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The tale of Kieu: Woman and her Ability to act liberally - Essay Example

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Name: Course: Tutor: Date: “The Tale of Kieu”: A Story of an Amorally Virtuous Woman and Her Ability to act liberally Descriptively morality refers to some codes of conducts such as social-personal interactions communications, interrelations etc that are maintained, obeyed and enforced by the authorities and members of a society…
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The tale of Kieu: Woman and her Ability to act liberally
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Download file to see previous pages The Vietnamese society that Nguyen Du portrays in “the Tale of Kieu” is regulated by a set of rules, laws, and restrictions, most of which are primarily determined by Confucian values and definitions of morality. Indeed Nguyen Du’s “the Tale of Kieu” is amoral in the sense that it is neither moral nor immoral. I say this because though according to Confucian values and morality, the protagonist’s Kieu’s actions are immoral, the main theme of the story is a challenge to the deficits of Confucian morality to deal with the particular crisis of a woman in Du’s society. On the other hand, the “Tale of Kieu” is not moral either, since Kieu’s liberal choice to love Kim to whom the patriarchal authority of her society does not consent, to choose prostitution to support her father and brother, do not offer any moral for Du’s society neither for any human society. Du’s poem only shows why and how a virtuous woman can act liberally and decisively and amorally to save her parents, defying the traditional patriarchal view of a woman’s frailty. Those who want to prove “the Tale of Kieu” as a moral or immoral story are prejudiced and bound by a moral obligation to his or her own society. In “the Tale of Kieu”, Kieu’s character is fraught with virtues that are universal and admired commonly by people of every society. Such virtuous character does not necessarily infer that Du’s story offers any moral for his society or for his readers, since virtue and moral are two different terms positioned on the same continuum. One’s rebellion against and disloyalty to the patriarchal authority of his or her family is a cardinal sin in a Confucian society. Kieu’s actions such as going against father’s wish, to adopt prostitution, to break her promise to marry her lover Kim, etc –all of these are the clear signs of an immoral Kieu. In the same fashion, Kieu’s actions are not moral either. Those who argue that the Tale of Kieu is moral, cannot prove that every individual in a society should follow Kieu’s path. If these arguers come out of their impulsive moral obligations to society, they will see that Kieu’s actions are neither moral nor immoral; rather Kieu is amorally virtuous. Morals are normally proposed as solutions to situations in general. Often they prove to be deficient to deal with situations in particular. So morals change from time to time, from place to place. Particularly, in Kieu’s case, she fails to conform to what is considered to be right by Du’s Confucian society. Until the end, she remains virtuous wholeheartedly. She promises to remain chaste and faithful to Kim. When Kim professes his love, Kieu replies, “To your kind bosom you have taken me / I'll etch your word, our troth, in stone and bronze” (Du, line 352). Even in the face of Kim’s overwhelming lust during their subsequent visits, she manages to keep herself chaste, consoling her lover: “While I'm alive, you'll sometime get your due” (Du, line 522). Simultaneously by doing so, she defies another Confucian value to remain loyal to parents, since her father does not consent to their love, while she keeps the Confucian value of women’s chastity intact. Kieu’s effort to keep her chastity intact does not necessarily mean that she wants to conform to the moral codes of the society. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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