Heroes in "Death and the King's Horseman" and 'The Tale of Genji"
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The paper examines the representations of heroism in "Death and the King's Horseman" and "The Tale of Genji" and highlights the parallel aspects of characterization of the principle protagonists, Elesin and Genji. The paper relates that both are sired by emperors and embody the physical, social and personal prowess revered in their respective cultures as being indicative of the loftiest form of specimens these societies have to offer. The paper shows how these similar traits brand both young men heroes, and reveal as much about their individual societies as they do about the characters, the authors, and the books themselves.
From the Paper:"The social status of both Elesin and Genji is largely responsible for their representations as heroic characters in each of their tales. Elesin is the son of a recently deceased king as well as the king's primary horseman, both of which give him a social distinction virtually unparalleled throughout his society. As such, Elesin represents the quintessential embodiment of Yoruba culture, as the following quote, (in which Elesin feigns insult before a group of women who beg his pardon through the female character Iyaloja), readily indicates. "If we offend you now we have mortified the gods. We offend heaven itself. Father of us all, tell us where we went astray. (She kneels, the other women follow) (p.16)." The prominence of Elesin's social status and its affect upon his society is fairly apparent in this quotation, particularly since Elesin has not actually been offended and is merely pretending to be insulted. Yet his perceived displeasure is likened to the offending of deities within this culture ("we offend heaven itself"). By virtue of such high regard among his people, Elesin can be regarded as heroic--particularly since the definition of a hero entails extraordinary people proving to be so by attempting or accomplishing deeds of magnitude. Elesin is willing to die to accompany his kingly father to the afterlife, which is regarded as distinctly heroic in traditional Yoruba culture."
Cite this Analytical Essay:
Heroes in "Death and the King's Horseman" and 'The Tale of Genji" (2013, May 28) Retrieved January 28, 2022, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/heroes-in-death-and-the-king-horseman-and-the-tale-of-genji-153394/
"Heroes in "Death and the King's Horseman" and 'The Tale of Genji"" 28 May 2013. Web. 28 January. 2022. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/heroes-in-death-and-the-king-horseman-and-the-tale-of-genji-153394/>