Character Psychology of the Tale of Genji

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In this essay, the researcher will discus the psychological framework of gender relations and the hierarchy of the Heian society. Contemporary themes of psychosexual development such as the Oedipus complex play a significant role in the relationships and behavior of Hikaru Genji specifically and the court life of the Heian period in general…

Introduction

The depiction of many relationships in this novel, particularly the relationship between Genji and Fujitsubo parallel several aspects of contemporary psychological theories. The theory of the Oedipus complex puts forward that males are inherently attracted to their mother while harboring a sense of aggression toward their fathers. This tension is palpable in many instances in the novel.
A central motivation within the Heian court was for individuals to present a daughter to the Emperor or Heir Apparent in order to attain a higher degree of social status. Thus it was typical for the Emperor to engage in polygamous behavior. This process allowed his prestige to be more readily extended among people within the upper aristocracy (Tyler, 2001, xiii). In addition to the Empress, the Emperor had a number of Consorts and Intimates. A hierarchical structure was established with Empress holding the highest status with the Consorts and Intimates progressively lower in rank respectively.
Genji is the protagonist in Shikibu's novel. As the Emperor's son, Genji was born to an Intimate that lost her father and had little political sway in the aristocratic circle (Tyler, 2001, xiii). ...
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