1. Since there is no suspense (the audience knows the ending of the play), what is the function of the recitation of events that leads to the suicide? What keeps the reader/audience interested?
Even though the audience knows the ending to the play, the events leading up to that scene are unknown. There is dramatic events and comedic events that build up the suspense to the final scene in Daicho Temple.
2. Is there a correspondence between Jihei and Koharu's relationship to our (American/Western) notion of romantic love? Is human emotion equal to love? How are emotional bonds between men and women portrayed?
Yes. I think that the relationship that Jihei and Koharu share is something that Americans would view as romantic. Jihei makes sacrifices for the love he has for Koharu, and is willing to give up his life for her. Love is a human emotion shared between a woman and a man. The emotional bond of love is portrayed as unbreakable. A man will do anything for a woman he is in love with.
3. Compare the representation of Jihei's bond with Osan to the representation of Jihei and Koharu's bond.
Jihei's bond with Osan was represented as an obligation, whereas Jihei's bond with Koharu was represented as something that Jihei desired.
4. How is giri (obligation) portrayed?
Obligation is portrayed in Jehei's bond with Osan because it was an arranged marriage. He was obligated to be with her, and in the end that was why he commited suicide. He couldn't uphold his obligation any longer.
5. Is the play ultimately about obligation or human emotion? Or does it offer a more complicated depiction of the interplay of these two principles?
I think the play was a combination of the two. Jehei's obligation was to Osan and his children, but his love (human emotion) was for Koharu and ultimately it was what end up costing him his life.
6. What is the role of social class in the drama? How in particular are chonin (urban commoners) portrayed? Does the play idealize them?
The social class is very important in the drama. Ubran commoners are portrayed as low class in the play. Tahei is the rich rival for Koharu's love, and he is portrayed as an easy option for Koharu.
7. Is iro (desire) an important aspect in the drama?
Desire is an important aspect in this drama. The difference between desire and obligation shows a tremendous effect on the ending of the play. Desire is what a human wants. Jehei desired Koharu, but was obligated to be with Osan.
8. Does death replace sex as the climax of the play? Please explain your answer.
Yes. In the beginning of the play, sex was portrayed as a bond between two people in love. At the end of the play, Jehei and Koharu commited suicide, representing the new bond of death between two people in love.
9. How is the climatic suicide portrayed: romantic gesture, unnecessary tragedy, courageous act, or fated outcome? Explain your choice and provide textual evidence.
I think the suicide is portrayed as a romantic gesture. Jehei and Koharu could not be together because of their obligations, so they would rather die than live apart from each other.