"Motokiyo and Nobumitsu Questions for Alfred J. Drake's English 242: World Literature 400-1600 CE, Spring 2009 at Chapman University"



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Assigned: Motokiyo's Atsumori (2350-55) and Haku Rakuten (2356-61), Nobumitsu's Dojoji (2361-70).

Atsumori (2350-55)

1. What role does the chorus play? How, for example, do the chorus take the place of "action"?

2. Explain, in Buddhist terms, the nature of Atsumori's obsession -- what is his error?

3. How would you describe the plot, the "action," of this play? If it represents something, what does it represent?

Haku Rakuten (2356-61)

4. What contrast does the script offer between Japanese poetry and Chinese poetry? How do the Old Fisherman and the Chorus describe or define Japanese poetry?

5. Research the history between Japan and China at the period referenced by the play. Why the strong identification of art with national pride?

Dojoji (2361-70)

6. What comic elements can you find in this play? But what is serious about it? What differentiates this play from the other two we have read -- aside, of course, from the basic plot differences?

7. General question -- what reflections do you have regarding western drama (ancient or modern) after reading these three Japanese Gno dramas?

Edition: Lawall, Sarah, ed. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 2nd edition. Volumes 1ABC. New York: Norton, 2002. ISBN A = 0-393-97755-2, B = 0-393-97756-0, C = 0-393-97757-9.