The imagery of Crime and Punishment
Note: Imagery of Crime and Punishment is are very significant. Without the imagery of Crime and Punishment, it is very difficult to understand the novel. So, in this article, we will learn the imagery of Crime and Punishment.
The key concept of imagery
Authors use imagery to describe people, events, and emotions that are beyond words. Imagery is the use of descriptive language that appeals to the senses and symbolizes something deeper than the literal meaning of words. Let’s examine a few examples of religious, blood, and water imagery from this novel.
The protagonist of the novel Raskolnikov meets Marmeladov, the unemployed alcoholic, in a tavern. Marmeladov presents himself as a despicable character from the moment they meet. As a result of the drinking, he is on the fifth day of binge drinking while his wife and children are starving at home. His eldest daughter Sonia has been forced into prostitution to support them. Marmeladov says:
‘I ought to be crucified, crucified on a cross, not pitied! Crucify me, oh judge, crucify me but pity me! And then I will go of myself to be crucified, for it’s not merry-making I seek but tears and tribulation!’
This is an example of religious imagery because Marmeladov makes a visual representation of the outcome of life which he deserves.
For some reason, however, Raskolnikov has a soft spot for Marmeladov. This soft spot does not extend to Alyona, a pawnbroker that cheats the poor. In Raskolnikov’s opinion, Alyona deserves to die as he determines that the world will be a better place without her. He chooses an ax as his murder weapon, which adds to the bloodiness and horror of the scene. After hitting Alyona on the head with the ax, the narrator describes, ‘The blood gushed as from an overturned glass, the body fell back.’ This vivid description of blood gives the reader not only visual but also some religious symbolism because the blood from an overturned glass is reminiscent of Jesus’ blood.
After brutally killing Alyona, Raskolnikov wishes to be clean both literally and spiritually. The narrator writes:
“Glancing, however, into the kitchen and seeing a bucket half full of water on a bench, he bethought him of washing his hands and the axe.”
Symbolically, Raskolnikov will have to face even more tests in order to be truly pure.
Lesson Summary: The imagery of Crime and Punishment is based on different aspects. No reader is able to pick up the core content without the imagery of Crime and Punishment. So, it is suggested to read the concept of imagery of Crime and Punishment several times.