Twilight of a Crane shows how human beings are caught between their desire for money and passion for love.’ Do you agree? Discuss, referring to the play.
The play is written by Junji Kinoshita and is adapted from a folk tale. He is a leftist writer and used his creativity to make people more aware of the insidious allure of money, capitalism and consumerism. I agree with the above statement and in this essay, I will explore how the love of money becomes a root cause of the dissipation of human relationships.
At the beginning of the play, the audience is presented with a serene scene with children running around. They wake Yohyo and he plays with them. This implies that the children love being around their house. Children love to spend time at places where there is love, peace and harmony, and where they are given the attention they need. They also ask for Tsu; they clearly love her. The neighbours trust them enough to let their children play around their house. These facts show us that Yohyo and Tsu had a great understanding and that there were signs of a happy, content and satisfied family at their home.
‘sweet heart’ / ‘darling’ / ‘dear’
The two main characters use endearing terms as shown above to refer to each other. This is a sign of being devoted or even doting on one another. It is safe to say that they love one another. The use of such terms reveal the intimacy they share and the trust they place on one another. Their lives have become valuable to each other. If there is any resentment or bitterness toward your partner, using such words is not possible. Therefore, we can argue that there is no conflict whatsoever between them, and that they are transparent with each other.
‘Cold soup is no good for my sweet heart.’
Likewise, their actions align with these sentiments. Yohyo is portrayed in the play as someone who is not the brightest nor the most skilled individual. However, despite this, he is very keen in ensuring that the soup is warmed up for Tsu. He shows how considerate he is, as he says that cold soup would do no good – he is genuinely concerned about Tsu’s well-being and nourishment. This is evidence that Yohyo was fully devoted to Tsu and loved her and valued her as an important person in his life.
However, Unzu and Sodo influence Yohyo in a negative way. These two characters from the village represent capitalist ideas – they are more concerned about profit and money than human lives. The fact that Tsu becomes extremely weak while she makes the cloth is a rather obvious symbol of the exploitation which is a feature of capitalism. These two characters persuade Yohyo into getting his wife Tsu to make more and more Senba ori. She becomes extremely weak. This reflects the capitalist system which devalues human lives and gives a higher value to money and profit.
‘Well, then, you might coax your wife again’
Unzu and Sodo manipulate Yohyo by their enticing words. As mentioned above, they represent capitalism, and they persuade Yohyo with promises about money and a fancy experience in Kyoto. The significant fact is that he was perfectly content when the two of them approached him. He had enough and more money (a whole sack full of it), He had a loving wife who took care of him, and he had a life full of joy. It was a simple, yet peaceful and fulfilling life. Even the villagers and the children adored them and loved to spend time with them. Yohyo had a strong relationship with his wife. He valued her and took care of her. With the arrival of Unzu and Sodo, he begins to change. Tsu mentions that he is ‘gradually’ changing. This adverb is important as it shows us that it is a slow process. Yohyo transforms into someone else. His perception of things in his world changes. Even though he valued Tsu more than anything in the world, the Senba Ori and the money it would bring him entices him and he cannot help being more and more attached to the idea of money.
Yohyo, my dear- what’s happened to you? You are gradually changing. I can’t understand why. But you are moving to the other world where I can never live.
Tsu perceives the change happening in Yohyo, and is worried about the transformation. She reminisces about how he used to be a kind and considerate person who cared about others without expecting anything in return. But the love of money has begun to poison his heart and she says that he is moving to the other world. She identifies the love of money, or avarice, as a different world because capitalism and its obsession over profit (at the cost of humanity and human relationships) is something beyond her understanding. She fails to speak or understand the language of capitalism. When Unzu and Sodo speaks to her, she does not understand them. When Yohyo tries to persuade her, she finds it difficult to understand what he says. This is because he is moving away from his passion for love and becoming desirous of money. The first cloth he receives from her was received as a gift – he was able to see the beauty and the value of it as something special given to him by Tsu. Later on, they merely become objects that will get him money. Rather than seeing the effort and the love that Tsu puts into the cloth, or seeing the beauty of it, Yohyo’s perception of it has changed to a strictly capitalistic one. This is the moment that he begins to lose his love for Tsu.
Yes, I dislike you. I don’t like you. I’m not fond of you- you are a cross woman!
Yohyo’s behaviour towards Tsu changes as his priorities begin to get mixed up. Rather than valuing his wife above everything, he values money or the Senba Ori above his wife. Therefore, he begins to see her not in a loving manner, but through the eyes of the capitalist system. An employee who needs to be exploited, or a resource to be used up for maximum profit. When the desire to extract the value from this human capital is not fulfilled, Yohyo acts like a disgruntled manager who is complaining about his employee. Their relationship which was transparent and genuine without any interference of a third party has been infiltrated by the money.
As the play comes to an end, Tsu leaves Yohyo and he holds on tightly to the cloth she made for him. This may possibly indicate the fact that he is unable to let go of his desire for money. He ends up losing Tsu, who loved him with all her heart – everything valuable that he had is lost. This play thus exemplifies how Yohyo’s desire for money overpowers his passion for love and he ends up making the wrong choices and ends up losing his most valuable relationships.
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This model answer on Twilight of a Crane was written by Kevin Dilhan.
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