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Essay on Cain and Abel Timshel: Free Will

Decent Essays
In East Of Eden, a main theme that is displayed is the freedom to overcome evil in the world. The hebrew word that Lee uses to convince Cal to overcome sin is timshel, which is the freedom of choice. The word timshel translates to “thou mayest” and is used by God in the Cain and Abel story telling Cain that he has the opportunity to overcome sin. Free will does not just come easily, but it will come if you have the will to fight for it.

The protagonist, Adam, is depicted as good in comparison to the other characters in both the book and movie. In the story, Adam makes moral decisions when situations come to hand and he is offered dishonest money from his son, Cal. Adam tells Cal that it is “evil money” and to return it. He did not want
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Cathy surrenders herself to sin because she states that there is so much of it in the world it is nearly impossible to fight. This shows that Cathy does not believe in timshel and how she is unwilling to fight to be able to achieve free will. This can make her viewed as a pessimistic character and how she views the world in a whole. Cathy embraces sin because she is so insecure and does not know how to cope with the idea that she is not willing to overcome sin.

Cal is viewed as a evil character and he is looked down upon due to the fact that his brother, Aron, lives a more successful lifestyle. Cal is the most complex character in the story and struggles with timshel the most. Cal’s jealously has him make evil decisions that lead to negative results including leading his brother to his death. In a writing done by Yehuda bar Ami he states that when Cain and Abel were in the field arguing it was about fighting over Eve. Cal shares this jealousy towards Aron because he lacks attention from his father.
Adam asked, “Do you know where your brother is?” “No, I don’t,” said Cal. . . . “He hasn’t been home for two nights. Where is he?” “How do I know?” said Cal. “Am I supposed to look after him?” (Steinbeck 562) In the same midrash, a Rabbi states that Cain blames God for creating him the evil being that he is. Cal believes that he is evil and therefore is the reason why his father does not give him as much attention as Aron. This
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