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Female Virtue in the Korean Drama

Each nation has its own ideas about female virtue, but, at the same time, there are some common features that are regarded as the primal virtues in any settings. The Korean dramas about Queen Inhyun and Hee-Bin Jang are demonstrating two significant female characters that can be described by means of such features as modesty, courage, general attractiveness, perseverance, and desire to control own destiny. Even considering the fact that one of the characters is the Queen of Japan and the second one is just a talented girl, daughter of the slave-woman, and that they are different in a lot of aspects, both are owing genuinely unique features of real virtuousness that allows them overcome all the issues. Generally, the dramas are directed with consideration of the historical, cultural, social, and political details of Korea of seventeenth century; it is done to make series as close to the reality as possible, even considering the fantastic elements of the plot.

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The first character that will be analyzed to understand the aspect of virtue is Hee-Bin Jang, and she deserves special attention both due to her personal features and her specific origin that determined the majority of the challenges in her life. Her parents were the slaves, but the father did everything possible to provide his daughter with a possibility to be free before his death. The father was probably aware of the terrible way the female slaves were treat during those times; this treatment was often of the criminal nature and with the brutal sexual features. The girl omitted this role, but she was asked by the father to do everything possible to make her mother free, and it should have become the mission of all her life. After he died, the mother of her was taken as a slave, and Hee-Bin Jang received a chance to go to the school of sewers, despite her heart was broken because of the necessity to live with alien people and not to be with her own mother. Generally, the talent she got was genuinely great; when the girl was sewing the shroud for her father, she demonstrated this great ability for the first time. One of the central desires of Hee-Bin Jang was to make mother free and move to China with her, but the uncle wanted to use this girl for his own purpose, and that is why he did not allow her dreams come true. The character of a poor but virtuous girl who is looking for her happiness is not new in the universal literature, and this specific character has bright features of such type of images. At the same time, she also demonstrated some specific personal details. There is rather bright social context in the drama that is used to emphasize the positive and virtuous features of the girl. This background is also rather significant by itself, as it demonstrates the place of woman in the Korean society and the importance of the person’s origin for the further development. Specifically for a woman, the origin was of high importance, as it determined the attitude to her. Thus, the daughter of the slave could not expect any positive attitude, even considering the fact that she was hardworking, talented, and kind young woman. The ladies who estimated the clothes she was doing escaped when they heard about the origin of Hee-Bin Jang. It was a manifestation of one major social concern. The social status was one of the most important aspects of the successful and save life. It was demonstrated in the drama that Korean people of the noble origin sincerely considered such kind of division to be the normal natural law; consequently, everybody, who was trying to neglect such rules, were terrible punished, like a daughter of Hee-Bin Jang’s uncle. The general virtue of the young woman can be also related to her general rebel against her primal implied role in the society. Despite of the terrible treatment of the noble ladies, she was able to do what she believed in; specifically, she made cloths, gathered money to make her mother free and resisted the attempts of her uncle to make her a part of his plan of revenge. In fact, she was able to overcome the social standards regarding her gender, origin, and primal social role. At the same time, she remained pure both in the physical and spiritual aspects, as she did not want to take any wrong decisions.

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Next, it is also necessary to pay attention to the character of the Queen from the other drama, which was also represented in the specific way. Generally, representation of the Queen as a woman of exceptionally exaggerated virtuous nature can be regarded as normal for some genres in the Korean culture, but in this drama Inhyun was depicted as an alive woman who required own certain weaknesses but was able to remain a genuine Queen and virtuous woman. It is possible to recall the scene in which there was an attempt to assassinate her. She was going on writing the letter, being completely aware of the terrible danger but not making any attempts to escape or to protect herself. She definitely was not a coward; it was her way to receive the punishment for her former sins. Moreover, she was brave enough to remain sitting still waiting for the assassin. She was also depicted as a genuinely decent person, as she could not believe that people from the Palace might have tried to assassinate her. The drama was able to demonstrate the character of this young lady in accordance with the historical concept of her. According to it, being only a young girl, she was demonstrating a lot of exceptional talents, and she also required great physical attractiveness. Even the atmosphere of the room in which the Queen was sitting was rather special. According to the historical fact, her father once observed the rainbow in front of her, and although the life of this woman has never been easy, she remained the woman of great virtue. She can be compared to Hee-Bin Jang’ in a lot of aspects, but one of the most important is her specific dignity even in the most challenging situations. When Hee-Bin Jang’ was ashamed in public, she remained calm and did not provide any signs of her deep pain. The same can be told about the Queen; when she discovered that she was betrayed by the people from the Palace, she was obviously shocked, but she did not lose her dignity and determination.

Generally, even considering both social and political conditions and difficulties of that time that discussed woman had to face, they were able to save their best features. Acting like strong males, they were able to remain tender attractive women full of genuine virtue. It is possible to see from the drama that the idea of strong and virtuous woman can be regarded as the universal one, and it can be found even in the Korean culture. The ideas about real women expressed in the characters of the Queen and slave’s daughter are expressing the eternal human values that have always been estimated by people.

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