The difference between Romeo and Juliet&Liang Shanbo
and Zhu Yingtai
Abstract: Liang Shanbo and Zhu yingtai＆Romeo and Juliet are two classical love stories, although they concern themselves with almost the same topic, they apparently differ in many
aspects .It is no doubt that their distinguishing feature is closely related to their cultural
backgrounds respectively. This essay analyses the characteristics of the 4 characters to explore
the factors of the differences.
Key words: culture, characteristic, difference, background
Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai ＆Romeo and Juliet are two classical stories. They are two bright stars flashing up in he East and West ，Although these two stories concern themselves with almost the same topic—both are love and suicide, after all. They were growing up indifferent
cultural grounds, and that they apparently differ in the style of writing ,the portrays of characters.
This paper attempts to contrast the characteristics of Liang shanbo and Zhu Ying tai with Those of
Romeo and Juliet.
Though the two works have similar plots, the characteristic of the two couples of the main
characters are different in every stage of the development of the whole plot. This paper, on the
basis of the plot, compares Romeo and Juliet’s characteristics. At the beginning, Zhu Yingtai
pretended to be a boy and met Liang Shanbo on the way to Hang Zhou to seek knowledge; Romeo and Juliet met each other at the ball. And two couples of lovers both fall in love with each other at
first sight, then Zhu yingtai indicated that she liked Liang Shanbo, but Liang Shanbo did not know
at all, while Romeo and Juliet took an active part to fight for their marriage, According to these
plots ,it is clear that these difference exist in the characteristics of the characters, this paper also
explores the factors of the differences. Different cultural background, Different ideological
systems and different environment contribute the characters the sharp differences in their
1. Briefs of the two stories:
Liang Shanbo and Zhu Ying tai was a beautiful and moving tale which probably originated
some time during the period of stretching from the Eastern Jin Dynasty to Tang Dynasty. Its
setting was Shanyu Guiji counties in Zhe Jiang province, on the outskirts of Shangyu county .he
had a daughter named Zhu Yingtai She had been born with a pair of bright and beautiful eyes,
paired with curved eyebrows ,when she was 16 years old, she pretended to be a boy in order to
study in Hang Zhou ,on the way to Hang Zhou for studying ,she met a boy who also went to
Hang Zhou for studying, named Liang Shanbo ,ZhuYingtai fall in love with Liang Shanbo at first sight and she went to marry him .But because of poor family of LiangShanbo ‘s ,her father did not
agree with their marriage. He forced Yingtai to marry other boy named Ma Wencai ,whose family
was rich and powerful, yet Yingtai did not willing to marry him bring Shanbo died because of
heavy lovesickness. on the way to family Ma ,Yingtai busted open the sedan which she sat in and
jump into tomb of Liang Shanbo.
Romeo and Juliet was a story happened in Verona, Romeo was the son of the Montague ,Juliet
was the daughter of the Couplets .Yet the Montague and the Couplets were the two families who
bear an ancient with feud .One evening the Couplets were holding a traditional family party, and
decided to crash it with some of his friends. At the party ,he sees and falls in love with Juliet.
Juliet return his love and ,after the party, the young couple woo each other in Capulet’s orchard. It
is a short courtship, for they agree to be secretly married the next day. Romeo goes joyfully to see
his priest, Friar Laurence. and to ask him to arrange for the ceremony. he informs Juliet of the time
and place by giving a message to her Nurse, and the couple met and were married that very
afternoon. It is arranged that Romeo shall come to Juliet’s bedroom at nightfall.
No sooner has Romeo left Joliet’s room that nightfall than grave news comes to her ,her
parents have arranged for her to marry a young gentleman named Paris on the very next day. Juliet
hurries to the Friar for advise, They decided to take a desperate plan that Juliet would pretend to
consent to the marriage, but the night before the wedding she was going to swallow a sleeping
potion which would make her seem to be dead. The Friar would inform Romeo ,who would be
beside Juliet,To take her away with him when she awakened, But as chance would have it, The
Friar’s message to Romeo never reached him,.when Romeo heard the news that his bride is dead,
he determined to joined her in death, at the last minute the Friar discovered That his message had
not been delivered to go to the tomb and fetch Juliet, seconds after the Romeo took the prison the
friar the girl can not persuade the girl to leave h herself with Romeo’s newly-dead lover, and
Juliet killed herself with Romeo’s dagger.
