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Character of Genji (The Tale of Genji)

Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji

Hikaru Genji is the leading role in Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji. The son of the Emperor and Kiritsubo and the narrative’s hero, Genji was born in 11th century Japan. Kiritsubo, the Emperor’s real love, is of inferior position of court. The malign and trivial envy of the other Emperor’s wives add to the psychological torment, which leads to her untimely demise, at a time when Genji is just three.

From the beginning, Genji astounds everyone with his unmatched good looks. In the narrative, he is depicted as the most fine-looking gentleman in the planet and he appeals to every woman. He is outstanding in all ways. He grew up in the court. In spite of his father’s undaunted dedication, in fact owing to it, the youngster is named Genji, which categorizes him as a commoner. The Emperor is aware that devoid of the powerful motherly relatives, Genji’s place as a crown prince (or the son chosen to take the reins as the next Emperor) would be uncertain, particularly after his demise. Genji is the second son of Emperor but he is assigned a commoners life on political basis and commences a profession as a royal officer since the Kokiden section will most surely cause him problems.

Genji is a conjured up person but it is imagined that the writer was motivated by some past personalities like Minamoto no Toru, a grandson of Emperor Saga thus a member of the Saga Genji clan. Hikaru Genji is seen from the starting volume known as “Kiritsubo” to the 40th one called “Illusion”. Genji was awarded the designation Hikaru no Kimi in his formative years. He is also called, in the novel, “Rokujo no In” at times truncated as “In”. His name is not at all mentioned throughout the narrative.

Maybe we get a clue of what kind of a protagonist he really is when he is illustrated as if he were dedicated to romances to the same time as he conducts himself in a serious way. This portrayal is related in fact to two conflicting kinds of fictional characters: the amorous or the artistic versus the serious or the loyal character. Genji embodies both these characters, and as such, he can be described as a new sort of the narratives character.

In the narrative as a whole Genji is equally a tragic protagonist, that is, not accepted in the social order, and a comic protagonist, that is, incorporated into the social order. However, in the four `Hahakigi’ chapters, in addition to predominantly in the `Y–gao’ chapter, he is a tragic-comical protagonist, in the sense that he is not precisely out of favor in the social order but discovers that he is detached from the social order. What’s more, the storyteller informs us that Genji’s parents-in-law are concerned about his having relationships on the side (which later turns out to be a justified concern). The speaker says, “If Genji’s emotions did not at times run soaring in secret” (24) eludes to the preliminary scene of the chapter “Ise Monogatari” or “Tales of Ise.” This is the so-named “peeping-scene.”

The technique of using skewed, nonetheless wide-ranging angles is one of the means by which the author makes her central character less “guarded” and thus more reasonably depicted. He is depicted in circumstances with Koremitsu, Y–gao, and when alone. Owing to all these different images of the Genji form in diverse circumstances and from diverse individuals’ point of view on him, he is surely more revealed. His traits are depicted, apart from the storyteller’s remarks and other characters’ view on him, by ways of conversation, soliloquy, poetry, account of nature (directly and otherwise). He thus can be said to be a “round” character considering that sense that he is seen from a range of points of view.



Jun 19 2012 , 12:36
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