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Is Billy Pilgrim a Christ Figure?

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Thekie Degen Libby Scholz

on 17 March 2011

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Transcript of Is Billy Pilgrim a Christ Figure?

Is Billy Pilgrim a Christ figure? Does he follow the archtype of a Christ figure? Birth Sacrifice Teachings Death Birth 196
Billy staying in innkeeper's stable in Dresden
Humble beginning The fact that Billy's birthplace was Illium, New York (a city existant only in Vonnegut's works) acts as foreshadowing to his Christ-like importance because Illium is also the name of the classical hero Achilles' birthplace. The epigraph states "The cattle are lowing/The Baby awakes/But the little Lord Jesus/No crying He makes"
The fact that the first thing you read is an allusion to Jesus, shows Vonnegut's intension that Billy be compaired to Him. The epigraph in Slaughterhouse 5 states:
"The cattle are lowing,
The Baby awakes.
But the little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes."
Quoted from the well known Christmas carol, Away in a Manger, this conveys the idea that from birth, Jesus did not cry. Similarly, Billy Pilgrim seems to have spent his life not allowing himself to cry. Despite his pitiful appearance and disposition and despite the hardships he goes through as a prisoner of war, Billy weeps only once during the war, and it's for the horses, not for himself. Re-Birth S ... Is Billy Pilgrim a Christ Figure? Jesus is described as the lamb of God (biblically, a sacrificial lamb): "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29) Similarly, Billy is sent to the front innocent and unprepared, a figurative sacrifice to the horror of war. "Last came Billy Pilgrim, empty-handed, bleakly ready for death... He had no helmet, no overcoat, no weapon, and no boots." He is like a lamb to the slaughter. Visual Parallels Jesus and Billy learned the concepts behind their each of their teachings from comparable sources. Jesus: from God
Billy: from the Tralfalmadorians Omniscient beings Challenged widespread beliefs. Jesus: taught that God was a loving entity, and, amongst many controversial stances, challenged the idea of an "eye for an eye" society. Billy: taught the Tralfalmadorian concept of time, and death. Jesus died as the result of his teachings; and Billy imagines himself dying for them. Achilles Achilles Jesus and Billy both are born as prophets later in their lives. Up until that point, they were average men learning the roles of their fathers: Jesus was being trained as a carpenter and Billy was studying optometry. Jesus and Billy were both born into humble surroundings. Jesus' second birth was his Baptism.
"And Jesus when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him"(Matthew 3:16). Billy's second birth was his journy to Tralfalmadore.
"It was a flying saucer from Tralfamadore, navigating in both space and time, therefore seeming to Billy Pilgrim to have come from nowhere all at once..." (75) And so "the heavens were opened" to him too. Apart from the fact that Billy's lack to preparation seemingly makes him a sacrifice to war, his cobbled together outfit enhanced his thoroughly pathetic appearance. He is described as looking "like a filthy flamingo" (33). Jesus died in the course of preaching what he believed, and Billy thinks he does (although in reality, his murder by Lazarro is imagined. Both were killed by men they knew. Jesus was betrayed by Judas, one of his followers. Billy is also described as having "a random, bristly beard" (33) and although Jesus is not directly described in the Bible, he is very commonly depicted as having a beard, and it is an attribute that has become strongly associated with him. Because they represent those less fortunate, their downtrodden appearences serve as a reminder of their own sacrifices and trials in their quest to help out the underdog. And Billy by Paul Lazzaro, a fellow prisoner of war.
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