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Chunhyangjeon

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Title: Chunhyangjeon  
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Language: English
Subject: Legend of Chun Hyang, Korean literature, Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang, Ryoo Seung-bum, Chunhyangga, Jae Hee, Han Chae-young, Kim Hee-sun, Gungnyeo, Hong Jong-u
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Chunhyangjeon

The Chunhyangjeon (춘향전, 春香傳 lit. "The Story of Chunhyang") is one of the best known love stories and folk tales of Korea. It is based on the pansori Chunhyangga.[1]

Date of composition and author are unknown, and the present form took shape 1694~1834 from the most famous of the five surviving pansori tales, the Song of Chun Hyang.

Main characters

  • ChunHyang, Sung is the main female character, kisaeng Walmae's daughter. She is very beautiful and also talented in poetry and arts. She fell in love with MongRyong.
  • MongRyong, Lee is the main male character who is the son of a Government official. He is intelligent and handsome. He fell in love with ChunHyang.
  • HyangDan is ChunHyang's servant. She is devoted to ChunHyang.
  • BangJa is MongRyong's male servant.
  • Walmae is ChunHyang's mother and used to be a kisaeng.

Plot summary

Yi Mong Yong who always studies hard, goes out to get some fresh air. He sees ChunHyang on a swing and it's love at first sight. He orders his servant, BangJa to ask ChunHyang to come to him but she refuses. Yi Mong Yong goes to talk to ChunHyang's mother, Walmae, to ask permission to marry ChunHyang; Walmae gives her permission and the two young people marry that day.

Yi Mong Yong's father, a government official, has to move to another region, Hanyang (Seoul now) so Yi Mong Yong has to leave ChunHyang to follow his father. After he leaves, a new lord comes to ChunHyang's village. The new lord is greedy and selfish- he always wastes his time at partying with courtesans. ChunHyang, renowned for her beauty, is forced to come to his party. Although ChunHyang is not a courtesan the lord treats her like one because her mother is a courtesan. So he compels her to sleep with him, but ChunHyang keeps refusing because she is married. The lord gets angry and imprisons her. He decides to punish her on his birthday.

Yi Mong Yong wins first place in a state examination and he becomes a secret royal inspector, or AmHengUhSa, who investigates and prosecutes corrupt government officials as an undercover emissary of the king. Under disguise, he comes to ChunHyang's village and finds out what have happened to ChunHyang and the misbehavior of the lord. He must conceal his real identity so he acts like an insane person and wears mendicant clothes. Despite his mendicancy, ChunHyang still loves him and asks her mother to take good care of him.

At the lord's birthday celebration, Yi Mong Yong comes in and makes a satirical poem about the misbehavior of the lord, but the lord does not understand the poem. Yi Mong Yong discloses his real position and punishes the lord. At first, ChunHyang cannot recognize Yi Mong Yong and he tests her faith by asking her to spend a night with him. ChunHyang, who still cannot recognize him, refuses him as well. However, she recognizes him soon and they live happily ever after.

Important features

  • Love between Courtesan's daughter and Government official's son
  • The selfish lord being punished by MongRyong
  • ChungHyang, who keeps her integrity till the end

Like any other literature, ChunHyang-Jun also reflects its society. Although the author is unknown, it is deducible that every nation was involved. The common people might get vicarious pleasure from the main characters who get over the difference of social standings and punish the greedy lord. Also keeping female's integrity is the traditional Korean's conservative moral.

References

The text of this article from main characters onwards is translated from the Korean World Heritage Encyclopedia article, which itself is based on the contents of Global World Encyclopedia which is distributed by Daum Communication. 본 문서에는 다음 커뮤니케이션에서 GFDL 또는 이에 준하는 라이선스로 배포한 글로벌 세계 대백과사전의 내용을 기초로 작성된 내용이 포함되어 있습니다.
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