Crime and Punishment - Suffering, Death, and Resurrection
Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote the novel, Crime and Punishment, during a turbulent time in Russian history. Yet his work will speaks to any age. Dostoevsky wrote to warn against what he considered the negative effects of the trend of nihilism and rational egoism. He advances this objective by employing themes of suffering, resurrection, and death--all of these currents running through a surprisingly benevolent universe.
If Dostoevsky's fellow Russian Marx was correct in stating that religion is the opiate of the people, then suffering is the proverbial needle that injects it into a person. Suffering is the dominant theme of this work. It twists and contorts itself into so many aspects of the story, that any other classification of it would simply not do it justice. Immediately following Raskolnikov's crime, he begins to suffer. The inadvertent death of Lizaveta is a crushing blow to his conscience. Dostoevsky is conveying his message: a wanton act will lead to a deluge of suffering. A theory is no protection from one's own feelings of remorse. A theme of suffering dominates the action of this story and it is inextricably linked with the other themes of resurrection and death.
"Crime and Punishment" is a work steeped in the allusions and persuasiveness of it's author's Christianity. Nowhere is this encompassing influence more manifest than in the novel's theme of resurrection. Porfiry inquires whether Raskolnikov believes in Lazarus. Sonia and Raskolnikov read from the Bible the story of Lazarus. Raskolnikov is in the hospital and has his mind-opening dream--the realization of the fallibility of his theory--during and over the time of Lent and Easter. Resurrection,...