The purpose of this study is to clarify ‘unexpected endings’ in Pansori literature and examine their aesthetic meanings, especially focusing on Tokkijeon and Onggojipjeon.
In terms of the inevitability and probability of narratives, an ‘unexpected ending’ could be defined as an ending that seems to be relatively less probable and inevitable and deviate from the essential characteristics of Pansori literature. In this regard, an 'unexpected ending' is a concept that is contrary to an 'agreed ending' to which diverse agreed meanings have been assigned. Among the numerous variations of endings, one of the most ‘unexpected endings’ of Tokkijeon is that the turtle takes his own life. In Onggojipjeon, the version which ends with Onggojip’s death is one with the most unexpected ending.
The unexpected ending structure built up by the deaths of characters is not only neutralizes the interclass conflicts inherent in the narratives but also answers to the call for creation of a new world where there is no need to take sides with any character. Therefore, these endings align well with the essence of Pansori literature, showing us the desires of people who enjoyed it for a whole new life with freedom in a new world.