As the most influencing playwright in China, Cao Yu centers his initiatives and skills on depicting an illegitimate passion in female individuals, superimposing after it a multiplicity of motifs. An excellent measure of success is attained by the character of Zhou Fan-yi, the partner of the number Zhou Pu-yuan in Cao Yu's play: Thunderstorm, written in 1934. From a traditional sense, scholars compare Zhou Fan-yi with various female individuals like: Medea by Euripides, Anna Karenina by Lev Tolstoy and Abbie in Desire under the Elms by Eugene O'Neill. In this specific article, it first explores reason of the tragedy of Fan-yi's destiny and also talks about the significance of female awareness in Cao Yu's work from a feministic point of view.
Zhou Pu-yuan is an average representative of the patriarchal family hosts in old China. He is the grasp of a good wealthy family. His first partner, a housemaid named Shi-ping, bears him two sons: Zhou Ping and Ta-hai. Later Zhou Pu-yuan marries a comely, genteel, and well-educated young female, the main female character, Fan-yi, who is only several years over the age of her step-son: Zhou Ping. Before long, Fan-yi expands unsatisfied with her man whose passion declines and only thinking about his speculation of mine individuals. Fan-yi, whatever the social guidelines, steps into a clandestine affair with her step-son Zhou Ping, who then switchs his focus on a young maid, Si-feng, who shares the same mom as Ta-hai. The love between Zhou Ping and Si-feng enrages Fan-yi and she is resolved to have revenge by the end of the play by announcing the concealed affair. Driven by her fear of betrayal, Fan-yi compels Zhou Pu-yuan to avoid her paramour's leaving, but only to prompt her old partner to uncover his true marriage with Shi-ping, Si-feng's mother. Si-feng is unable to face the shame of her love with her brother, dashed out of our home and is also electrocuted with a bare live cable in the garden in a thunderstorm evening. The same destiny overtakes Zhou Chong, who attempts to save Si-feng, a fantasy lover in his eyes. Having witnessed such a family group tragedy, Fan-yi feels bitter remorse by begging her lover's forgiveness. Zhou Ping, who's finally reproached by his conscience, shoots himself to loss of life, leaving the eager woman crazy in a crazy world.
The tragic action of the play is completely convincing: the irreconcilable turmoil between the patriarchal man and refractory girl; the inhuman greediness of the person motivated by an ungratified possessive instinct; the icons of the house representing all the is strong, old and joyless; her endeavors to get away from the past through an action of incestuous love, and her physical passion which is detrimental and long constrained by the sense of sin.
In the first function, Zhou Pu-yuan categorically declares that Fan-yi is sick and must drink medicine. Located before a beloved boy and step-son who she secretly treasured, Fan-yi encounters a dilemma. Having is against her will also to nod to his partner; not taking in is humiliating her enthusiast.
Zhou Pu-yuan: Ping, persuade your mom to drink it!
Zhou Ping: Daddy! ---
Zhou Pu-yuan: go, kneel down and persuade your mom!
Zhou Ping: (come to Zhou Pu-yuan) Dad!
Zhou Pu-yuan: (loudly) kneel down!
(Zhou Ping looks at Fan-yi, Fan-yi tears; Zhou Chong shakes with anger. )
Zhou Pu-yuan: you! Kneel down!
(Zhou Ping was about to kneel) (Thunderstorm, 47)
Prior to this, Zhou Pu-yuan requires Si-feng send medicine to Fanyi to drink. She did not drink. Zhou Pu-yuan then orders Zhou Chong ask his mom to drink. She also refused. Zhou Pu-yuan finally requires Zhou Ping kneel down to beg his mom. Finally she represses her internal flame and makes a sacrifice in the front her step-son. The drug is eventually drunk, which signifies Fanyi's surrender to Zhou Pu-yuan's patriarchal electricity.
