Generally, when believers in Christianity hear the word "Cain," they immediately think of "brother-slayer," "hell," and all sorts of evil. Who was Cain and what led him to be a "brother-slayer"? In my essay, I shall tell the tragic story of two brothers and how their brotherhood ends in utter destruction. This story shows how just one ounce of jealousy can cause cold-blooded murder. Cain was indeed the cause of his brother's brutal murder.
The story of Cain comes from the Old Testament in the Bible. Adam's wife, Eve, becomes pregnant and has her first child, who is truly insincere, selfish, and later on, commits the ultimate taboo; he murders his own flesh and blood. This child's name is Cain. Some time later, she gives birth to another son, Abel, who, unlike Cain, is very genuine, selfless and who can never think of hurting someone, let alone murdering him. When the two children grow up, Cain is a farmer, and Abel is a shepherd. They are both asked by their parents to give offerings to the Lord whenever possible, but only without any expectation or selfish desire in return. It is not possible for Cain to be so selfless and kind.
One day, Cain brings some of his leftover harvest as an offering to the Lord, whereas Abel brings one of his first lambs born to his sheep, kills it, and gives it to the Lord as a sacrificial offering. The Lord is very much pleased with Abel and rejects Cain's offerings, since the Lord knows that Cain is giving his offerings, but with selfish motives. Cain then becomes extremely angry with Abel and shows his discontentment. The Lord then asks Cain why he is frowning. He says to Cain that if Cain had done the correct thing, he would be happy and smiling, but since his conscience is impure, he is unhappy.
A few days later, Cain says to Abel, "Let's go out in the fields" (Genesis Ch.4: 8). While they are out in the field, Cain murders his one and only brother. The Lord asks Cain where Abel is, and Cain lies, claiming he does not know. The Lord knows he is lying and places a curse on him. This curse prohibits him from growing any more crops on his land. If Cain does attempt to grow crops, nothing will come to harvest. In my opinion, the Lord is not harsh enough because He puts a mark on Cain's forehead as a protection from death. No person can kill him. If anyone tries, seven lives will be taken. This is Cain's punishment for the killing of his one and only brother.
In the story of Beowulf, all evil things, such as the monsters, Grendel and his mother, and later on the dragon, are referred to as descendants of Cain. In the Anglo-Saxon period of Beowulf, all evil was believed to exist because of Cain. Beowulf is the Savior, who represents good, who fights all evil in order to sustain happiness of all the people. He is the hero of all heroes. Once he takes a vow, he stands by it.
This story of Cain and Abel is in the Old Testament of the Bible. Many Christian followers, just as the Anglo-Saxons did, still look upon this story as an important moral teaching. There is a belief that Christians preach, which is "if anyone hates his brother, he is a murderer." The Anglo-Saxons viewed fratricide as the ultimate taboo, or sin. If anyone hated his sibling or relative, he was not at all respected. This tragic story sets an example of how sin can be so very powerful that it can drive one to the point of shedding his own blood out of jealousy.