Sophocles Antigone and Toni Morrisons Pilate Dead share similar characteristics: an intense and almost strange sense of family, a general disregard for written law and courage in the face of death. To compare Antigone and Pilate, however, one cannot lose sight of the inner drive in these women. Antigone fears the power and wrath of the gods, while Pilate only fears disappointing her dead fathers ghost.
Family is such a large part of both of these stories. The very first line of Antigone makes it clear that blood ties are very significant to Antigone: Now, dear Ismene, my own blood sister, The fact that Ismene is her blood sister is important enough to verbalize it, even when addressing Ismene. Throughout the play, several other aspects of the story indicate that Antigone is slightly obsessive about her family.She is willing to give up her life to honor her dead brother, all the while discussing how she would be honored to lay down with the man I love.
This is horrifyingly close to implying incest. She feels she has a duty to bury him. Yes. Ill do my duty to my brother‚” and yours as well, if youre not prepared to.
I wont be caught betraying him.In Song of Solomon, family and blood are also key concepts. Pilate Dead declares proudly, Aint but three Deads alive. She implies that the only way to carry her blood is to have been born of her father, whom she adores.
She lives with her daughter and her granddaughter, and is intent on keeping her family together. Pilate and her brother Macon have a significant falling out, but she disregards that to help when Milkman is born.When Milkman firsts meets his cousin Hagar, Pilate introduces him to her as her brother. When Pilates daughter Reba argues that they are actually cousins, Pilate responds with,Whats the difference in the way you act toward you have to act the same way to both? its almost as if Pilate is afraid that Hagar and Milkman will be attracted to each other, which turns out to be a very perceptive fear.
They begin an incestuous relationship, but Pilate turned a blind eye.Another aspect of Pilate and Antigones sense of family is that they are both very concerned with their heritage. Antigone makes this comment to Ismene, Now you know, and youll quickly demonstrate whether you are nobly born, or else a girl unworthy of her splendid ancestors. Antigone, however sort of contradicts herself later when she talks about how the gods must have ill will towards her family because of the great sins of her ancestors.
Pilate also is concerned about living up to what her father might have expected of her. She sees visions of his ghost, and he repeats the word šsing so she, her daughter, and her granddaughter all sing together fairly often.Antigone does not feel the need to respect any written laws even though they are indeed laws. The king made it very clear that it was illegal to bury Polyneices, and Antigone knew full well the punishment for breaking this rule.
She knew that if she did this, she would be put to death. Her faith did not rest in man-made law.Pilate also, generally, does as she pleases. She makes and sells wine for a living.
Her brother complains that she sells to underage kids and to criminally insane people. She will sell to whoever will buy. Pilate is never concerned about law breaking. She lies to the police to get Milkman and his friend out of jail.
Pilate and Antigone both have unusual responses to the idea of death. Antigone sees it as an honor, since she will die for doing what she considers to be the right thing. She is almost eager to be killed. She brags about it and insults her sister for not wanting to take part.
But you chose life‚”it was my choice to die. When her brother dies, it seems like she is more upset that he is not getting a proper burial than about him actually dying.When Pilates granddaughter dies, she sings at her funeral. She is clearly shaken, but she dons this almost imposing attitude and starts singing and yelling at the funeral.
She stared almost accusingly at the people in the pews and repeats, my baby girl and then screams out, and she was loved! at the end of the book, Pilate is shot in the neck by a stray bullet, and as she lies dying, she only asks Milkman to sing something for her.With all of these similarities, one major difference really separates Antigone and Pilate while also tying their respective similar characteristics together. Antigone and Pilate have seriously different motives and drives behind their actions and characteristics. Antigones character development stems from a desire to please the gods.
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