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King Lear Comparative Essay

Autor:   •  September 15, 2018  •  1,419 Words (6 Pages)  •  278 Views

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Compared to the text, the catastrophe of Ran increases the intensity of pathos as it leaves the audience a profound and lasting sense of tragedy consciousness. While in the original play, Lear’s death indicates the restoration of social orders within the great chain of being and the closure of the tragedy. In Ran, the ending comes with a strong element of Nihilism related to Buddhist faith. Shortly before the end, Hidetora dies by the side of Saburo who has been nothing but loyal to his father and kingdom thoroughly. Aside from them is Kyoami howling for divine justice that should be found in God: “are there no Gods, no Buddha? Men prefer sorrow over joy, suffering over peace!”(Ran) The movie ends when blind Tsurumaru, the most vulnerable character, is left alone at the ruins of a castle with a portrait of Amida Buddha which he accidentally drops from the steep. Here Kurosawa, is making an allusion to Nihilism as he says: “and this [Nihilism] was there from the script stage, was that the Gods or God or whoever it is observing human events is feeling sadness about how human beings destroy each other, and powerlessness to affect human being’s behaviour” (Roger par9). While keeping a portrait of the Wisdom Buddha is a Buddhist practise of benediction, the symbol of hope. It is clearly known to the audience what awaits blinded Tsurumaru are the steep precipice and the unknown gloomy destiny. In this way, the denouement of Ran successfully develops a hopeless and dreary atmosphere among the Eastern audience by inverting the Buddhist creed. With plenty of space left for imagination and the reversal of the Buddhist faith, the catastrophe of Ran arouses the audience’s most far-reaching curiosity, concerns and compassion for the blindness and weakness of human beings.

Consequently, Ran is the most successful portrait of tragedy through its vivid manifestation of both the tragic flaws of the characters and the catastrophic denouement that rouses pathos and catharsis among the audience with different cultural backgrounds. After all, what makes a tragedy is the central message conveyed that allows the viewers to reflect upon the universal foulness of human beings regardless of time, languages and cultures. Though with a different occasion setting, language, and cultural perception from King Lear, Ran illustrates the fundamental dark side of human nature originated from pride and selfishness. Therefore, Ran not only absorbs tragic essence from the Shakespearean play, but well adapts the tragic nature into Eastern relevance. It most effectively represents the tragedy among all the adaptations as it testifies to its prominent technique of expressions and strong convictions about tragedy beyond the limitation of the Western ideology.


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