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Bridal Du's Dream In Peony Fair

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In her dream, she is unconfined by any social limitations. Not only is she able to interact with a man, Liu Mengmei, they ultimately consummate their love in the Peony Pavilion. The fact that Bridal Du is able to even imagine having sexual relations with a man outside of marriage demonstrates the amount of freedom she feels in her dream. When she awakens, however, she realizes that what she experienced in her dream is not something she can find in reality because her life is still strictly controlled by social barriers. Her inability to return to the dream causes her to waste away. Before Bridal dies, she paints a portrait of herself to affirm her own existence. She boldly uses the portrait to validate her emotions, an act of defiance against…show more content…
She defies several societal expectations in this scene. Courtesans were expected to be willing to accept money as their occupation is to sell their smiles. However, it is apparent that Fragrant Princess is not a typical courtesan. She rejects the large sum of money presented to her when the governor attempts to purchase her as his concubine. She states, “There are bevies of beauties in this pleasure resort whose smiles are for sale. It was not my destiny to enter the rich man’s gate.” Proclaiming that she has no desire to have this money. Her rejection comes as a shock and is perceived as being ungrateful towards the high official. It was expected that she should be thankful and eager to accept so much money. This was seen as her chance to remove herself from her courtesan life. Her behavior is reprimanded and she is threated for being defiant. Chang states, “you brazen strumpet, remember that His Honour Yang is now a high official…you and your sort come under his jurisdiction…he can have your thumbs cracked.” Yet, even with this threat, Fragrant Princess remains stubborn and refuses the marriage. She commits the most stunning act of defiance when she attempts suicide, bashing her head, at the marriage ceremony. Her integrity and willpower is so strong that the Yang draws a peach blossom branch on the blood splattered fan and sends it to Hou Fanyu to show him her determination. The author of The Peach Blossom Fan, Kong Shangren, makes a statement showcasing Fragrant Princess’s loyalty to her country and her husband. Her defiance against the societal barriers placed upon her are rooted in her virtuous personality. She does not value money and power in the superficial manner most courtesans do. She would rather live her life in pain than compromise her
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