What is the story of Cain and Abel, and how does it relate to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by R.L. Stevenson?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The story of Cain and Abel is told in the first chapter of the Bible. They are the sons of Adam and Eve. Cain is jealous of Abel (sibling rivalry) and murders him. When God asks Cain where Abel is, Cain replies, "Am I my brother's keeper?" There is no particular connection between this story and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," except that on the first page Mr. Utterson the lawyer says, "I incline to Cain's heresy....I let my brother go to the devil in his own way." By "heresy" he only means that he does not subscribe to the religious injunction to love others as you love yourself and to regard every man as your brother. Utterson believes in minding his own business and looking after himself. Some readers of Stevenson's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" attach more importance to this comment about Cain's heresy than it deserves. It turns out that Mr. Utterson actually does get heavily involved with both his friend Dr. Jekyll and the evil Mr. Hyde in spite of his policy of minding his own business.

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