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The Tale of Chunhyang

The Chunhyangjeon (, lit. "The Story of Chunhyang" or "The Tale of Chunhyang" is

one of the best known love stories and folk tales of Korea. It is based on the pansori Chunhyangga.
Date of composition and author are unknown, and the present form took shape 1694~1834 from the
most famous of the five surviving pansori tales, the Song of Chun Hyang.

Main characters
ChunHyang, Sung (Spring Fragrance) is the main female character, kisaeng Wolmae's
daughter. She is very beautiful and also talented in poetry and arts. She fell in love with
MongYong, Yi is the main male character who is the son of a government official (Magistrate).
He is an intelligent and handsome man. He fell in love with ChunHyang at first sight.
HyangDan is ChunHyang's servant. She is devoted to ChunHyang.
PangJa is MongYong's male servant.
Wolmae (Moon Plum) is ChunHyang's mother and used to be a kisaeng.
Pyon is the replacement official of Mongnyong's father.

Plot summary
Yi Mong Yong, who always studies hard, goes out to get some fresh air. He sees Ch'unhyang on a
swing and he falls in love with her at first sight. He orders his servant, PangJa, to ask Ch'unhyang to
come to him but she refuses. Yi Mong Yong then goes to talk to Ch'unhyang's mother, Wolmae, to
ask permission to marry Ch'unhyang; Wolmae gives her permission and the two young people marry
that day.
Yi Mong Yong's father, a government official, has to move to another region, Hanyang (Seoul now)
so Yi Mong Yong has to leave Ch'unhyang to follow his father. Ch'unhyang gives Yi Mong Yong a
ring as a token of her love for him and promises to stay faithful to him and wait for him to come back
in the future and take her to Seoul. After he leaves, a replacement for Mongnyong's father comes to
Ch'unhyang's village. The new replacement is Pyon, a greedy and selfish person- he always wastes
his time partying with courtesans. Ch'unhyang, renowned for her beauty, is forced to come to his
party. Although Ch'unhyang is not a courtesan, Pyon treats her like one because her mother is a
courtesan. He compels her to sleep with him, but Ch'unhyang keeps refusing because she is
married. Pyon gets angry and imprisons her. He decides to punish her on his birthday.
Yi Mong Yong wins first place in a state examination and he becomes a secret royal inspector, or
Amhaeng-eosa, who investigates and prosecutes corrupt government officials as an undercover
emissary of the king. Under disguise, he comes to Ch'unhyang's village and finds out what has
happened to Ch'unhyang and the misbehavior of Pyon. He must conceal his real identity so he acts
like an insane person and wears mendicant clothes. Despite his mendicancy, Ch'unhyang still loves
him and asks her mother to take good care of him.
At Pyon's birthday celebration, Yi Mong Yong comes in and makes a satirical poem about the
misbehavior of Pyon, but he does not understand the poem. Yi Mong Yong discloses his real
position and punishes the lord. At first, Ch'unhyang cannot recognize Yi Mong Yong and he tests her
faith by asking her to spend a night with him. Ch'unhyang, who still cannot recognize him, refuses
him as well. Deeply moved by her faithfulness, Yi Mong Yong orders an courtesan to show her the
ring ChunHyang gave him. She is shocked that he is MongYong and they live happily ever after.

Important features
Love between Courtesan's daughter and Government official's son
The selfish lord being punished by MongRyong
Chunhyang, who keeps her integrity until the end
Like any other literature, ChunHyang-Jun also reflects its society. Although the author is unknown, it
is deducible that every nation was involved. The common people might get vicarious pleasure from
the main characters who get over the difference of social standings and punish the greedy lord. Also
keeping female's integrity is the traditional Korean's conservative moral.

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