Fan-yi will not marry Zhou Pu-yuan for love but also for "well-matched" in terms of public and economic position demanded by parents' will. Thus, she actually is "a wronged woman to get started on with as she was 'tricked into the family and has a kid, Zhou Chong, who makes her evade all the more impossible. '" (ќЅ ҐЇ, 1984) Yet, she actually is a woman of gross passion to love who she shouldn't, and her erotic impetuosity is an amazing part of her character and not likely to be subdued by else's pressure. As Cao Yu identifies her first appearance in the play:
She is obviously a female of ruthless determination. The faint red of her mouth is the sole touch of color in her other sensible pale face. Her large dark eye and straight nose area give her face a certain beauty, though a beauty with a sinister cast to it. The eyes beneath her long, dependable lashes betray her unhappiness. Sometimes, when the smoldering fires of misery in her center blaze into life, those sight will fill with all the current anguish and resentment of any frustrated woman. The corners of her oral cavity are slightly drawn back, revealing her to be always a repressed woman controlling herself with difficulty with her delicate health, her secret sorrows, her brains and her love of poetry and books, she is a woman of old China; yet there's a primitive wildness in her which ultimately shows in her courage, in her almost fanatical reasoning, an in her abrupt, unaccountable power in occasions of turmoil. (Thunderstorm, 27)
Fan-yi can be an incarnation of contradiction and extremities. Though she actually is a well-educated, genteel girl, she cannot stand for an instant the cold-bloodedness and ruthless mental persecution of her husband, as her strenuous life, permeated by way of a restrained primitive enthusiasm, thirsts for freedom and love. When Zhou Ping, young, restless, involves her area to "offer comfort and understanding by permitting her in on the confidence that he, too, hates his daddy" no less resolutely than she does, Fan-yi, as if "in deep water to an outreached side, " is transferred to the loving commiseration of her step-son. She is willing to surrender her life and reputation in an exchange on her behalf genuine love. Later in the play, even when timorous Zhou Ping becomes fearful and wayward, Fan-yi quickly defends her conduct, contracting her attitude with his: "I don't repent it. I've never regretted anything. " Fan-yi, when attempting to convince her fan to elope, unshrinking asserts her innocence of the very deeds that Ping regrets:
Ping: (in an anguished voice) But surely you understand such a romance must appear revolting to anyone else?
Fan-yi: (coldly) Just how many times have I told you that I don't consider it like this? My conscience is not made that way. (Thunderstorm, 132)
Her bursting passion shatters the chains of morality, and her desire of revenge on her husband meets her desire of satisfying her pent-up sexuality. Despite being a female of old China in soul, Fan-yi, walks from the stifling encirclement of Zhou's House and bravely defies the feudal moral code by cherishing an unwavering love for her step-son, an unforgivable sin by the expectations of the sociable order.
The tragedy happens in the population of old China which really is a typical patriarchal culture.
Fan-yi repels Zhou's mansion psychologically but rely upon it in physical form. Although she sustains full resentment of Zhou Pu-yuan, Fan-yi has no ability to make it through independently. She is more reluctant to give up the pampered better half life if Zhou Ping did not betray her. She confronts with Zhou Pu-yuan because of disappointment and despair of love, not because she awakening awareness and pursuit of individuality.
Fan-yi devotes emotional devotion also excessive connection to Zhou Ping. When Zhou Ping rejects her get, she prays to him: "Ping, this is actually the last time that I beg you; I've never talk with someone such as this, now please have mercy on me. " and "please take me away --- take me from here. In the foreseeable future, even you live with Sifeng, I could endure it so long as you do not leave me together. " She sets obstacles on Zhou Ping and Sifeng, begs Zhou Ping, ask him for courtesy. She is meager and shameful. Her attachment to Zhou Ping imposes her guilty and coward emotions that she can not escape.
Fan-yi is a combination of paradox. She recognizes Zhou Ping's love to Si-feng, but won't agree to it. When she can not stop the love between them, she motivated Zhou Chong to run after Sifeng. This reflects a woman's selfishness. Fan-yi actually is a contradictory individual containing both the spirit of resistance of her own love, and a strong psychological reliance on her enthusiast.
Fan-yi's rebellious statement is fraught with conviction and self-assurance and her defiant identity demonstrates Cao Yu's wants that girl should be stronger in their personalities and should will, sooner or later, stand up to fight unequal pressure. Fan-yi finally emancipates, having smashed the shackles of the feudal ethical ideals that confine her physical body, which shows the playwright's affirmation of and approbation of the heroine's individuality and of her iconoclasm of the suffocating patriarchal order. Inside the center of Cao Yu, Fan-yi is a heroine, a heroine just like a rapid thunderstorm, chipping the early feudal autocratic family; she was such as a glowing dagger, piercing the darkness of the night time sky; she was like stunning fire, illuminating the hell packed with tyranny and prejudice. Cao Yu hates the obsolete, conservative feudal society, and pours his deep sympathy to the female character throughout his writing.
In the 1960s, combined with the vigorous development of the feminist movement, remarkable writing has evolved a lot. Introduction of feminist thought not only broadens people's artistic perspective, but also changes the male point of view which is presented to judge crisis because the feudal world (specifically considering the role of women), and lastly enforced an unprecedented effect on people's thinking ever before.
