Crucifixion In Literature

The crucifixion of Jesus is one of the most important motifs that is handled in the Bible. Crucifixion is often related to sacrifice of an individual to protect others from their sins or guilt. Many authors allude to crucifixion to enhance the meanings of their literary work. The most famous example is The Scarlet Letter: Nathaniel Hawthorne employs Hester, a character who is publicly accused of adultery, to create the image similar to that of Jesus’ crucifixion. Hester sacrifices herself to cover Dimmesdale’s sin and protect his reputation. Townspeople, completely unaware of Dimmesdale’s sin, publicly ostracize her and highly respect Dimmesdale. This is identical to the accusation of Jesus and support of Barabbas by the Jews before his crucifixion. Likewise, Hester keeps her daughter Pearl and wears the letter A, which shows her determination to take the responsibility for her sin. Hester says, “‘God gave her into my keeping…I will not give her up!'” This line demonstrates Hester’s determination to keep her daughter and live up to her sin. In addition to The Scarlet Letter, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, also includes an allusion to crucifixion. The scene when Huck says “all right then, I’ll go to hell” after deciding that he would save Jim instead of sending a letter to Miss Watson, generates an image similar to that of Jesus’ sacrifice to carry the sins and die for the Jews to save them. Moreover, in The Great Gatsby, Gatsby takes the blame of hitting Myrtle with his car instead of revealing the truth that Daisy was driving the car. Later on, he gets shot by Wilson and is forever blamed, while Daisy and Tom run away. Gatsby’s sacrifice resulting from his will to protect his love is another example of a biblical allusion to the crucifixion of Jesus.

christ crucified

Along with authors, many painters have used the crucifixion as the theme of their paintings. For instance, the painting called Christ Crucified by Diego Velazquez realistically depicts the scene of Jesus being crucified. Velazquez’s vivid description of blood delivers the brutality of the circumstance whereas the black background concentrates the attention to the cross and Jesus, thus delivering the memorable scene. His art plays a big role in showing the sacrifice and the death of Jesus, which is often alluded to or employed as a symbol in literary pieces.


This entry was posted in AP Mindset, Biblical Allusions 2018, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Crucifixion In Literature

  1. mikegiugliano says:

    Praise: I really like how you showed your wide range of knowledge about this particular Bible story. I also like how you went into detail about the image you chose and analyzed it just like you did for the literature. Question: Did you know about this painting before the biblical allusion project? Polish: I think you might want to consider adding page numbers to your quotations from the text.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s