An examination of character changes in Bridal Du and Oriole in the Yuan Dynasty Chinese plays “The Story of the Western Wing” and “The Peony Pavilion”.
This paper was written for a class in Yuan Dynasty Chinese drama. It examines the character changes that Bridal Du and Oriole go through in the plays “The Story of the Western Wing” and “The Peony Pavilion” and what this reveals about Chinese culture at that time.
“Oriole and Bridal Du both go through transformations during the plays “The Story of the Western Wing” and “The Peony Pavilion”. Bridal Du’s transformation from sexually open person to a proper, virginal person is made explicitly clear through her transformation from spirit to human and from her transition from existence in the world of the dead to the world of the living. Oriole’s transformation on the other hand, involves her change from a modest and proper young woman to one who goes against her mother’s wishes and has sex with a man of her choosing so that she secures a marriage with him. Each woman’s transformation either from sexual being to virginal being, as in the case of Bridal Du, or from virginal being to sexual being, as in the case of Oriole can be clearly seen through each woman’s views and actions regarding pre-marital sex and the respective degrees to which each breaks Chinese rules of propriety. Both women become respectable in the eyes of the theater-goer through their eventual marriages. By placing the sexually active women in the sphere of marriage, the women re-enter into a proper role that both of them had broken out of by choosing their own husbands and having sexual relations with these men. ”