Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a story that is characterized by many metaphors that symbolize people's sins as well as God's plans to save them from the aftermath. This research paper seeks to examine the presence of Christian messages and the story of Jesus in the novel. In this regard, the paper will discuss the Christian messages of resurrection, self-sacrifice, redemption, and betrayal by paying more attention to Aslan, the lion who is portrayed as a figure of Christ, the white Witch who is seen as a satanic or evil character, and, lastly, Mr. Tumnus and the children namely Edmund, Peter, and Lucy. In addition, the essay examines the Christian value of forgiveness which teaches the readers vital lessons in life.
Lewis was a staunch Christian who firmly believed in God and Christianity; he provides answers to moral values and Christian beliefs (Johnsson 3). However, he is not telling the readers what to do; he is just portraying his view of Christianity. Throughout the novel, the author actively discusses Christianity with no intention of persuading one that choosing Christianity is the right decision. Instead, he educates the readers about it using a variety of aspects such as beliefs and moral values. Notably, the Christian messages in the novel are not represented by characters in the Bible such as Judas, Jesus, or the disciples. They are portrayed by child heroes and talking animals, therefore, making the narrative more interesting to the readers (Johnsson 5).
Indeed, Christianity values the virtue of forgiveness, and in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Lucy demonstrates this virtue when Mr. Tumnus almost betrays her. Likewise, King Peter displays forgiveness when he willingly forgives his beloved brother Edmund after he makes the mistake of joining the white witch who is an evil character. According to the Bible in the book of Luke 11:4, people should forgive others. Also, the scripture urges us to forgive one another if one repents his or her sins. Fundamentally, betrayal and forgiveness lessons and moral values are related. In other words, an individual forgives another after betrayal has occurred (Johnsson 6). Based on Christianity, it can be argued that a person is forgiven if he or she can forgive others. Looking back at the chronicles of Narnia, the primary theme in the story is the forgiving of sins and betrayal, for example when Edmund is forgiven of his crimes.
At the same time, forgiveness is seen in the story when Lucy forgives Edmund. After Lucy returns back to her family, she is excited to inform her siblings about the faun she came across and Narnia. However, she receives a sarcastic response from Edmund, who demeans her story. Lucy's forgiving nature is displayed when she enters Narnia and Edmund decides to follow her. She sounds happy when she comes across Edmund in the woods, which shows that she has forgiven him for not believing her story since he can now confirm her tale about the existence of Narnia. Markedly, the Bible teaches to be kind, forgiving, and tenderhearted to others. Lucy shows this virtue when she willingly forgives Edmund. Her forgiving nature relates to how forgiveness is crucial for Christians. Moreover, forgiveness is seen when Edmund's siblings forgive him after he is rescued from the white witch and the siblings demonstrate this by shaking their hands (Johnsson 7).
Even though both Edmund and Tumnus show the theme of betrayal, the former shows the most critical deception when he chooses to join the witch. Not only does he betray his siblings, but he also betrays the animals in Narnia, especially Aslan who is regarded as the King of the woods. Aslan is a figure of Christ; therefore, he is the son of God. According to the story, he is the embodiment of God. Equally, referring to Aslan as the King of the woods is similar to the Christians' view of Christ as the king of kings (Muhling 16). The betrayal of Edmund is unquestionably identical to that of Judas when he betrayed Jesus Christ after he was given thirty silver pieces. In a similar fashion, Edmund betrayed his siblings because he was fascinated by the Turkish delight of the Witch in which the Witch promised him more if he agreed to betray his siblings (Johnsson 9). Edward's reward, nonetheless, is only a mere promise of sweets which is somehow ironical in this scenario as he quickly repents his sins after a short period.
Chiefly, self-sacrifice implies life given to Christ or offering of self-interests. Christ commanded his followers in the Old Testament to pay for their wrongs by sacrificing the blood of animals such as goats, lambs, and cattle. Additionally, Christians are also required to forfeit pigeons or doves to show repentance. Notably, these sacrifices signify the coming of Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for the sinners. When it comes to the lion, Aslan appears to be just like Christ. He dramatically shows self-sacrifice in the narration; he utilizes his own life to pay for the betrayal of Edmund (Xiaobin 7).
As previously mentioned, Edmund is a traitor because he sides with the witch, thus betraying his siblings. For this reason, he has to suffer from the aftermath of betrayal. Primarily, the Witch's Magic shows that the life of Edmund is in the hands of the evil witch (Muhling 22). Aslan, who can be compared to Jesus surprisingly wants to rescue Edmund from sin and its consequences by willingly sacrificing his own life. He, therefore, makes an exchange with the white witch for the strong magic. In turn, the Witch approaches Aslan for taking the life of Edmund.
Markedly, a prophecy is proclaimed in Narnia which says that when two Daughters of Eve and two sons of Adam sit in the thrones, both the rule of the witch and her life will drastically end (Xiaobin 10). The witch proclaims that Edmund's life belongs to her because he is a traitor. Therefore she is allowed to kill (Xiaobin 10). Admittedly, the witch wants to take away Edmund's life to prevent the prophecy from becoming true. Despite the fact that Edmund temporarily betrays his siblings, Aslan chooses to forgive and redeem him. This scene strongly relates to the Bible since it affirms that Jesus decided to go to Jerusalem even though he knew the fate of death awaited him therein. Likewise, Edmund's treachery forces Aslan to make the same choice when he decides to give up his life.
In the Bible, Jesus first takes the last supper with his followers before going to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the same way, the Lion also organizes a final supper. It is further noted in the Bible that Jesus prayed during the last supper. Even though there is no detailed explanation of how Aslan prayed during the last supper in the story, Lewis emphasizes the sense of the coming doom of Aslan which is similar to the one in the Bible which mainly talks about the crucifixion of Christ. Just like it is stated in the Bible that women will be the witnesses of suffering and death, Susan and Lucy witness the self-sacrifice and death of Aslan.
The scene of Aslan going to the stone table for his persecution corresponds to the scene in the Bible where Jesus Christ was crucified. Christ gave up his life for the sinful human beings. Equally, Aslan willingly decided to die because of Edmund's sins. During Aslan's persecution, he is tied up tightly, and the crowd mercilessly jeers at him and even spits on him. Nonetheless, he remains silent just like Jesus Christ when He was presented before Pilate. More specifically, Aslan willingly chooses to sacrifice himself. He is well aware that he is receiving cruel treatment from others but still decides to sacrifice himself without resistance. Aslan is, in essence, like Jesus Christ because Jesus willingly paid for the sins of human beings.
Other than Aslan, Mr. Tumnus also has shown self-sacrifice. Initially, Mr. Tumnus, the faun is forced to work for the white witch. However, he regrets his decision after he meets Lucy who is Eve's daughter. First, when he comes across Lucy, he wants to put her to sleep so that he can hand her over to the evil witch (Xiaobin 13). Nonetheless, after engaging in a conversation with Lucy, he quickly changes his mind and appears to be remorseful. He then confesses to Lucy that he was to hand her to the witch. His conscience and humanity make him change his mind. He finally chooses to release her although he knows he will be severely punished by the witch and even be turned into a stone. Mr. Tumnus distinctly displays Christian values and humanity despite the fact that he is a faun. He despises evil and values good notwithstanding the fact that he has to give up his life for this humanity.
Essentially, the theme of resurrection in the story is similar to that in the Bible. After Aslan dies, Susan and Lucy are too sad to see Aslan's corpse, and they decide to walk away. When they come back, they see the stone table cracking similar to the manner in which the curtains were torn after Jesus was crucified - the temple's curtain split into two. Consequently, there was an earthquake and the rocks split. There is the presence of an earthquake before the resurrection of both Jesus and Aslan which further shows that the story of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is similar to that of Jesus Christ in the Bible.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe also display the Christian message of redemption. Edmund is a traitor, and he willingly sides with the witch. For the most part, Edmund is a mean and spiteful character. However, his character changes halfway through the narration. Towards the end of the story, Edmund is courageous, and he is as good as Peter (Xiaobin 16). He ideally repents his sins and changes his character. Interestingly, he even becomes a knight on the battlefield. Even though Edward was once on the evil side, he eventually repents his sins and transforms his character through redemption. Edmund's sanctification signifies that good will always triumph over evil which is a similar view to Christianity.
Overall, the paper demonstrates that the novel comprises the Christian messages of resurrection, self-sacrifice, redemption, and betrayal. Additionally, the narration shows the Christian value of forgiveness which is highly emphasized in the Bible. Lewis has successfully discussed Christianity through the characters in the story. He aims to educate the readers using different aspects such as Christian beliefs and moral values. Therefore, there is the presence of Christian messages in the story.
BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 Johnsson, Mattias. "Christian Messages and Moral Values in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." (2014): 1-26.
Muhling Markus. A Theological Journey into Narnia: an Analysis of the Message beneath the Text of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2006.
Xiaobin, Li. "Christian Messages in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." Kristianstad University (2010): 1-24.
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