Love Suicides on the Eve of the Koshin Festival
LOVE SUICIDES ON THE EVE OF THE KOSHIN FESTIVAL 1
Choose one character and do a close analysis of their actions androle in the play.
One of the characters in "Love Suicides on the Eve of the KoshinFestival" is Yaoya Hanbei who is a thirty-seven year old husbandto Ochiyo. Hanbei was a former samurai and was adopted by one of thefamilies that own a greengrocery in the city of Osaka, Japan. Thepersecution he and his wife Ochiyo go through result in themcommitting suicide since he had given Ochiyo’s father his word thatOchiyo would not return home as she had done when Omine gave her aletter of divorce.
Do they fulfill a particular role (protagonist, antagonist, comicsidekick, etc.)?
Hanbei fulfills the role of a protagonist. Being from the Samuraistock, though adopted by merchants, Hanbei stands out as an honorablecharacter that was ready to kill himself for allowing Ochiyo to betreated badly until Okaru disapproves of it. He loves Ochiyo andfaces a lot of opposition against their love with her especially fromthe mother who adopted him. Moreover, at the end of the play, being aprotagonist, he suffers a tragic end as a result of the efforts ofthe antagonist who was against and always frustrated his marriage toOchiyo.
Are they generally portrayed in a positive or a negative light?
Hanbei is portrayed in a positive light. He is described as aprosperous greengrocer who saw the continued prosperity of thegreengrocery that had been lucratively run by the adopting parentswho were the initial proprietors. Moreover, his coming to Ochiyo’sfamily was a relief to Shimada and Okaru. Hanbei is also portrayed asa hospitable man. After Ochiyo received her letter of divorce, Hanbeigoes to visit their home oblivious of what the adopting mother haddone. He carries presents for both his father-in-law as well asOkaru. He also swears that he never had the intention of divorcingOchiyo proving that he was a man of his word and who was loving andcaring.
Whateffects do their actions have on the story and its meaning (considerboth plot and theme)?
Hanbei’sactions have several effects on both the plot and the theme of theplay. First, when he promises the father-in-law that Ochiyo wouldnever again return home, he bound their marriage to the persecutionsof the mother who had adopted him. While he did not want todisrespect her due to her efforts to sustain him, he could not put upwith the dilemma of divorcing the one he loved. As such, the plot istwisted to a tragic end where Hanbei and the wife commit suicide toprotect their love that they wanted to last forever as promised toOchiyo’s father and sister.
Didyou find their portrayal stereotypical or surprising?
Hanbei’sportrayal is stereotypical and surprising. Being of the Samuraistock, he is portrayed as one ready to pay the price for a wrong doneon his behalf. He draws his sword just like a samurai would do readyto slay himself for making Ochiyo go through the pain of a divorceinitiated by Omine. Additionally, just like a samurai warrior, Hanbeikeeps his word to the father-in-law and decides to resolve theinterfamily conflict by taking his life instead of breaking the wordhe had given both Ochiyo’s father and sister. In normal situations,he could have assessed the pain of losing a daughter to that ofliving with a divorced daughter. However, due to his loyalty, he wasblinded and could not see the other viable alternatives.
Whatmight this character suggest about the playwright’s overallworldview and purpose in writing the play?
Hanbeisuggests that the playwright’s overall worldview and purpose inwriting the play were to elicit loyalty to the people that matter inlife. In his case, he remained loyal to Ochiyo by taking their lifeto ensure that they got happiness in another life.
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