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The Man Who Died By D.H. Lawrence A Blasphemous Work

1615 words - 6 pages

D.H. Lawrence’s novella, The Man Who Died, is undoubtedly one of the most audacious attempts in depicting a Jesus diversified from the biblical Jesus. Although the novella does not refer to Jesus’ name itself, it is conspicuous throughout the short story that the man who died is in fact the messiah. The novella commences with the savior resurrecting into life after a “long sleep”, referring to the messiah’s execution. As the novella progresses, Jesus revolutionizes into a mundane human being repudiating his former lifestyle. Throughout the novella, the reader sees a Jesus that is analogous to all other humans and a Jesus that is in contradictory to the universal Jesus everyone knows. Since the depiction of Christ contravenes the traditional tenets in the bible, then the novella must be blasphemous.

Reviving from his execution, Jesus no longer cares about his former mission and the life of the gospel, except that he feels he overstressed the giving of love. The messiah no longer desires to exist in a life for others, as it led not to eternal life rather to his execution, but desires a life of his own: “The teacher and the savior are dead in me; now I can go about my own business, into my own single life” (23). Throughout the bible, Jesus is portrayed as a teacher guiding the people to salvation, distinguishing munificence from malevolence. On the contrary, the novella captures this quality and omits it from the savior. Furthermore, Jesus no longer has a hunger to facilitate his disciples but rummages around in search of a life of his own: “He realizes that he has been saved from his own salvation, that he has neglected the needs of his own body to pursue a spiritual mission” (Cowan 175). Similar to the cock’s escape from the string, Jesus breaks away from his former mission in an attempt to reincarnate. In doing so, Jesus contradicts the biblical messiah.

In addition to neglecting his former mission, Jesus has premarital sex, a deed that is inadmissible according to the bible. Both the priestess of Isis and the man who died, have never affianced in sexual intercourse previously. Furthermore, both characters are in search of something; Jesus is in search for the long repressed sexuality that his Father hid from him and Isis is in search for the lost Osiris: “For her, the risen man has supplied the missing phallus of Osiris; for him, the priestess of Isis, through the sexual relation, has given new meaning to the Christian concept of atonement” (Cowan 184). When the priestess sanctions Jesus to dwell at her villa, she scrutinizes the beauty of his suffering and deems that he is the lost Osiris, the god who has been killed and scattered and who awaits reintegration and re-creation at the hands of Isis. Moreover, both characters engage in sexual intercourse in the temple of Isis: “ He crouched to her, and he felt the blaze of his manhood and his power rise up in his loins, magnificent. I am risen!” (80). Through the savior’s encounter with...

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