Blake wrote several paintings on the Old Testament story of the murder of Cain, his younger brother Abel; this picture is the last one. The theme of the first fratricide in the history of mankind excited Blake. He addressed her not only in painting, but in his literary works.
In particular, in 1822 he wrote the drama “The Ghost of Abel.” In it, as it is clear from the title, is the ghost of an innocent murdered Abel, who calls for revenge. As for the actual painting, this biblical story was widely spread in it from time immemorial. But Blake treats him completely in his own way. In the Bible, there is no scene for Adam and Eve discovering the body of their youngest son, but there is a question of God addressed to Cain: “Where is your brother Abel?”
In Blake’s painting there is no God, but there is a red sun, symbolizing the wrath of God. With great emotion, the artist reveals the image of Eve sobbing over the body of Abel, and, of course, the image of Cain. He is haunted by flames – Blake writes them as if they are licking the body of a murderer. He has already realized the full gravity of his crime and runs away, himself doomed to that nowhere to have no shelter, no peace, no sympathy, no forgiveness.