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Tale of Genji-Evanescence of Life

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 5 (1110 words)
Categories: Interpersonal relationship,Life,Marriage,Psychology,Relationship,Society
Downloads: 9
Views: 147

Man has always been the one that chases the woman, and the harder the woman is for them to get the more the man wants her. People tend to not appreciate what they have in front of them until they don’t have them anymore. The evanescence of a man’s relationship with a woman of importance is a recurring theme throughout the book. This is demonstrated frequently through Genji’s relationships with the women and people he cared about throughout his life.

In Genji’s life he encounters a variety of women through which the same routine occurs; he falls in love, he loses her then he suffers. An important aspect of this evanescence of women is the consolation phase which follows where male characters seek comfort for lost from women of similar physical traits. In The Tale of Genji, Murasaki Shikibu convey the idea of evanescence of important relationships through Genji’s life. Genji’s mother Kiritsubo, who is the Emperor’s true love, died when Genji was only three years old.

Genji had very little time with his birth mother; this foreshadows Genji’s whole life as he matures of how he continuously suffers from losing the women he cares about. When Kiritsubo passed away the Emperor was filled with unending sorrow, he “had clung all too foundly to his old love, despite universal disapproval, and he did not forget her now, but in a touching way his affection turned to [Fujitsubo], who was a great consolation to him” (Murasaki14). The Emperor seeks a substitute for his wife while Genji seeks a mother. The Emperor’s grief over Kiritsubo is eased when he meets Fujitsubo because she almost exactly resembles Kiritsubo. Although Genji does not remember his mother much, when the Dame of Staff told him that Fujitsubo resembled his mother, Genji “wanted always to be with her so as to contemplate her to his heart’s content” (Murasaki14). In order to find comfort, both Genji and his father seek substitution after losing the women they love.

Genji’s relationship with Fujitsubo was short lived. Fujitsubo was a mother replacement when Genji was young, and when Genji came of age he was denied access to her. Genji had an affair with Fujitsubo, falls in love with her and got her pregnant; even though no one found out he still cannot marry her because she is his father’s wife. When Genji was eighteen, he discovers Murasaki in the hills north of Kyoto. Though Murasaki was only ten years old, she already looked extremely similar to Fujitsubo. To Genji, Murasaki is a subsitude for Fujitsubo; he is drawn into her from the moment he saw her and was determined to adopt her no matter what. Genji told the nun that, “There is an unfathomable bond between her and me, and my heart went out to her the moment I saw her” (Murasaki 99). He falls in love with Murasaki because of her physical resemblance to Fujitsubo. In the end, Genji successfully took Murasaki away to his household before her birth father could make his proper claim.

Genji was a father status to Murasaki when she was young, but when she came of age Genji married her. Genji and his first wife Aoi’s romantic relationship is short lived, Genji and Aoi is married for a while, she passed away when he just began to care about her. Genji did not have a good married relationship with Aoi because he finds her cold and unsympathetic, but when Aoi died Genji was depressed. After giving birth Aoi became very sick, Genji went to visit her, “The sight of her lying there, so beautiful yet so think and weak that she hardly seemed among the living, aroused his love and his keenest sympathy. The hair streaming across her pillow, not a strand out of place, stuck him as a wonder, and as he gazed at her, he found himself unable to understand how for all these years he could have seen any flaw in her” (Murasaki176). Genji did not appreciate or notice Aoi’s beauty until he loses her. After the Emperor died, Genji’s power and influence declined.

Genji and Oborozukiyo also had a short relationship. They were caught in the act of making love by the Minister of the Right. After knowing that their affair was found out, Genji sent a message to Oborozukiyo saying that, “I am not surprised to have heard nothing from you, but I am sorrier and more disappointed than words can say now that I am leaving all my world behind” (Murasaki 235). Genji was refrained from seeing her and was exiled to Suma by Lady Kokiden. Throughout Genji’s life, he always falls in love with the women, then loses her and suffers in the end. It is also human nature that the harder it is to get something the more we want to get it. Genji fell in love with Utsusemi when he visited the governor of Kii in Kyoto. Utsusemi’s little brother Kokimi appealed to Genji, therefore, he took him into his personal service.

Kokimi helped Genji deliever letters to Utsusemi, and Genji “learned that there was no hope, her astonishing obduracy made him so detest his own existence that his distress was painfully obvious” (Murasaki 44). He tried hard to seduce her but kept on getting rejected. Genji got hurt when he was rejected by Utsusemi, “It infuriated him that her amazing resistance, far from disappearing, had instead risen to this pitch, and he was beside himself with outrage and injury, although he also knew perfectly well that strength of character was what had attracted him to her in the first place” (Murasaki 44).When Kokimi was unable to set up Genji to meet with Utsusemi, Genji tells him, “Very well, then you, at least shall not leave me” and had him lie down with him (Murasaki 44). Since Genji was unable to get Utsusemi, in a way Kokimi became a replacement for her.

In The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, Genji’s always have short lived relationships with the women he cares about. When it comes to love, Genji tends to not have self-control. He knew he should not pursue Fujitsubo, Oborozukiyo, and many other women, but still he does it. Therefore, Genji has to suffer from constantly losing the woman he loves as the consequence to his actions. After falling in love, losing his love, and suffering, Genji always looks for someone who is physically similar as a subsitution. When the first object of desire proves to be out of reach, attention is naturally transferred to the next best thing.

Murasaki, Shikibu, and Royall Tyler. The Tale of Genji. New York: Viking, 2001. Print.

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Tale of Genji-Evanescence of Life. (2016, Dec 26). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/re-tale-of-genji-evanescence-of-life-essay

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