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Expression and punishment of female desire in Korean chinese poetry

Lee, Taek-dong 1

1가톨릭대학교

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ABSTRACT

The Chinese scriptures say: When you run away, you become a concubine. And there is the following saying. It is not forbidden to run away. The words should be interpreted as follows. If you act lascivious, you become a concubine. It is not prohibited to act lasciviously. The preceding sentence is a statement that requires women to keep their fidelity. The following sentence implies that women are allowed to deviate from their sexuality: the previous sentence contains content that represses women's sexual desires, and the latter contains content that permits women's sexual desire. Therefore, the preceding sentences contain content faithful to the medieval norms, and the latter ones contain content that deviates from the medieval norms. Confucians interpreted the sentence differently. The date of the wedding has been already set. But if the emperor calls me, she would be a concubine. Sometimes the interpretation is as follows. The date of the wedding has been already set. But if I am called to the war, she would be as concubine. If a famine happens, she would be as concubine. All of the above interpretations are false. So why did the Confucians interpret it wrong? The Confucians tried not to approve women's sexual desires. These circumstances show a morally solemn society. This phenomenon of misinterpretation is to be explained by Confucian scholars’s hope to maintain their society as a morally docile one. Women who lived in these societies had to suppress their sexual desire. The women who spurred sexual desire were morally condemned. Such a society can not be said to be a healthy one. On the other hand, in exceptional time and space, there were Confucian scholars who approved female sexual desires. But that number was not much. Therefore, the medieval society of East Asia, as far as sexual desire of women was concerned, was bleak.

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