Cain - a characteristic of a literary hero - Lord George Gordon Byron

Essays on literary works - 2023

Cain - a characteristic of a literary hero
Lord George Gordon Byron

CAIN (eng. Cain) - the hero of the mystery of G. G. Byron "Cain" (1821). In Byron's interpretation, the biblical Cain turns into a romantic hero - a theomachist, a revolutionary spirit who rebelled against a deity. Like Manfred, K. "is wounded by the harsh truth that the Tree of Knowledge is not the Tree of Life." He reproaches God that he did not give immortality to people, and his parents, Adam and Eve, that, having plucked the fruit from the tree of knowledge, they did not pluck the fruit from the tree of life. Hearing the groans of K., the mournful spirit Lucifer comes to him. He comes to the only person who, like him, rebelled against God and proved that the evil he does is not good. K. craves forbidden knowledge, although he refuses to kneel before the spirit of darkness. Together with K. Lucifer makes a flight over the abyss, shows him beautiful worlds and immortal luminaries, reveals to him the secret of existence and the secret of death. Lucifer argues that, having one fruit - knowledge, it is necessary to strive for another - immortality. And to Cain's question: "But how?" - replies: "Resisting. Quench / Nothing can spirit, if wants / The spirit to be itself and the center / Everything that surrounds the spirit ... ”(translated by I. Bunin). The enlightened K. returns to earth, taking with him the covenant of Lucifer: “Be patient with thoughts - create in yourself // The inner world, so as not to see the outside. // Break the earthly nature in yourself // And partake of the spiritual principle!” Thus, K. is a typical romantic hero, the embodiment of the omnipotence of the human spirit (“... I feel that I am insignificant in the world, while my thought is strong, like God”). Fruitless are the exhortations of Ada, who urges K. to stop mourning the lost Eden. K. argues that it is better to die than to live in torment and bequeath them to children. Therefore, he rebels against God, who accepts the bloody sacrifice of Abel, but does not want to accept his fruits. In the heat of the struggle, wanting to overthrow the altar of Abel, he strikes his brother with a brand in the temple. “Cain ... kills Abel in a fit of displeasure with the politics of paradise, which led to the expulsion of all (that is, the first people) from it, and partly (as it is written in the Book of Genesis) because Abel’s sacrifice was more pleasing to the deity,” Byron wrote in a letter T. Muru. A man who passionately hates death, K. is the first to bring it into the world. Rebellion in the name of man turns into violence. Eve curses her fratricidal son, the angel brands him with the seal of an outcast. Cain and Ada go into exile with their children. But K.'s main punishment is his eternal doubt. In 1920 Byron's mystery "Cain" was staged by K.S. Stanislavsky at the Moscow Art Theatre; L.M.Leonidov played the main role.