Though the two stories have the similar plots ,experience of the characters and topics
ideas ,they differ in the characterization, Romeo and Juliet are artless, vivacious,
unreserved ,enthusiastic, full of vigor and vitality, and brave and fearlessness .they are bursting
with youthful vigor. Once they fell in love with each other, they filed in the face of the feud, and
never shrink back. in order to met his loved one ,Romeo took a risk to jump onto the Capulet’s
orchard .even he was willing to east aside his family named for the sake of love ,at last ,he give
his life for love without the least hesitation. Juliet was by no means inferior. she considered love to
be most lofty though she warns to comply with formality very much, when the formality collides
with love ,she will bid the formality a farewell. Romeo and Juliet are warmhearted and daring, and
march forward courageously, they had end of misgivings ,they were firm, and had no hesitation,
they firmly followed their natural characters, Liang shanbo and Zhu Yingtai were contrasted with
Romeo and Juliet, the difference in their characters were was very apparent, in the period of
eastern Jin Dynasty and tang Dynasty, China was a feudal proprieties, People lost their personality,
young blood had no freedom of choosing their lovers ,their marriages decided by their parents and
matchmakers ,people believed in the gloom of human relationship and principle of the feudal
society inundates the human nature of Liang shanbo and Zhu Yingtai’s,their behavior appeared
rather stiff –too observant of conventional standards, they did not dare to go to beyond the
ancestor’s inflexible moral specimen, the luminous points in their specific characters are too few,
just like a grain of corn in the wide sea, to attract the gaze of people, Liang Shanbo firmly
followed the old regulations, and wholeheartedly read The Five Classis, he was frank, honest,
simple and unadorned, he was not intelligent and lively, and even lacking in the most essential
observation and judgment, after studying in the same room for 3years ,unexpectedly, he did not
see through and trace of female characteristics of Zhu Yingtai ,he was not only lacking in the
essential observation and judgment, but also lacking in the youthful spirit and the dashing spirit
that young people should possess, when he knows that Zhu Yingtai was a gay feminine attire, and
she has been promised to Ma Wencai ,he accepted the fact grievingly ,and she did not pay assiduous count to love ,while Romeo pursued his love vigorously ,Liang Shanbo just deeply regretted that he has been late for coming
And he filled with romance, what he always did was blaming heaven and man ,at last ,he was
hopelessly lovesick all day long and ill in bed, Zhu Yingtai was brighter and cleverer than Liang Shanbo, in the period of virtuous was the women without the talent, she dared to pretended to be a boy to further studies, it seemed that she was full of individual character, however, her individual character was a flash in the pan, and submerged by the surging torrents of social ethnic.
It was early summer when Yingtai left for studying, before setting out ,she plucked a branch of pomegranate and transplanted the cutting in her flower terrace, then she prayed to the heaven’s
was going out for studying ,if I preserved my good name and integrity, the cutting wouls strike root and sprout up ;if I did something that brought shame upon my forebears, the cutting would shrivel, after pledging to the heaven, the God and the code of ethics, she just dared to go out for studying.
2 the different stages which reflect their differences
Romeo and Juliet met and fell in love with each other at first sight at a ball, when Romeo noticed Juliet in the crowd, he stands apart, and rapturously praises her:O ,she doth teach the torches to burn bright….beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear, his speech was simple, but was true to feeling, inquiring who her mother was ,Romeo discovered that the lady whose peerless beauty he was so much struck with, was young Juliet, daughter and heir to the cord Capulet, the great enemy of the Montague, Romeo responded my life is my foe’s debt. it was a stark reply, this
bare sentence showed that Romeo had to face the hardest blow that could possibly be dealt him, for he had unknowingly engaged his heart to his foe.
