Antigone And Pilate Dead

Antigone And Pilate Dead

Length: 1397 words (4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Sophocles’ Antigone and Toni Morrison’s 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 father’s 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. I’ll do my duty to my brother and yours as well, if you’re not prepared to. I won’t be caught betraying him."
In Song of Solomon, family and blood are also key concepts. Pilate Dead declares proudly, “Ain’t 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 Pilate’s daughter Reba argues that they are actually cousins, Pilate responds with, “What’s the difference in the way you act toward ‘em? Don’t you have to act the same way to both?” it’s 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 Antigone’s sense of family is that they are both very concerned with their heritage. Antigone makes this comment to Ismene, “Now you know, and you’ll quickly demonstrate whether you are nobly born, or else a girl unworthy of her splendid ancestors.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Antigone And Pilate Dead." 18 Jan 2020

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Analysis Of The Book ' Pontius Pilate ' Essay

- Pontius Pilate Pontius Pilate was a very insightful book that kept me engaged and interested as I learned about the world that Jesus lived in. I read 100% of the book and was very effected through reading it. One of the greatest ways this book effected me was opening my eyes to the reality of the world that the gospels talk about. This book helped to bring the story of Jesus into more of a reality instead of just a Bible story. This book taught me both of the world of the old testament and brought to light new things about Jesus and His crucifixion....   [tags: Jesus, Crucifixion of Jesus, Pontius Pilate]

Research Papers
702 words (2 pages)

The Tragic Downfalls of Creon and Antigone in Sophocles' Antigone Essays

- The hubris resonating throughout the play, ‘Antigone’ is seen in the characters of Creon and Antigone. Their pride causes them to act impulsively, resulting in their individual downfalls. In his opening speech, Creon makes his motives clear, that “no man who is his country’s enemy shall call himself my friend.” This part of his declaration was kept to the letter, as he refused burial for his nephew, Polynices. However, when the situation arises where it is crucial that Creon takes advice, he neglects the part of the speech where he says “a king......   [tags: antigone]

Research Papers
712 words (2 pages)

The Juxtaposition of Ruth Foster and Pilate Dead in Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon

- Toni Morrison juxtaposes Ruth Foster and Pilate Dead, in Song of Solomon, to highlight the separate roles they play in the protagonist Milkman’s journey. Early in the novel Morrison, uses the juxtaposition of Ruth Foster and Pilate dead, when she tells of the flight of Mr. Robert Smith from Mercy Hospital. Ruth Foster, not yet described as such, is known as the “dead doctor’s daughter” (5). During this scene her insignificance is made clear, “the rose-petal scramble, got a lot of attention, but the pregnant lady’s moans did not” (5)....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Comparisons]

Research Papers
937 words (2.7 pages)

Antigone By Sophocles ' Antigone Essay

- Antigone’s strength allows her to defend her brother’s honor against Creon, who wants to make a statement about traitors. However, both Antigone and King Creon commit faults while trying to protect the things they love. Antigone should not have died for her beliefs as it puts her loved ones and community in danger, and Creon should not have forbidden the burial of Polyneices as it angers the Gods and causes him great suffering in the end. Antigone is a strong willed character who is not afraid to defend her beliefs....   [tags: Oedipus, Sophocles, Antigone, Polynices]

Research Papers
1511 words (4.3 pages)

Antigone, By Sophocles And Antigone Essay

- In many literary works throughout the ages it is not uncommon to find characters that are representative of their time and place. Sophocles, in his play Antigone tries to portray just that in his characters Ismene and Antigone. However, the characters portray these ancient values in starkly different ways. While Antigone believes in divine rule above all, her sister subscribes to the rule of men – particularly Creon her king. Through the use of the characters Ismene and Antigone as foils, Sophocles conveys the conflict that emerges between the rule of man and divine rule....   [tags: Oedipus, Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone]

Research Papers
1519 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on Sophocles' Antigone - Creon and Antigone

- Creon and Antigone Antigone  Sophocles  When a dictator dies, his image and fame dies with him, but when a self-sacrificing individual dies, their legacy begins.  This statement is true because oppressed citizens do not fondly mention a mean ruler, such as Creon from Antigone, after he passes away.  Yet a martyr, such as Antigone, also from the story Antigone, is remembered for her self-sacrificing deeds.  Creon will not be remembered because he did not allow Antigone to bury her dead brother Polynices, and decides to execute Antigone for trying while Antigone’s legacy will live on because she has the courage to defy Creon, and chooses to sacrifice herself for Polynices' honor....   [tags: Antigone essays]

Free Essays
815 words (2.3 pages)

From Pilate to Pilate and Song to Song Essay

- Toni Morrison presents various different allusions to the Bible in her novel Song of Solomon. The most apparent examples of this are represented within the parallels between Pontius Pilate and Pilate Dead, along with the thematic plot of love present in the novel and in the biblical book Song of Solomon. Morrison shows a great deal of correlation between the Bible and Song of Solomon. She uses her creativity to present familiar characters in a new and different light. She is able to present the same characteristics in an original story that has a vast amount of biblical similarities in love, strength, and power....   [tags: essays research papers fc]

