Antigone vs. Pai
Some Things Never Change There are many examples of past ideas and controversies that have arose once again in modern day situations. Although a lot of controversies get resolved, many do not and end up arising again. A great example of this comes from the play Antigone by Sophocles and the film Whale Rider by Niki Caro. In both the film and the play, a woman of royal decent is going against a leader for what she feels is right. Although Antigone dies in the end of Antigone, Pai from Whale Rider convinces the leader and lives a happy life.
Pai and Antigone were very similar characters because of the problems they faced. First, Pai and Antigone were both women who stood up to a male-led society. Second, they were both listened to by the gods while the leader was not. Finally, they were both willing to die for what they felt was right. Both Pai and Antigone stood up to something they did not believe was right. As it turns out, both the things they stood up to were male-led societies. In Antigone, the king says to his son, “And no woman shall seduce us. If we must lose, let’s lose to a man, at least! Is a woman stronger than we? ” (792).
The king is saying that he does not want to lose to a woman. He believes that men are stronger than women and does not want to be embarrassed by losing to Antigone. In Whale Rider, Pai stood up to her grandfather and one time he got angry and said, “You have broken the tapu of this school… The knowledge that’s been passed down from your ancestors… from my grandfather to me, to those boys… It’s broken! ” (34) The leader is yelling at Pai for learning something only the boys are supposed to know. This is because the leader is trying to find the next leader and he thinks that it can only be a boy.
Although both Antigone and Pai stood up to something much bigger than them, there is something that helped them along the way. Since Antigone and Pai both stood up to something with much more power than them, they needed help. Antigone and Pai both had the gods on their side during the whole thing. Although both the leaders tried praying to the gods, they did not get a response. In Antigone, the leader tries crying to god by saying, “O God, I am sick with fear. Are there no swords here? Has no one a blow for me? ” (807) The leader has just lost his wife, niece, and son and is overwhelmed by the deaths.
Although he asks god to take his life to, they do not respond. In Whale Rider, the leader has just found out that none of the boys that he was training to be leader were the one and Pai said, “He was calling to the ancient ones, asking them to help him… but they weren’t listening. So i tried… and they heard me. ” (38) The leader was trying to ask the gods for help but as Pai said, they did not respond. Instead, Pai tried calling to the gods and they did respond by shoring all of the whales. Since Pai and Antigone were listened to while the leaders were not, they had a great advantage.
Although they had a great advantage, they were both still willing to die for what they believed in. In Antigone, Antigone is talking to her sister about what she feels she should do and says, “But I will bury him: and if I must die, I say that this crime is holy… ” (774) Antigone is telling her sister that although she will most likely be killed as a result of doing what she feels is right, she is willing to take the chance and do it anyways. Pai does something very similar when she says, “I wasn’t scared to die. ” (45) Pai was riding the largest whale back into the water in order to save it and ends up being pulled far out into the ocean.
But Pai did not care. She was willing to die for the cause she believed in. Pai and Antigone were both extremely devoted to what they felt was right and the fact that they weren’t afraid to die for the cause makes the stories extremely meaningful in many ways. Because of the problems they faced, Pai and Antigone were very similar characters. Both stood up to a male-led society and were listened to by the gods while the leader was not. But the thing that changes it all is the face that they were willing to die for what they believed in. Supporting a cause is one thing, but devoting your life to it can change everything.
The title of this essay is Some Things Never Change because even though we have these stories to tell us what we have done wrong in the past, there will always be hatred because of race, gender, religion, and so many more things. And the sad thing is that there is no way to end it all comletely. Works Cited WhaleRider. Dir. Niki Caro. Perf. Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, and Vicky Haughton. Alliance, 2002. Sophocles. Antigone. Prentice Hall Literature: Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes. Ed. Kate Kinsella, et al. Upper Saddle River: NJ, 2002. 772-808.