Discuss the presentation of Lilith in Saramago’sCain. Is she, in fact, a witch? Why do the workers in the land of Nod seem to think that this is the case? What is their evidence? Consider the following statement Lilith makes about herself in an intriguing conversation with Cain:
No one is just one person, you, for example, are both cain and abel, And you, Oh, I am all women, and all their names are mine, said lilith (114)
What is the significance, and the implications, of Lilith’s statement about herself?
In Genesis, God uses the tremendous force of a great flood to destroy his creation. Darren Aronofsky recently directed a controversial film version of the well-known Genesis story. The film, Noah, focuses on those who survive the destruction (Noah, his family, and the animals who are taken into the ark). One critic responds to the film with the following comments:
Noah himself – who, as superbly played by Russell Crowe, subtly morphs from a dutiful servant of the Creator into a very human monster with a terrifying streak of delusional megalomania. Entrusted with mankind’s survival, Noah casts himself as mankind’s executioner; having lost all hope in humanity, he comes to believe that God has given up hope as well. Aronosfsky isn’t trying to smear an unassailable Old Testament hero here: He’s simply acknowledging the universal human capacity for goodness and evil, compassion and indifference, while also suggesting how men in the grip of God-given convictions can be lured to the brink of madness and beyond. And the director takes pains to show us how that madness comes about, in a crucial scene that peers, alongside Noah, deeply into the abyss of clawing, festering human depravity: Watching it, you almost come to understand exactly why even a magnanimous Creator might find a cataclysmic flood to be not merely the just response but the merciful one.
Is this an accurate analysis of the film and its presentation of Noah? Write an essay in which you respond to the film’s presentation of Noah. Does this version of Noah (as the critic seems to be suggesting) appear to be deluded, or obsessed to the point of madness?? Use the criticism above to help you think through the film’s presentation of this central figure in the Genesis flood story. You do not have to agree with the critic’s assessment of Noah, but you can use his interpretation to help you formulate your own response to the film’s “hero.” Remember to include specific examples from the film to support your discussion.
Compare the presentation of the flood episode in Saramago’sCain. A Novel with the imaginative presentation of this same story in Aronofsky’sNoah. Do you detect any similarities that connect these versions? Cain’s descendent Tubal Cain is a sinister presence throughout Aronofsky’s re-imagining and reworking of the Genesis account. Can the same be said of Cain in Saramago’srevision of the story? Or perhaps Saramago’s Cain is closer to Aronofsky’s Noah? Discuss.
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