Explain freedom thruogh the subversions of hegemony in "Cain"?
Jessica Pope | Certified Educator
In Lord Byron's satire of the story of Cain and Abel, Cain gains enlightenment by refusing to bow down in worship to any being. First, he refuses to pray at the family dinner table with Adam, Eve and Abel. The reason for this refusal is Cain's anger at God for sentencing him to death. Cain believes it unjust that all people must experience death simply because of Eve's mistake in eating the fruit of the tree of knowledg of good and evil. Later, Lucifer approaches Cain and offers to share with him the secret of what really happens after you die, if only Cain will bow down and worship him. Cain refuses to bow down to Lucifer as well. Then Lucifer reveals that the reuqest was a sort of test and that in refusing to bow down to him, Cain has honered Lucifer. He then shows Cain the afterlife in Hades, which is much more beautiful than Cain imagined. At the end of the play, Cain returns to Earth. He has gained knowledge, and thus freedom, of what is to come. Cain's story does not end happily (he is ostricized from his family and from God), however he has learned the truth about what lies beyond the grave. By subverting the authority of both God and Lucifer, Cain has gained freedom through learning the truth. He no longer fears death. Cain considers this lack of fear to be the ultimate freedom.