You are on page 1of 2

Analysis

These facts remain undisputed:

Tajmaru led the couple into the forest as he said. Takehiko is dead. Tajmaru raped Masago. Tajmaru stole Takehiko's bow & quiver, as well as the woman's horse. In each of the accounts, Masago wishes Takehiko dead, although the details vary. Masago and Tajmaru did not leave together.

The differences between the characters' stories range from the trivial to the fundamental. What follows is a list of discrepancies between the characters' testimonies.

The comb mentioned by the woodcutter is not mentioned by any of the other characters. The "violent struggle" that trampled the leaves, mentioned by the woodcutter, seems to occur only in Tajmaru's version of the story - the swordfight. The woodcutter also claims that the man was killed by a single sword slash across the chest, but in both Masago's and Takehiko's versions of the story, he was killed by a dagger thrust to the chest. The woodcutter claims that Takehiko was wearing a Kyto-style hat called a "sabi-eboshi", however Masago's mother says that he was not from Kyto. We know that the author wanted to draw significance to this fact, because he specifically had the police investigator ask her if Takehiko was from Kyto. The traveling priest says that he "clearly remembers that there were more than 20 arrows" in the man's quiver. The bounty hunter says that there were only 17. The woodcutter says that Takehiko was wearing a blue kimono and the Buddhist priest says Masago was wearing a lilac kimono. In Masago's account, Takehiko is wearing a lilac kimono. Tajmaru does not mention how Masago's dagger disappeared from the crime scene. In Tajmaru's and Takehiko's accounts, Masago and Tajmaru have a long conversation after the rape, after which, she is willing to leave with Tajmaru, so long as her husband is dead. Masago's account omits this completely. Masago does not mention how Takehiko's sword disappeared from the crime scene. It seems unlikely that Masago would fail at suicide so many times, particularly considering the first method she supposedly tried: driving her dagger into her neck. Masago says that Takehiko was repulsed by her after the rape. This is not true according to the other accounts. From Takehiko's story, it is clear that he is furious at her, but he claims that this is because she asked Tajmaru to kill him. In Tajmaru's version, he still loves her so much that he is willing to fight to the death for her. Takehiko introduces a new and unlikely character: the person who stole the dagger from his chest, conveniently, mere seconds before his death. The film Rashomon explains this by having the Woodcutter later admit to stealing the dagger, but this confession is not present in the original story. This actually isn't what the woodcutter's testimony shows, because he mentioned that all the blood had dried up and Takehiko claims that as the small sword was retrieved from his chest, "more blood flowed into my mouth". Masago and Takehiko claim that Tajmaru violently kicked her after the rape. Tajmaru does not mention this.

In short, every character says at least one thing that is refuted by another. Perhaps more significant than the literal contradictions in the testimony of the characters are the moral contradictions. While the reader cannot say denotatively who is objectively right, it is clear that all of the characters are morally compromised and have slanted their testimony in an effort to conceal their own immorality. At the

conclusion the reader is forced to the realization that, while they do not have enough evidence to decide who is right on a literal level, they almost always believe one character over the others on an emotional level. This realization requires the reader to admit that they too are morally compromised and decide what is true based not on fact but on preconception and the need for self justification.

http://www.servinghistory.com/topics/In_a_Grove::sub::Analysis http://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=123351
www.scribd.com/doc/3682435/In-a-Grove-by-Ryunosuke-Akutagawa

Related Interests