How can George and Lenny be compared to Cain and Abel?cain and abel were victims of theirs parents betrayal.  how does that compare to geo. and lenny    george kills lenny out of...

How can George and Lenny be compared to Cain and Abel?

cain and abel were victims of theirs parents betrayal.  how does that compare to geo. and lenny    george kills lenny out of compasion    cain kills abel out of jeolousy and rage.   is there any other bibical story that of mice and men may allude to?

Asked on by macjlseagul

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I don't think Steinbeck uses any Biblical allegory in Of Mice and Men, other than establishing a kind of Garden of Eden setting in chapter 1.  But, I wouldn't say that George and Lenny are like Adam and Eve or Cain and Abel, or even David and Goliath.  There's no real equivalent to Lenny, especially, in the Bible.

George kills Lenny out of mercy, which has little connection to the Biblical murder by Cain against Abel.  The crimes, motivations, and circumstances are not analogous at all, I think.  George is certainly not jealous of Lenny, and George did not disappoint any parental figure or boss the way Cain's sacrifice disappoints God.

I don't see any Biblical connection to the mercy killing.  I can't think of any story or parable about killing a loved one to end his suffering.  Certainly, mercy killing is not condoned in the Old or New Testament.  According to Judeo-Christian theology, it is akin to murder.  Rather, the Bible says that one should protect all human life, that suffering is spiritually cleansing.

There is one story, in the Old Testament, about what we would call assisted suicide:

2 Samuel 1:4-10 says, “And David said unto him, How went the matter? I pray thee, tell me. And he answered, That the people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also. And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead? And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I. And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite. He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me. SO I STOOD UPON HIM, AND SLEW HIM, BECAUSE I WAS SURE THAT HE COULD NOT LIVE after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that wason his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord.”

This is not exactly the same, because it is an assisted suicide rather than a true mercy killing.  George's decision to kill Lenny is to prevent others from killing and torturing him, and it pains him much more than it does Amalekite because Lenny is unaware of his fate and George is more of a father-figure.  In this Biblical story, there is a request by one to end suffering; in Of Mice and Men, Lenny does not ask to be killed because he is in physical suffering, he does not realize that he will be killed by Curley.

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