Research Papers
2471 words (7.1 pages)

Characterization of Antigone in Sophocles' Antigone Essay examples

-       Sophocles’ tragic drama, Antigone, presents to the reader a full range of characters: static and dynamic, flat and round; they are portrayed mostly through the showing technique. In “Sophocles’ Praise of Man and the Conflicts of the Antigone,” Charles Paul Segal takes the stand that there are two protagonists in the drama (which conflicts with this reader’s interpretation): This is not to say that there are not conceptual issues involved in the characters of Creon and Antigone. But the issues are too complex to be satisfactorily reduced to a single antithetical formulation....   [tags: Antigone essays]

Research Papers
2432 words (6.9 pages)

Essay on Sophocles' Antigone - Sophocles and Antigone

- Sophocles and Antigone Sophocles is an ancient Greek writer and philosopher, who wrote one of the greatest stories of all time Antigone.  Sophocles is also said to be one of the greatest minds in the ancient world. This paper talks about Antigone, achievements and times of Sophocles.       Sophocles was born about 496 BC at Colonus in Attica, near Athens and died 406 BC.  He lived in the most brilliant intellectual period of Athens.  Sophillus, his father, was a wealth Athenian citizen and gave him a sound education in music, gymnastics, and dancing.  He was well known as having a reputation for learning and esthetic taste.  He was well versed in Homer and the Greek lyric po...   [tags: Antigone essays]

Free Essays
1446 words (4.1 pages)

The Death of Antigone Essay

- In Sophocles’ Antigone, Antigone saw her action of burying her brother as a just one. It may not have been just in the eyes of Creon and the people of Thebes, but she was not concerned with the laws that mortals had made. Antigone saw the divine laws of the gods to be much more important than those of mortals. She felt that if she died while upholding the laws of the gods, that her afterlife would be better than if she had not. Our lives on this earth are so short, that to see a good afterlife over the horizon will make people go against the laws of humans....   [tags: Essays on Antigone]

Free Essays
1198 words (3.4 pages)

Related Searches

” 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 “sing”- 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 Pilate’s 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. Antigone’s character development stems from a desire to please the gods.
Zeus did not announce those laws to me.
And Justice living with the gods below
sent no such laws for men. I did not think
anything which you proclaimed strong enough
to let a mortal override the gods
and their unwritten and unchanging laws.
They’re not just for today or yesterday,
but exist forever, and no one knows
where they first appeared. So I did not mean
to let a fear of any human will
lead to my punishment among the gods.
I know all too well I’m going to die— how could I not?—it makes no difference
what you decree. And if I have to die
before my time, well, I count that a gain.

Antigone clearly believes in an afterlife and in the power of the gods. Her morals and standards come from them, and she fears their wrath. She holds their opinions and laws higher than those of mortal man, even the king. Antigone longs to earn their approval and praise. This intense faith drives her emotional attachment to her family, her disregard for the law, and also her brave view of her own death.
Pilate, on the other hand, displays no belief in any higher powers. She acts of her own free will, without fear or punishment by law or fear of social repercussions. She makes up her own standards and morals. Beyond her practical reality, she believes in one thing: her father. He was murdered in front of her, and she has never been able to get over it. She talks about it several times, and sees Macon Dead Sr.’s spirit on more than one occasion. All her supernatural guidance comes from him. She longs to know what he is trying to communicate to her and depends on him in times of trouble. When she thinks he told her to go back and bury someone she murdered three years earlier, she packs up and leaves her home and daughter to go find the corpse and bury it. She places great importance in his words, and goes to great lengths to follow them.
In conclusion, Pilate and Antigone have some overwhelmingly similar characteristics. Both strong and independent characters, they share a commitment to family members which borders on obsessive. Pilate and Antigone do not feel a need to follow the laws of the land simply because they are laws. Also, these two women face death without fear or weakness. Among these similarities, however, a deep difference arises between the two, leading one to believe that they might not be really similar at all. Antigone is driven by her faith in the gods, while Pilate lives without consequence- only trying to live up to her father. These two women have similar spirits- bold and confident, but the variance of beliefs puts it all into a different perspective. One can compare some of their qualities and actions, but they find their respective identities in such different places.

Works Cited
Awkward, Michael. “Unruly and Let Loose”: Myth, Ideology, Gender in Song of Solomon. Callaloo, Volume 13, No. 3, pp 482-498
Furman, Jan. Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon: A casebook.
Levy, Charles S. “Antigone’s Motives: A Suggested Interpretation, Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association.” Volume 94, 1963.
Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition. Salem Press, Inc., Sophocles, Antigone
Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition. Salme Press, Inc., Toni Morrison, Antigone
Return to