Rashomon

Rashomon by Akutagawa Ryunosuke takes place at the gate called Rashomon in Kyoto. The devastated city had no time to repair the rusting gate. It had become a dark place where unidentified corpses were abandoned. A servant that had gotten dismissed by his master sits on the steps in the pouring rain wondering if he should become a thief to make a living. He sees a fire by the top of the stairs so he sneaks up and looks. There is an old woman pulling hair out of the corpses. By the sight of this, he cannot hold in his anger, he pulls out his sword and pushes the old woman on the ground. She told him, making wigs with the hair was keeping her alive. After a little thinking, he pulls off her kimono and runs off deciding that he had to steal to eat. He abandons her naked on the stairs and disappears into the night.
Character. There are two characters, the servant and the hag. The servant had served a samurai for a few years; however, due to the decline of Kyoto, was dismissed. The hag or old woman's past is unknown, for the only information the reader has is that she is found pulling out hair from the corpses to make a wig. Both seem like real people with characteristics that are naturalistic. The servant shows his strength and social class with his sword and physical power. The hag has no class but represents the lower class that is striving to live. The character's action questions the reader about the relationship between human nature and inner self. The dichotomy of morality and immorality are correlated through the characters. The servant had decided not to steal before entering Rashomon holding up his morality, however after the hag's speech about selling hair to survive, he changes. His morality disappears, as he reaches out for her kimono, sending him into the lower class equal to the hag. The hag is almost like a devil. The servant himself is transformed into one through their interaction. Selfishness is a theme s…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *