Female Characters’ Images in the Play the Orphan of Zhao by James Fenton
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The play The Orphan of Zhao, adapted from one of the four major tragedies of the Yuan Dynasty (originally known as The Great Revenge of The Orphan of Zhao, written by Ji Junxiang), was written by James Fenton, a British poet, art critic, and theater reviewer. Similar to Shakespeare’s drama Hamlet, The Orphan of Zhao has its storyline illustrating the topic of revenge. Having its theatrical release from 2012 to 2013 in the Swan theater, this traditional Chinese revenge story of the Zhao's orphan has made its way onto the British cultural stage. The fate of the three main female characters in the play is tightly linked to the growth of the orphan. They come from different social classes and have different status, but they all reflect the injustice faced by women during the ancient feudal period and the burdens and grievances they carry. The source of their tragedy is mainly attributed to the harsh constraints imposed by the imperial court on the noble women and the oppression of the commoners by the social classes and abuse of authority.
Motherhood, Gender inequality, Female images, Social hierarchy