vol. 5 No. 1 June 2021

A Comparative Study of the Ghost Literary Motif in Snow in Midsummer by Guan Hanqing and Hamlet by Shakespeare
Author:Cristina-Mădălina Dinu    Time:2021-09-22    Click:

A Comparative Study of the Ghost Literary Motif in Snow in Midsummer by Guan Hanqing and Hamlet by Shakespeare

Cristina-Mădălina Dinu

Page 125-134


Abstract: In classical Chinese literature, employing the literary motif of the ghost represents both the writers’ desire to escape the pattern of didactic literature promoted by Confucianism and their attempt to revolt against the rigidity of the Confucian dogma that is far too entrenched in reality and inhibits their creativity. Written during the Yuan Dynasty (1279– 1368) by Guan Hanqing (1225–1302), Snow in Midsummer presents the injustice of Dou’E who dies for a crime she did not commit, with the girl returning to the world of the living in the form of a ghost to obtain her justice. The motif of the vengeful ghost also appears in Shakespeare’s (1564–1616) play, Hamlet . In this essay, I will investigate comparatively the dramatic aesthetics through which the spirits are outlined in the two plays, the comedy used by Guan Hanqing and Shakespeare, respectively, in the scenes of the appearance of spirits, and last but not least, the religious substratum contained in the symbolism of these ghosts. After a contrastive analysis of the dramaturgical and aesthetic construction of the two spirits in these plays, I argue that, despite their belonging to two different cultural spaces, both authors question through the supernatural the moral values of the societies in which they lived.

Keywords: Snow in Midsummer, Hamlet, ghost, Guan Hanqing, Shakespeare, Shakespearean theater, zaju theater


Thank you for visiting our website. Designed by Tang Tianle

All Rights Reserved. Journal of Foreign Languages and Cultures, Hunan Normal University.