Glady's left out?

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Throughout the play, it is evident that this play has a humorous tone to it and is not to be taken all that serious. However, I did notice the parallels to the bible throughout the play. In fact, the characters have taken the roles of archetypes, or models, of Biblical and classical characters. For example, Henry is an archetype of Cain from the bible story Cain and Abel. In fact, Henry's name was changed from Cain to Henry after he killed his older brother Abel. We know Henry's name was changed from Cain to Henry because when Henry is talking on page 24 he says,

Henry: "Mama, today at school two teacher forgot and called me by my old name...Right out in class they called me: Cain." (Wilder).

In the bible story, God favors Abel over Cain and out of jealousy Cain kills his brother Abel. This then helps us imply that George Antrobus represents Adam and Maggie Antrobus represents Eve. Another way I found out that Maggie represents Eve is because throughout the play George refers to her as Eva. For example, in the singning telegram George made up it says,

Telegraph Boy: "Happy w'dding ann'vers'ry, dear Eva; happy w'dding ann'vers'ry to you" (Wilder 20).

However, for the character of Lily Sabine, her parallel role is not so obvious unless you have a little knowledge of Hebrew myths. I myself had to do a little research to find out who Sabine represented and I found out she is an archetype of a myth of Lilith in the bible. There are Hebrew legends that Adam had a wife named Lilith before Eve, but "there is no evidence of this in the Bible" ("Who was Lilith..."). According to legends, Lilith was apparently an evil woman who committed adultery with Satan and "produced a race of evil creatures" ("Who was Lilith..."). However this is all a legend, but there is a passage in the bible that is said to be an occurrence of Lilith. This passage is Isaiah 34:14 which states "The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest." She is the screech owl and in some translations screech owl is translated as being night owl, night monster,  vampires, and even Lilith.
Also, she could be a reference to The Rape of Sabine Women. Legend says Romans abducted Sabine women to populate their newly built town. I thought of this because of the dialogue from Maggie to Sabine when she says,

"When Mr Antrobus raped you home from your Sabine Hills, he did it to insult me." (Wilder 14).

Lastly, I never noticed a parallel for Glady's, yet she is George's favorite. Is there a reason for this? What is her function in the play?

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Works Cited:
"Who was Lilith / Lillith? Does the Bible say anything about Adam having another wife before Eve?" Bible Questions Answered. 03 Mar. 2009 <http://www.gotquestions.org/Lillith.html>.

5 Comments

Aja Hannah said:

Wow! That's a lot of good research! I was actually wondering what that last quote meant. You should definitly use this blog for depth next portfolio. And wow you also are the first to comment again!

I actually wrote about the Bible too. And I'm glad you could shed some light. Gladys could represent Mary the mother of Jesus. At the end, she has a baby and it is never clear who the father is or how she had it during war time. Also, throughout the story Gladys is pure and young, not flaky or seemingly old enough to know other men.

Alicia Campbell said:

Your interpretation really helped shed some light on the play! Maybe the point of having the characters represent these "heavy-hitters" of the bible yet go by different names is to show that we are all descendents of these biblical figures. Although we are distanced from them by what we perceive as a considerable amount of time, we are all subjected to the human condition. In other words, although we read about these biblical figures, we can find them existing for all people at all times attempting to deal with basic human impulses, desires, and the like.

Christophert Dufalla said:

Bravo! I was thinking about the Biblical allusions, myself, but somehow the Adam and Eve one went right over my head. The research about the Lilith myth is actually quite fascinating. Now that I look at it, Wilder's play is almost like an inverse Genesis: instead of facing creation, the characters are facing possible Armageddon. Yet somehow, in the midst of what appears to be doom, the characters manage to rise above it and continue on with life. Perhaps Henry is an embodiment not only of Cain, but also of the Dragon: Satan's means for the world's destruction in the Book of Revelations.

When reading this I took notice to Henry's name being changed from Cain to Henry but other than that no biblical allusions flashed in my mind until I read this. Great research and thank you for helping me and I'm sure other people to understand this play more clearly.

Sue said:

I got the biblical conotations as well, at least the stuff about cain able. I missed the lilly thing which was really interesting, good eye, I wouldn't have thought to check into that one. I have to admit I probably took this play too seriously, I found it to be kind of depressing to be honest, oh well, I appreciate that you have pointed out that it's supposed to be funny.

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Sue on Glady's left out?: I got the biblical conotations
Chelsie Bitner on Glady's left out?: When reading this I took notic
Christophert Dufalla on Glady's left out?: Bravo! I was thinking about th
Alicia Campbell on Glady's left out?: Your interpretation really hel
Aja Hannah on Glady's left out?: Wow! That's a lot of good rese