Notes on Crime and Punishment Themes

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Crime and Punishment Topic Tracking: Redemption/Resurrection

Chapter 2

Redemption/Resurrection 1: Marmelodov awaits the day of judgment when men will understand all (pain, suffering, sin) and even a man like himself will be redeemed, especially to his suffering wife.

Chapter 5

Redemption/Resurrection 2: Raskolnikov makes a desperate prayer to God to deliver him from murderous thoughts. As he crosses the bridge, he feels as though he has been delivered. But this feeling of redemption is short-lived.

Chapter 9

Redemption/Resurrection 3: The elderly woman gives Raskolnikov twenty copecks because she feels sorry for him. The gesture of kindness and charity is an unpleasant reminder for Raskolnikov that he is a part of humanity. On a bridge, as he looks toward the distant chapel, he throws the money into the river, a sign of rejecting any offer of redemption, essentially cutting himself off from humanity.

Chapter 14

Redemption/Resurrection 4: After witnessing Marmelodov's death and the unfortunate circumstances of his suffering family, Raskolnikov feels sympathy for humanity. Helping the family brings him a renewed sense of life, like a condemned man who has been freed. Polenka's hug and her promise of prayer for him gives Raskolnikov a hope for the future where the old woman's blood no longer reigns, but the blood of Marmelodov and his family.

Chapter 19

Redemption/Resurrection 5: Porfiry suspects Raskolnikov, but he wants to get into the mind of the criminal. Raskolnikov mentions that in this world, there will be a continual battle between ordinary and extraordinary men until the second coming of Christ. Porfiry asks if Raskolnikov believes in the New Jerusalem (Christ's return) and Lazarus's resurrection from the dead. Raskolnikov says he believes.

Chapter 24

Redemption/Resurrection 6: Raskolnikov hopes that Sonia could help free him from the torture of his conscience. He has her read to him the passage from the New Testament about the raising of Lazarus. Attracted by the story of Lazarus, Raskolnikov wants to believe in the resurrection of the dead.

Chapter 26

Redemption/Resurrection 7: Just when Raskolnikov thinks that he is close to being arrested, Nikolay intervenes and confesses to the murders. Porfiry is taken aback by the sudden turn of events. At least for the short term, Raskolnikov feels that he is safe from the police. Nikolay's confession gives Raskolnikov a renewed sense of life and freedom.

Chapter 30

Redemption/Resurrection 8: After his confession, Raskolnikov asks Sonia what he should do. Sonia pleads with him to bow down to the earth, kiss it, and confess that he is a murderer. Only then can he be freed from the guilt of his conscience: only then can he let justice work on changing him. For Sonia, the process of healing and regeneration is not unlike the resurrection, symbolized by the cross. Sonia offers to give up her cross, both literally and figuratively so that Raskolnikov could have the strength to make his confession.


Redemption/Resurrection 9: Sonia's persistent love finally breaks through to Raskolnikov. After nearly a year in Siberia, something comes over Raskolnikov and he falls down at Sonia's feet. At that moment, they both realize that they love each other. It is after Easter. The story of Lazarus has taken place inside of Raskolnikov; he has been resurrected.

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