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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - In the shadow of the cross : on Lagerkvist's : research article

Volume 28, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2279
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Abstract


In Lagerkvist's novel, the course of Barabbas' life is shaped by the burden of being linked to Jesus' death. Barabbas is faced with the question of who Jesus was and of how to respond to beliefs about the alleged Saviour of the oppressed, although Jesus is never manifested as such. True to his nature, Barabbas' responses are often violent and impulsive. In contrast to Jesus' seeming absence and powerlessness, Barabbas actively resists oppressive authority. He wánts to believe, but this is counterbalanced by his inability to break out of a solitary existence marked by the absence of God. A final act of revolt, inspired by momentary belief in the risen Jesus leads to Barabbas' death by crucifixion. Ultimately, he achieves a kind of redemption by sharing Jesus' fate as a consequence of his own freely chosen actions. At the end of his life, Barabbas reaches out towards an implied presence which remains unnameable and undefined. Jesus is an implicit presence in Barabbas' crucifixion, but He remains elusive and enigmatic. Lagerkvist is concerned with exploring the existential issues confronting Barabbas, without proposing any conclusions.


In Lagerkvist se roman word die verloop van Barabbas se lewe bepaal deur die las van sy verbintenis met Jesus se dood. Barabbas word gekonfronteer met die vraag wie Jesus was en hoe om te reageer op wat ander oor die beweerde Verlosser van die onderdruktes glo, alhoewel Jesus nooit as sodanig geopenbaar word nie. Getrou aan sy aard is Barabbas se reaksies dikwels impulsief en gewelddadig. In teenstelling met Jesus se oënskynlike afwesigheid en onmag, bied Barabbas aktief weerstand teen onderdrukkende gesag. Hy wíl glo, maar dit word uitgebalanseer deur sy onvermoë om uit te breek uit 'n eensame bestaan wat die merk van God se afwesigheid dra. 'n Finale daad van opstand, geïnspireer deur momentele geloof in die opgestane Jesus, lei tot Barabbas se dood aan die kruis. Hy bereik uiteindelik 'n soort verlossing deur Jesus se lot te deel as gevolg van dade wat hy vryelik gekies het. Teen die einde van sy lewe reik Barabbas uit na 'n geïmpliseerde teenwoordigheid wat egter onbenoembaar en ongedefinieerd bly. Jesus is implisiet teenwoordig in Barabbas se kruisiging, maar Hy bly ontwykend en enigmaties. Lagerkvist wil die eksistensiële kwessies ondersoek waarmee Barabbas gekonfronteer word, sonder om enige konklusies te bied.

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/content/literat/28/2/EJC61965
2007-08-01
2016-12-10

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