The Tale Of The Heike Essay

1075 words - 5 pages

The Tale of the Heike is a Japanese epic poem relating the rise and eventual, inevitable fall of the Taira clan, also referred to as the Heike, during the end of the 12th century. The epic consists of thirteen books. Within the first five, the consolidation of power by the Taira is outlined featuring the “tyrant” Taira no Kiyomori. After Kiyomori’s death in the sixth book, the focus shifts to the rival clan, the Minamoto or Genji, as they orchestrate the complete destruction of the Taira and establish themselves as the dominant house. In contextualizing this work’s importance, Heike is regarded as a “seminal masterpiece of Japanese culture” on the level of The Tale of Genji.
Since the epic has a history of being performed as well as read, the physical structure of the passages can vary significantly. Royall Tyler, the translator, chose to incorporate three formats into the text, those of speech, recitative, and song. The purpose of doing so is meant to be reflective of how the text would have been presented in a performance setting. The formats are analogous to “spoken dialogue, recitative, and aria in oratorio or opera.” This manifests as a justified prose against the right margin, “highly irregular lines that start at the left margin,” and verse respectively.
When examining the plot structure of the poem, a distinctive pattern emerges. The story is frequently interrupted with anecdotes that are either directly or indirectly related to current events. This often takes the form of recounting historical precedents as a way of contextualizing a character’s actions or, if the precedent is lacking, perhaps to note a deviation from tradition. For example, when Kiyomori resolves to move the capital to Fukuhara, the chapter pauses in order to detail that such an event had occurred multiple times in the past. However, his decision is still condemned as the capital had remained stationary for centuries due to the divine attributes of the site.
Despite the Taira’s vilified persona, the clan possesses an ambiguous position on the continuum of good and evil. This is perhaps most effectively exemplified by the chief patriarch, Lord Kiyomori, and his eldest son, Shigemori. The two characters represent multiple facets of the clan. Kiyomori is clearly viewed as a negative figure, and much of the conflict in the epic is attributed to him. The opening lines make the assertion that even for a great man, those who indulge in arrogance “do not long endure.” Despite this, Kiyomori does possess redeeming qualities. He restores the Itsukushima Shrine, which results in divine favor being bestowed upon him and his kin. Ultimately, Kiyomori is not evil by nature. Rather, it is a state brought on by an absence, a lacking, of the embodiment of key religious themes, which results in misguided choices and conflict. Shigemori, on the other hand, is portrayed as a sort of religious ideal and the antithesis to Kiyomori in many respects.
While...

Find Another Essay On The Tale of the Heike

The Tale of Genji Essay

1791 words - 7 pages desirable to the hero, while his continual gestures of desire for her renew their connection. In this way, the ideal woman and the ideal man are linked yet removed from the beginning of the tale, creating an undercurrent of tension that adds to the depth of Genji Monogatari. Works Cited Shikibu, Murasaki. Tyler, Royall, ed. and trans. The Tale of Genji. Penguin Group, New York: 2001.

A Tale Of The Lover Essay

1371 words - 5 pages A Tale of the Lover.A number of weeks after the rich man came home with the lover was the time when he exposed her to all he knew. The moment the lover emerged from the shadows of the spiraling staircase, questioning looks flew around the room. Who was she? Where had she come from? Her sheer beauty was like a bright light that no one wanted to shield their eyes from, like the discovery of a sparkling diamond mine. The air thickened with envy

The Tale of Sleeping Beauty

645 words - 3 pages When Tartar's talks about the original folk tales as being cleaned up in content and in prose by the Grimm brothers so that they would not be rejected by the “sensibilities of the reading public,” it sounds like they're taking the stories of one social group, the folksy people, to make them acceptable to another social group, the literate public. The 'sensible reading public' were offended at the crudeness of the folk's tales, with readers such

The Tale of Robin Hood

2771 words - 11 pages Merry Men of Sherwood Forest. INTRODUCTION The tale of Robin Hood has evolved into one of the greatest legends of all time and has fascinated the minds of all who have heard about it. The stories surrounding Robin Hood and his adventures took place in the forests of Sherwood and Barnsdale dating back to the fifteenth century. The first question that comes to mind when dealing with this legend is who was the real Robin Hood? Amazingly

