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浅析《红楼梦》中赵姨娘的悲剧性格

作者: 郭志芳

  In A DREAM OF RED MANSIONS, Concubine Zhao was a pipsqueak, whose life was full of misery. She lived in the Rong Mansion with complicated interpersonal relationships everywhere, and was held up to ridicule and squeezing out, till a death. There are several reasons for her poor situation, but in fact her character was the direct inducement.
  Mr. Wang Xuejun called Concubine Zhao’s tragic temperament a kind of “antisocial personality”, and this “antisocial personality” shaped up in daily life, and “without any self-examination, full of selfish desire.” The following is a analysis about Concubine Zhao’s tragic temperament.
  Concubine Zhao was born in a humbleness family, and didn’t have any chances to accept educations. After managing to become a Concubine of Jia Zheng, she formed many bad habits. In Chapter 20 “Xifeng Reproves a Jealous Woman, Daiyu Mocks a Prattling Girl”, Concubine Zhao came to the stage firstly. In this chapter, Jia Huan, Concubine Zhao’s son, played with maids, lost some money and started to fret. Then he went back to Concubine Zhao’s room with Cousin Baochai’s suasion. Concubine Zhao saw her son was back, the novel wrote as follows:
  At sight of his dejected face she asked, “who’s been treating you as a doormat this time?” when he did not answer, she repeated the question.
  “I was playing with Cousin Baochai. Yinger was mean to me and cheated me. Then brother Baoyu turned me out.”
  His mother spat in disgust.
  “Shameless little brat! Who told you to put yourself for ward? Is there nowhere else for you to play? Why go looking for trouble?”
  Frankly speaking, there was no other thing that was more common than the thing that a mother taught her son a lesson in the world. However, Concubine Zhao treated her son with invective instead of peaceful indoctrination. At the same time, Xifeng overheard the dialog when passing outside, so she was mad with Concubine Zhao and taught her a lesson. In front of Xifeng, instead of a cut above others, Concubine Zhao turned out to be a lickspittle, and she believed that she was born to be a flunkey without a doubt. She regarded Jiahuan playing with Cousin Baochai as a kind of “put yourself for ward”, and also thought herself as inferior, which is a typical character to be a lackey.
  Concubine Zhao was anxious to keep up appearance, but also had no definite views of her own. She was such a fickle person who was easily changed by a few words from others. She was always laughed at because of her behavior, although she tried hard to circle round in the filthy Rong Mansion, and every farce ended up with that she became a laughing stock in others’ eyes. Concubine Zhao was bewitched by Ma Daopo in chapter 25, and was seduced by Maid Xia in chapter 60. She always took other people’s words as truth without any suspect. All these did no good to her, except getting to freak out.
  Concubine Zhao always live on her little wits, which in a cheeky way, and those kinds of wits usually ended up with being looked through by others. In chapter 67, Xuepan did business out, and then he went back with several gifts, including some special local products of the South. Baochai gave Jiahuan one of those gifts, which made Concubine Zhao so unexpected and exultantly proud, just because she and her son Jiahuan were looked upon as inferior all the time. Now another idea occurred to Concubine Zhao’s mind, she wanted to go to make a boast of the gift, with the thought that Baochai was niece of Lady Wang. The novel went on as follows:
  So she hurried over with the presents to Lady Wang’s room. Standing to one side there she said, “These are things Miss Baochai just gave Huan, things brought her by her brother. She’s so young yet she thinks of everybody! I gave maid who brought them two hundred cash. I heard that Aunt Xue sent you some gifts too, madam. I wonder what they are? So their family’s sending us two lots of presents! How many things could they have got? Not wonder the old lady and you both praise Miss Baochai and make such a favorite of her. She’s really most lovable.”
  Lady Wang read Concubine Zhao’s mind, and thought nothing of her poor wits, and just argued away. Instead, Concubine Zhao got snubbed, and went away.
  Living in people’s laughing and reproach for a long time, the seed of jealousy planted in Concubine Zhao’s heart. And as the time went on, jealousy turned out to be a kind of hostility. Concubine Zhao gave Ma Daopo 500 taels as monetary reward to kill Jia Baoyu and Xifeng, although at that time Concubine Zhao only got 2 taels a month as her salary. However, once Baoyu died, her son Jiahuan would to be the next successor in Rong Mansion. With this thought in mind, Concubine Zhao wrote a bill of the debt to Ma Daopo immediately. From that, the deep suffering and hostility in her heart were witnessed by all the people. When all the people were worried about Baoyu and Xifeng, who were in stupefaction, Concubine Zhao just pretended to be sad, who did appreciate the masterpiece of Ma Daopo actually. The truth is Concubine Zhao was the pull strings behind the scenes, and only she knew the real reason made Baoyu and Xifeng become coma. Pretending worried, acting warm-heart, and persuading The Lady Dowager to wear shrouds for them, all she did just got a swear from The Lady Dowager.
  In chapter 100 “By Frustrating Jingui Xiangling Makes a Worse Enemy of Her, Baoyu Grieves over Tanchun’s Departure to Marry Far From Home”, when Concubine Zhao heard about Tanchun would get married, she “started gloating”.
  This daughter of mine has never shown me any respect in this household. She treats me not like her mother but worse than her maids! She sucks up to those who have influence and sides with others against me. With her taking first place, Huan doesn’t stand a chance. Now that the master’s fetching her away, I’ll have a freer hand. I can’t expect her to look after me, but only hope she ends up like Yingchun-----yes, that would please me.[2]2157
  Jia Tanchun was not very kind to Concubine Zhao. Instead of sadness, the mother started gloating, and even curse that her daughter would suffer severely like Yingchun, in the future, although her own daughter would marry to a far place. There are reasons for Concubine Zhao’s morbid psychology, but her behavior conflicts to the basic ethics and moral principles of human being.
  In A DREAM OF RED MANSIONS, Concubine Zhao is such a typical character. She was the sane as all the other flunkeys and maids, always with vulgar language. She wore a hideous face: had selfish calculations, simple minds and deep jealousy, and was crude and rash all the time. Thus she pulls herself into an endless abyss.
  
  Notation:
  [1]王学钧:《略论赵姨娘的反社会人格》,《红楼梦学刊》,2006.2。
  [2]A Dream of read mansions Written by Cao Xu-eqin and Gao E, Translated by Yang Xianyi and Gladys YangForeignLanguagesPress,Beijing,1994.
  
  郭志芳:青岛大学文学院。

论文来源:《山东文学·下半月》 2009年第12期
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