The Lust of the White Serpent: Essay
The Lust of the White Serpent appears among the nine supernatural tales that were ed by Ueda Akinari and published in 1776. The story is specifically attributed to Jasei’s no In.
In The Lust of the White Serpent, it is very unlikely that there are positive values about the snake. This is because Manago the white serpent pursues her lustful ends at the expense of Toyoo, the rich fisherman’s son. Manago the white serpent lies to Toyoo [by not telling Toyoo the entire truth] so as to hoodwink Toyoo into marriage. Again, it is notable that Manago gives Toyoo a stolen expensive sword as a gift and resultantly, Toyoo is arrested for being in possession of a sword that had been stolen from a nearby temple. Later on, Manago possesses Toyoo’s wife as a way of fulfilling her desires.
Manago’s behavioral predisposition is scantily provided since attention is focused on Toyoo. In this light, Manago’s goodness is best ascertained in light of the people she interacts with. Manago deeply interacts with Toyoo but her interaction with Toyoo always leaves Toyoo shortchanged and very unstable. Toyoo is arrested because she gives him a stolen sword, disassociates Toyoo from his sister who had given him refuge and wastes away Toyoo’s time by hoodwinking him into marriage. Manago also destabilizes Toyoo’s marriage by possessing Tomiko, Toyoo’s wife. Again, it seems that Manago puts Toyoo in trouble on whims. She is also not there to help Toyoo after putting him in trouble: even when Toyoo is incarcerated, Manago does nothing to help him, despite Toyoo’s innocence (Jasei no In, 168).
In respect to the foregoing, it is highly doubtful that there is anything positive about Manago, the white serpent.
Jasei no In. Volume 4: The Lust of the White Serpent. (Class notes) Print