Religious Influences In The Path For Redemption In Crime And Punishment

1511 words - 6 pages

With the prominent focus in Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky being the path for redemption and the search for hope, a connection can be made with the religious influences throughout the novel. Such religious influences throughout the Christian faith can most prominently be seen in how the characters such as Raskolnikov develop. Needing a vessel to communicate and push these religious influences onto a struggling and tormented Raskolnikov, Dostoevsky uses Sonia’s character to contrast religious perspectives and offer a beacon of hope to Raskolnikov. Through understanding religious symbolism, relationships with other characters, and a character’s path to seek redemption, one can gain insight into Raskolnikov’s development and path for personal growth in Crime and Punishment.
Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment goes beyond just deriving his religious influences from his interactions with other characters, but rather it begins with delving into the religious symbolism that plays a prominent role in his interactions along the way. The most simplistic religious symbol in Crime and Punishment is the confession of or the redemption for one’s sins. Raskolnikov most prominently develops his character over the ideology of the sinner. Although when asked does he believe in god and Raskolnikov admits he does, he appears to live his life without the usual construct of a religious man (304). Raskolnikov traps himself in a life with a mortal sin that governs his internal conflict for most of the novel. Stricken with the discomfort of this sin, Raskolnikov eventually unknowingly seeks redemption for this mortal sin. The very action of committing a sin has a different meaning to Raskolnikov as the novel progresses. Before committing the crime, for instance, Raskolnikov treats sin with indifference as Raskolnikov doesn’t understand the emotional and mental toll it will take on him. However, this changes after Raskolnikov commits the crime as sin becomes the center of internal conflict for his character. To Raskolnikov, this one and utterly appalling sin of murder leads to his insanity and his eventual life altering path for redemption. The sin itself was symbolic of a turning point that answered the question of “What had he to live for?” (621). Becoming the center of Raskolnikov’s path to redemption, this question forces Raskolnikov to find meaning to his life. When Raskolnikov lets Sonia’s character and good intentions into his life the reader gets the notion that Raskolnikov will find his meaning in life through an unlikely sinner. After Raskolnikov confesses to Sonia he expresses that “it was like a single sparkle kindled in his soul and spreading fire through him” (603) could only suggest that Raskolnikov was not only morally relieved that he had someone to confide in, but that he was impacted on a spiritual level, altering his meaning in life altogether. The way in which Raskolnikov reacts to the act of confession and how he lets it...

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