The notion of morality has been the focus of numerous philosophical and sociological debates. A number of experts have examined the issue, arriving to a number of different models and schemes to define morality and its influence on human behavior. One of the major figures in this field was the British philosopher Stephen Toulmin (1958), developed a new model to analyze the morality of human argument, developing a schema that rejected the previous models and theoretical approached the subject.. Morality is one of the major theme of “The Tale of Kieu”, one of the masterpieces of Vietnamese literature. Written by Nguyễn Du and issued in 1820, the story depicts the life of a 18th century Vietnamese woman (Yeo, 2003). Nevertheless, the poem is inspired in the plot of another Asian story, Chin Yün Ch’iao chuan, written by Qing Xin Cai Ren.
This paper will look at how the story and its characters are affected by the moral issues, applying Toulmin’s model to demonstrate the overall impact of morality in the poem. The story of The Tale of Kieu seems to be, in itself, a moral tale. Kieu, the main character of the story, is a young beautiful woman from a wealthy and well-educated family. Kieu tries to live a conventional life. She falls in love with a man, Kim. Kieu does not reject Kim as her romantic partner, but she refuses to engage into any sexual activity, as they are not married. She does make a pledge to be with Kim, although she is unable to maintain her promise. Therefore, she tries to live by the rules of the male-dominate society of the time (Yeo, 2003). She wants to be with Kim and she wants to live the life that a conventionally a woman of her beauty and talent has. She certainly never intended to become a prostitute prior to the imprisonment of her father and brother (ibid).
[...] Kim, who loves Kieu at all times, is nevertheless happily married to her sister Van, but after he meets Kieu again, the only thought in his mind is to marry her again. Kieu finally accepts to marry Kim, but refuses to consummate the matrimony. The characters’ conduct and interactions with each other are therefore influenced by the immorality of the society of the time. BIBLIOGRAPHY Bergman, J. (2009) Choices, Chance, Outcomes http://jeffberryman.com/2009/12/03 Du, Nguyen (1983 translation). THE TALE OF KIEU, Yale: Yale University Press Toulmin, S. (1958) The Uses of Argument. Cambridge: University Press, 1958. Yeo, S. [...]
[...] The story of The Tale of Kieu seems to be, in itself, a moral tale. Kieu, the main character of the story, is a young beautiful woman from a wealthy and well-educated family. Kieu tries to live a conventional life. She falls in love with a man, Kim. Kieu does not reject Kim as her romantic partner, but she refuses to engage into any sexual activity, as they are not married. She does make a pledge to be with Kim, although she is unable to maintain her promise. [...]
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