Michael Musiani Period 4. Cain and Abel. Background.
Michael Musiani Period 4 Cain and Abel
Background Cain is the first born son of Adam and Eve in the Bible, and Abel is the second. Cain is a crop farmer and Abel is a shepherd. Both bring offerings to God, but Cain’s are rejected. This makes Cain furious, leading him to trick Abel to come with him into a field, where Abel is murdered at the hands of his own brother.
Associations Abel is seen as the first innocent man to die at the hands of evil, making him the first martyr and a symbol of martyrdom. Anytime a family member kills another in a work, especially in Shakespearean times, it is seen as an allusion to this story.
Symbols The blood of Abel has become a symbol of vengeance overtime, whereas the blood of Christy has represents mercy. Cain is portrayed as an endless wanderer of the Earth after the murder as he is a lost soul. Cain is sometimes believed to have been conceived from the Serpent in the Garden of Eden, so he is a symbol of pure evil.
Quote from Macbeth “Here’s the smell of blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” Here, Lady Macbeth comments on her blood stained hands which is an allusion to Cain’s hands after the murder of his brother. Lady Macbeth also becomes obsessed with the fact that she sees blood on her hands, even though it has been cleaned off. She spends the rest of her days washing and scrubbing her hands until they are dry and rough and she is now like Cain in the fact that he becomes an endless wanderer who is never at peace.
The Overall Allusion Cain and Abel Macbeth • Cain and Abel were brothers. • Abel is viewed as a martyr after being murdered. Cain is not viewed in a better light by God now that Abel is gone. • Cain loses himself and can no longer function normally afterwards. • Macbeth and Duncan were close and bound in nobility. • King Duncan is martyred as a result of being murdered, and Macbeth is never hailed in the way he imagined. • Macbeth becomes conflicted, Lady Macbeth commits suicide.
Citations • http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/cain.html • http://www.gradesaver.com/macbeth/study-guide/section5/ • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cain_and_Abel