The Character of Pilate in Song of Solomon

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The Character of Pilate in Song of Solomon

The character Pilate in Song of Solomon is portrayed in the role of a teacher or "guide". She tends to be a spiritual leader as well as a spiritual guide for Milkman and the rest of the society. It could be argued that she is the main cause of Milkman's liberation and better being. She represents the motherly love and gives the spiritual education that Milkman needs, in order to go through the monomyth process. She teaches Milkman the necessities of life not with severity but rather by means of being her own self. Her being connected to her heritage and traditions is also involved in changing Milkman into the hero. Pilate is not the typical teacher that a reader could expect to have in his or her classroom. Pilate is to a certain extent, very mother like and caring towards Milkman. She gives Milkman what he feels he can't get at his rich home, care and affection. When Milkman is alone, it is at Pilate's house that he finds comfort, not only from the people but also from the surroundings of the house. He feels comfortable being in a neighborhood of people that are of lower class than him. Pilate takes on the role of mother to Milkman by showing how a family is supposed to be, which is not divided like his house, but rather caring and loving towards one another, like the environment at Pilate's house. As Joseph Skerrett points out, Pilate does begin teaching Milkman, starting from their very first meeting. Her whole lesson with how the word "hi" sounds like the "dumbest" word and that if someone was to be greeted with a hi, they should "get up and knock you down" seems to get Milkman to notice her. Her role as a parental guide changes to that of one of the teacher and she tries to teach him what is right and wrong. She exemplifies to Milkman how life should be led. She shows him how goals in life should be aimed for and how they should be accomplished. For example, her whole lesson on how to make the perfect egg shows Milkman how even something as little as frying an egg has consequences to it.
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