George Gordon Byron, Cain

Neil Forsyth (Université de Lausanne)
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This verse drama is Byron’s retelling of the Genesis story but with Cain as its hero, both in the sense of the play’s main character, and also as a version of what Byron himself admired and indeed constructed — “the Byronic hero”, which here reaches the final stage of its development. Like his other plays, Cain was a closet drama not intended for the stage, a type of romantic poem-drama like Goethe’s Faust or, later, Ibsen’s Peer Gynt. In fact it has since been performed, for example, by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican Pit in 1995, in a successful production directed by John Barton.

The play is subtitled A Mystery, by which Byron signals not a whodunit but a type of …

4680 words

Citation: Forsyth, Neil. "Cain". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 September 2016 [, accessed 03 June 2023.]

6202 Cain 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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