Who are the characters in Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison? 

Who are the characters in Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison?


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junebug614 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Milkman, or Macon Dead III -- Milkman is arguably the novel's main character.  Most of the action in the novel surrounds Milkman and his life. His nickname, Milkman, was given to him as a young child when a man of the town saw his mother breastfeeding him well past a socially acceptable age. Milkman develops into a pretty complacent man, not really caring about anyone or anything in life. In Part 2 of the novel, he finds the true heritage of his ancestors and is able to transcend his earlier issues and becomes a better human, eventually learning how to fly. 

 Pilate Dead - Pilate is Milkman's aunt, and could also be considered a main character in the story. Pilate is born without a navel, a trait that isolates her from others and illustrates how very different a person she is comparatively. It is said that she can fly without ever leaving the ground. She is a loving character who treats others with kindness and respect

Macon Dead II and Ruth Dead -These are Milkman's parents who place him in a difficult position from the day of his birth. He was conceived by Ruth tricking Macon, and later Macon attempted to abort the baby. Once Milkman is born, his life is a constant struggle between his parents - who is closer to him, who he will believe concerning the other parent. His parents' relationship is not healthy, and each one distrusts the other. Neither is happy. Macon's love of money has isolated him from other members of the black community, as has Ruth's father's money. They aren't white, but they also don't fit in to the black community. The entire family is lonely on some level. 

Guitar - Guitar is Macon's best friend, whom he meets as a very young boy. Guitar is a part of the black community and on some level resents the fact that Milkman doesn't get more involved in black political affairs. Eventually, Guitar allows his obsession with fairness to turn his personality into evil - he joins The Seven Days and even tries to kill Milkman at the end of the novel. 

Hagar - Pilate's granddaughter and Milkman's cousin/lover. When they first meet, Milkman is obsessed with her. Eventually, they begin a physical relationship that lasts many years, but Milkman ends it abruptly through a note and some money. This action destroys Hagar emotionally, and she begins trying to kill Milkman about once a month. Finally, when Milkman goes away, she loses her mind completely in desperation of his love. She ends up out in the rain and eventually dies of complications from sickness, but mostly it is traces back to Milkman's abandonment of her.