author references the salvation of Raskolnikov and Marmeladov, and how this was brought about due to …show more content…

After killing Alyona Ivanovna, Raskolnikov takes notice of the two crosses that were in Alyona’s possession and deems them worthless; then, Raskolnikov irreverently discards them onto Alyona’s corpse. The act of discarding crosses onto his very sin further enforces the absence of reverence within Raskolnikov. This act demonstrates Raskolnikov’s total disregard for Christianity, for throwing the crosses back on the woman’s body is seemingly symbolic of his abandonment of faith. Discarding the crosses is contrasted when, later in the novel, Raskolnikov encounters them again. At that point he is about to confess to the murder and he takes up the crosses, now in Sonia’s possession, to take with him. He shows his newfound reverence when he puts on the cross and says “It’s the symbol of my taking up the cross. As though I had not suffered much till now” (411). By literally “taking up the cross” Raskolnikov demonstrates how he has accepted the tenants of Christianity and has begun to repent for his mortal sin. Additionally, his exclamation of suffering demonstrates that he is aware that he will suffer physically in prison, as well as suffer spiritually in hell. Raskolnikov’s previous irreverence is ended and he shows newfound respect regarding the cross. This exemplifies the novel’s idea that …show more content…

It assists in illuminating how irredeemable people can find salvation through the Christian church; this is shown through a variety of scenes that have religious undertones as well as specific Christian symbols, such as crosses. This is significant because it introduces a chance for redemption to those who wouldn’t consider religion otherwise. Religious imagery is significant not only for the artistic and thematic purposes of the novel, but also for the effect it has on the reader. By introducing a chance at salvation to someone that wouldn’t seek it otherwise, the novel encourages membership in the church. This allows the messages within the novel to be extrapolated across a wider audience and allows for a greater amount of people to take in the messages presented within the

Get Access