Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

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Lazarus Symbol Icon
A Biblical character from the Gospel of John, Lazarus is a man dead for four days and placed in a tomb. When Jesus arrives in town and is told of Lazarus’ death, he asks God for the ability to raise Lazarus in order to demonstrate his (and God’s) power, and to convince those in the surrounding area that he is indeed the Messiah. Raskolnikov asks Sonya to read this passage to him from her New Testament, and Porfiry asks whether Raskolnikov believes in God, and whether, specifically, he believes in the truth of the Lazarus story. Lazarus’s return from the dead echoes Raskolnikov’s own “living death”—the madness that closes in on him following the murder, which eventually causes his confession and eight-year sentence in a prison camp. It is there that Raskolnikov uncovers Sonya’s same copy of the New Testament. And like a man raised from the dead, he becomes truly penitent, realizing that his remaining years in the camp are not so long, and that he will be sustained by the power of Sonya’s love and “reborn” into a new life.
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Lazarus Symbol Timeline in Crime and Punishment

The timeline below shows where the symbol Lazarus appears in Crime and Punishment. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 3, Chapter 5
Criminality, Morality, and Guilt Theme Icon
Madness and Intoxication Theme Icon
Coincidence and Free Will Theme Icon
...asks whether Raskolnikov believes in God, the New Testament, and in particular the story of Lazarus, who is raised from the dead by Jesus in the Book of John. Porfiry goes... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 4
Criminality, Morality, and Guilt Theme Icon
Madness and Intoxication Theme Icon
Coincidence and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...Testament and asks Lizaveta to read to him the section in John of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. She hesitates, afraid of Raskolnikov, but begins to read. (full context)
Coincidence and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
In the story of Lazarus, Jesus arrives in a town and is asked why he did not save Lazarus, who... (full context)
Epilogue, Chapter 2
Criminality, Morality, and Guilt Theme Icon
Madness and Intoxication Theme Icon
Coincidence and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...given him by Sonya and from which he had her read him the story of Lazarus. (full context)