Kesa and Morito

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Love or Lust

In Akutagawa’s “Kesa and Morito”, the text suggests notable differences between love and lust. In regards to the underlined symbols of love and lust, the characters identified within the short story may portray the differences between the symbols. Wataru’s character may symbolize the meaning of true love, and will identify the correlation to that of purity and innocence. However, the characteristics of Kesa and Morito may symbolize lust, and the evil and selfishness associated with it. Love may create kind and giving acts, such as the text describes Wataru’s actions toward Kesa. On the other hand, lust may lead to destructive and irrational gestures that are described by Kesa and Morito’s defining actions.

According to Morito, Wataru Saemon-no-jo made a valiant effort to win the heart of his wife Mesa. Wataru loves his wife Kesa, and his actions proved such fact. Kesa’s aunt Koromogawa further stated, Wataru “spared no pain or effort to win Kesa’s heart” (p.436). He has a reputation of being a prosaic man. With that said, Wataru even took on the burden of learning poetry. Wataru expressed his love for Kesa through the noted examples. The true symbol of love within the text appears to acknowledge Wataru and his efforts to win over Kesa. Wataru has a profound love for his wife. Due to such love, the text implies that Kesa and Morito may have felt sympathetic toward him. In a few circumstances, Kesa and Morito actually consider Wataru’s feeling throughout their encounter. In the beginning of the story, Morito explains how his heart would hurt if he has to kill a man he does not hate. When Morito found out that Wataru and Kesa were married, he burned with jealousy. After the affair with Kesa, Morito mentioned that his jealousy faded away. He actually stated that he has no hatred or spite toward Wataru. In fact, Morito thought kindly of Wataru. One can understand how Morito could become jealous, knowing that the woman of his...
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