The Telling of a Tale

678 words - 3 pages Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “Tell-Tale Heart” focuses on the murder of an old man by an unknown narrator. The old man is said to have an “evil eye”, however, there is never an explanation for why the narrator believes this. The narrator then murders the old man and begins to describe why the murder is justifiable, and that he is not “mad”. A plausible theory for the death of the old man could be that the narrator suffers from paranoid

The Wife of Bath’s Tale

3009 words - 12 pages “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is a story about a widow who took a pilgrimage to the town of Canterbury with an array of dynamic characters whose diverse backgrounds allowed them to share their stories with one another to make the long journey more interesting. The widow named Alisoun in the “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” told the tale of her experiences with her five past husbands and a story about a knight

The Tale of Two Cities

748 words - 3 pages The Tale of Two Cities has many assorted themes. The themes are interconnected with each other. Theme plays a big part in the plot a book. The opinions formed by the audience, of the characters, are also affected by the themes in a book. Three themes in this book are sacrifice, love and hate, and death; these themes show up many times in this book. The themes in this book are shown through the characters and their actions.Sacrifice shows up in

Making the Tale of Lucetta

1449 words - 6 pages Here begins the tale of Lucetta: When you see the photos from a long time ago you now realize how many years have passed by and that many memories were now forgotten. Sometimes it’s good to forget what has happened in the past but then sometimes the past may leave very good memories that you should always remember forever. This is a tale of an elderly lady named Marguerite was very quiet and had barely said any words and when she had spoken she

the Tale of King Arthur

2536 words - 11 pages Who exactly is King Arthur? King Arthur is a famous medieval and mythological figure in literature. We know him as the head of Camelot and the leader of the Knights of the Round Table. Despite having gone through trials and triumphs of being a leader, King Arthur overcame the struggles to be an influential hero. The legend of Arthur also emphasized Guinervere the Queen, Lancelot, Mordred, and the quest for the Holy Grail. There is not a

The Tale of Green Harbor

996 words - 4 pages In the Green Harbor you will find waves of fresh vibrant green valleys and animals that jump from one hiding spot to another. Swaying palms filled with ripe fruit just waiting to be picked. The smell of the fresh morning air is sweet and warm, with peaceful winds that provides a relaxing breeze. Wind Chimes can be heard from the houses and the smell of the fresh tropical ocean that is not far from the small community near by, where little

The Dark Tale of Rap

1477 words - 6 pages According to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English 2004, rap music is defined as a type of popular music in which the words of a song are not sung, but spoken in time to music with a steady beat. Rap music, like other genres, is a “localized form of cultural expression” (Bennett 1999aa, 77; 1999b). It also indicates that rap music is one of many genre of subcultures that expresses its view of the main culture through songs; In the United

Similar Essays

The Tale Of The Heike Essay

1055 words - 4 pages The Tale of the Heike is a collection of tales that depict the livelihood of warriors during the Heian and Kamakura period. These tales illustrate that warriors during this period spent their existence dedicated to their duty to the Buddhist Law and that the growing contention arose from each warrior’s devotion and loyalty to the Buddhist Law. The tales communicate that a warrior’s duty was to protect the Buddhist Law which in turn meant to

The Way Of The Warrior In The Tale Of The Heike

1306 words - 5 pages The Way of The Warrior in The Tale of The Heike Heike Monogatari, with its multitude of battles and skirmishes, provides a wonderful chance to analyze the way of the warrior in ancient Japan. There aren't a great number of surviving works from this period that show in such great detail both the brute and the compassion of the Japanese warriors. They followed carefully a distinct set of principles which made up the well-rounded warrior

The Tale Of Genji Essay

2145 words - 9 pages The Tale of Genji is seen as many things, whether it is the first novel written or the world’s first psychological novel. In this book, Murasaki Shikibu tells the story of Hikaru Genji and his experiences. The Tale of Genji is considered the world’s first novel; the story takes us through the birth and death of Genji, a smart, attractive, and talented boy. Genji, is the second son of Emperor Kiritsubo and as the son of an emperor Genji’s life is

The Tale Of Boudicca Essay

1555 words - 7 pages “Great leaders undergo reinvention throughout different periods of history” to what extent does this statement reflect the image and interpretation of Boudicca since the first century AD? The tale of Boudicca, the warrior queen dates back to 60 AD, when the Celts rose up in revolt against their Roman oppressors. Yet the only ancient written sources about the battle today are riddled with bias and fabrications. All due to the fact that history is