All the idols made by man, however terrifying they may be, are in point of fact subordinate to him, and that's the reason he will will have it in his power to ruin them.
--Simone de Beauvoir
Feminist critics see traditional literary works, especially the works of male freelance writers as the merchandise of an biased creation. Their misuse their own wishes by shaping a "false" image of women and their works reflects men' own ideology. Therefore, they may be skeptical of the female personas created by male writers and advocate female readers to employ a unique perspective that are different from the traditional reading of these works.
Feminists have pointed out that "in a patriarchal modern culture, the dominant groupings control life by managing speech electric power. They deprive women of the to speak, in order that they are long-term in a silent express. And therefore there is no ability for them to demonstrate. A silent group will inevitably become buried categories "(Kang Zhengguo, 1994:12). Fan-yi exactly belongs to 1 of the silent ones. In feudal modern culture, Fan-yi falls into the evil hands of Zhou Pu-yuan. In his callous, hypocritical mansion, she lost her liberty and love. Heavy choking air throws her into a cruel well. Since ancient China is an extremely patriarchal modern culture, the patriarch binds Chinese language women's life way, let women suffered more than men with a heart of family bondage. Patriarchal ancient society is an instrument to maintain the family system, as well as the stableness of the family. Zhou Pu-yuan's home is an average bourgeois family, finished and coagulated. Fan-yi is one of the victims of patriarchal contemporary society.
The works of Cao Yu has played out an indelible role for the reason for women's liberation, but based on the feministic critics, the explanation of the image of women deliberately exaggerated the original feminine lust. Fan-yi and Zhou Ping also belong to the characteristics of the initial works of the intimate lust. In today's sense, love at least happens on two conditions: You are that men and women love one another; Second is spiritual equality. These two factors, however, do not can be found on Fan-yi and Zhou Ping. So matching to Cao's writing, love between them two can be an original intimate lust. By this way, Fan-yi is referred to as a bad girl who dares to love her step-son. If from traditional moral viewpoint, it is indeed intolerable. But feminists suggest that scholars should review Fan-yi through a particular historical, social aspect in order to find a sympathetic understanding of this pathetic female.
In Cao Yu's works, women reject interpersonal ethics and even their lives, to go after freedom and joy. In real life, this kind of women is like jumping from one abyss into another more dangerous one. Their nature of level of resistance is admirable, however the ignorant behavior by the oppression of women is meaningless. According to the theory of feminist literary criticism, it is dangerous for ladies to put the worthiness of love equivalent to the value life as individuals. It is a natural right for women to find liberty, pleasure and love as men do. Playwright Cao Yu captures the paranoid and limitations of the women in the pursuit of love and put them correctly into the tragic destiny of Fan-yi. Her tragedy is no exception. Although she's a strong personality and a rebellious spirit, she lacks of groundbreaking capabilities; although she's a perseverant will and courage, she can not cope with the old feudal ethical code, decadent social custom and antiquated marriage system. When Zhou's feudal bad family is destroyed, her mental support is buried in the rubble, and their "love" tragedy is inescapable. In the old days, their lives, thoughts, ideals can not lead them toward your path. They were struggling to break through the shackles of people, families and modern culture but to handle the humiliating, cruel and inhumane closing.
The tragedy of the play displays the tragedy of the days. Now viewers do not unconsciously agree to the image of women portrayed by authors; yet they arranged on the security alarm and stand up to promote women's liberation in a feministic way: the Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler; they re-think of the Greek tragedy of Troy Women by Euripides and even pay great attention to anti-extreme-feminism plays like Oleanna by David Mamet. But we still need to focus on feminism, and we wish for more women-involved works. Development of female self-consciousness is a progress of human world. Nevertheless, struggling for their respectable needs and privileges is quite a distance to go. That is a tremendous obstacle of days gone by misleading moral and patriarchal ideals. It depends not only on the support of male community, but also on more women to beat their own shortcomings and conserve knowledge to create a more adult character.
Cao Yu, Thunderstorm. Beijing: Foreign Language Press, (1964) Translated by Wang Tso-liang and A. C. Barnes. P27-28.
Cao Yu, Thunderstorm. 138. Translated by Wang Tso-liang and A. C. Barnes. Quoted by Lau.
Cao, Yu. "Random Have a discussion on Playwriting, " Drama 7 (1980) P124-130.
Kang Zhengguo. Feminism and Books [M]. Beijing: China Social Knowledge Press, 1994.
Simone de Beauvoir. The Second Making love. Trans. H. M. Parshley. New York: Vintage Catalogs, 1989
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