Themes are often used by authors of literature as a means of conveying their message. These themes are often metaphors that exhibit their meaning though constant comparison of the main ideas. Such is the case in Barabbas, in which the author, Par Lagerkvist, uses the reoccurring theme of light and darkness as a means for symbolizing the strain with in the main charcter. Light and darkness symbolize through out the novel the repeating ideas of clarity and confusion. It is the way in which the author uses these metaphors that allows for a more lucid understanding of the theme of light and dark.
When it comes to literature, or the arts for that matter, light is often used as a means of expressing the notion of good, pure, innocent, or godliness, but it is slightly different when it comes to Barabbas and it will be discussed further later on. But never the less, the issue of light is one that is repeating and somewhat vague. Light first is introduced in the beginning of the novel; "That is why at first glance the man seemed to be surrounded by a dazzling light" (Lagerkvist Pg. 5). It is used to show the divine nature of the "prisoner", though Barabbas attributes this to his eyes adjusting to the light. The resurrection of Christ is characterized by the first rays of the sun hitting the rock from which the sepulcher was carved, but once again Barabbas explained this by him having been off guard when he saw the light, so he does not know what to think from it. But it is when Barabbas enters the catacombs that light becomes a double edged sword of being an epiphany but at the same time a doubtful image. Once in the dark catacombs, Barabbas comes across a flicker of light that appears but then vanishes before he can reach it. Once out side the catacomb Barabbas make sense of the flickering light of being the fire set to Rome. The second coming was evident to Barabbas as the city being put ablaze by the wrath of God and the Christians.