The Bible and Crime and Punishment
Dosteovsky's novel Crime and Punishment depicts the Biblical account of Jesus' path to crucifixion burdened with a wooden cross through the character of Raskolnikov. After committing a cold-blooded murder he experiences mental anguish, and in a defeated state, confesses, and accepts the consequences of his crime
Although the novel begins by focusing on the crime itself, the majority of the book discusses Raskolnikov's struggle through denial and redemption after the murder has been committed. His own "greatness" leads to his denial of God, and his attempt to suppress his conscience causes insanity and sickness. However these negative consequences force him to acknowledge his rectitude and realize his need for confession.
The prostitute, Sonya
, helps Raskolnikov take a step toward redemption by discussing with him the Biblical account of Lazarus' revival from death. This scene depicts his inability to comprehend Sonya's God, and epitomizes his refusal to cling to a higher being. Raskolnikov's incessant pursuit of hindering Sonya's faith characterized the frustration and struggle he experienced because of spiritual issues. However, his path to confession progressed during their conversation because of his hidden desire to understand Sonya's faith. With her aid, he took a step toward redemption foreshadowing her action in raising him from the "dead." Sonya pleads with him to wear her cross and confess to his heinous crime. However, he refuses to accept this burden. This directly parallels with Jesus' refusal to die before his proper time.
The climax of the novel takes place after Raskolnikov's realization and acceptance of his consequences. He visits Sonya and receives her cross. Through this action, he accepts punishment
and ironically, his life. This gift's benefactor, Sonya, carries significance in this allusion to the Bible. Sonya, a sinner through the world's eyes, bestows her cross on Raskolnikov. In addition, she gives him the strength to live again. Jesus was given the cross to carry by the people, sinners by definition of the Bible. By his actions, he gave life back to the people that condemned him to death.
Raskolnikov's tread to police headquarters for confession paralleled Jesus' trudge to crucifixion with his cross. By kissing the ground before he confessed, Raskolnikov showed humility just as Jesus did on his journey to Calvary adorned in a crown of thorns.
Raskolnikov's confession causes a transformation in his character. Through his suffering, the burden of greatness lifts off of his shoulders, enabling him to recover and move on with his life. Jesus lay exanimate in his tomb for three days before he was alive again; Raskolnikov's recovery also took time, and months passed before he was vibrant and fully "raised from the dead."