Revenge in Abel Sanchez

Miguel de Unamuno presents the classic Cain and Abel story in a much more modern interpretation in his work, Abel Sanchez. Joaquin Monegro, the main character in this work, is essentially “the personification of hatred” (The Tragic Sense of Life) and envy. Just as Cain kills Abel out of spite, Joaquin also kills the title character, Abel Sanchez, as a result of pent up anger. Thus, in analyzing the psychological and mental state of Joaquin, William Blake’s poem, “The Poison Tree,” provides us with the most insight when also taking into consideration Passer and Smith’s quote on Freud’s theory about narcissism as well as Albert Einstein’s remark that “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Also included in the novella is Joaquin’s journal entitled Confession-its main purpose being to give us a glimpse into what goes through his mind. Because we are not certain about the extent of Joaquin’s mental illness, we cannot regard him as a reliable narrator. He could very well be skewing the facts so that he is portrayed in the best possible light. This relates to Lionel Trilling’s remark that “the modern self-consciousness and the modern self-pity” characterize modern literature. Joaquin experiences alienation because of his feelings of inadequacy; his envy is so intense that he feels an overwhelming sense of self-pity. He feels ungrateful about his positive traits, achievements, and his circumstances because he resents the fact that Abel gets everything handed to him. He honestly believes that his suffering is worse than anyone else’s suffering.