How about Juliet? she asked her nurse the names of several departing guests before she asked Romeo’s ,as her nurse went to find out who he was ,she commented to herself,: if he be
married/my grave is like to be my wedding bed ,she, feels that separation from this new-found lover would be her death, when learning that he is a Montague, she responds as bravely and stricken as Romeo, my only love sprung from my only hate! to early seen unknown, and known too late! Prodigious birth of love it is to me ,that I must love a loathed enemy, she has fallen in love as deeply as Romeo, and , as with Romeo ,separation seemed like death, in spite of feud, yet they love each other bravely and enthusiastically, this was a manifestation of their determination and courage to fight against the feudal morality, while Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai did not show their enough decisive and brave humanism style in seeking their true love, Though Yingtai had fallen in love with Liang Shanbo on the way to Hang Zhou just like Juliet Fell in love with Romeo at the first sight at the ball, she did not dare to express her love in a direct way ,and just make Themselves become sworn brothers, to place her adoration, she even did not point out frankly during the period of 3 year’s Studying.
2.2 Falling in love
At that time, Chinese people were rather conservative, Especially , in loving, even young men did not express their love directly and they always expressed in a connotative way.But western
people always performed very directly and bravely in expressing love.,Romeo was not only a courtly, carefree young man, he was capable Of the deepest passions of love ,in his initial courtship of Juliet ,in the orchard, he expressed in somewhat typical gestures of holy adoration, he compared Juliet to the source of all light, when Romeo saw a window illuminated in Capulet’s House, and a girlish figure standing there,(Romeo):but soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east And Juliet is the sun/It is my lady,O,it is my love1 these words break from him, he has abandoned himself to the intense, swift passion, in speaking her wishes into the night, Juliet has unknowingly declared her love to her lover,(Romeo): o, Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art you Romeo?/deny thy father and refuse thy name, or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love/and I will no longer be a Capulet, Hearing these words, Romeo stepped faloud the shadow, and declared aloud that he will be Romeo no longer, I reality, this giving up of names was a token of love ,and the pair knew that they could not renounce
What they had been born to. Juliet feared for Romeo’s safety, but he brushed this aside, declaring that no walls or danger could daunt his love ,the lover’s speeches ran over into each
other , so excited and joyful were they, Both of them would like to lingered through the courtship and expressed their love ,savoring the sweetness of the flirtations and declarations of love.But Liang Shanbo and Zhu yingtai were deeply fettered feudal customs that it was improper for men and women to touch , other’s hand in passing objects and the marriage should be Arranged by the command of the parents and good offices of a matchmaker, Zhu and Liang were closely associated with each other for 3years ,although, in Yingtai’s heart ,she had decided that even if Heaven and earth passed away, her love Liang shanbo ,would never change, she wanted to be with him for all eternity, yet she did not express her love to her lover ,even when she was going to leave for home and she knew it is the best and the last opportunity to express her love ,but just as she was about to tell Liang, she sensed the bonds of her traditional Confucian upbringing, and immediately swallowed her words, she still presented to be a boy. and just hinted to Liang Shanbo that she was a girl ,On Yingtai ‘s way back ,she compared them to a pair of themselves to a pair of mandarin ducks ,but Liang was stunned at this ,and he said that only husband and life can be compared to a pair mandarin ducks, when they came to an old temple, Yingtai asked Old Man in the moon to use that red string in his hand to bind her and Brother Liang Tightly together forever more, Liang Shanbo was touched by her prayer, but thought nothing else of it ,The two again walked on ,until they they came to a little river ,just as the two were wondering how they could get across to the other side they suddenly heard the cry of water fowls, Yingtai quickly exploited this opportunity and recited: the gallant males swan sails ahead, while the female follows behind, calling him brothers, Liang Shanbo still did not catch onto her hidden meaning .Yingtai had used every possible nature analogy on the way to give him a hint about her true feelings, but also ,Liang shanbo still did not catch onto her hidden meaning, Yingtai had used every possible nature analogy on the way to give him a hint about her true feelings, but ,also, Liang still seemed Completely unmoved and did not even have the slightest suspicion that she was a girl ,Zhu Yingtai was always undeceive and full of hesitation, And liang Shanbo was completely an image of bookworms who was heavily led by the feudal morality.
2.3 Disobeying their parents
Zhu yingtai and Juliet both refused to marry the persons arranged by their families, by their father ,but by comparing ,Juliet was much more active and brave ,In addition to ,Juliet combined
brave with her wisdom in refusing to marry Paris, when Paris pressed her to declare her love for him, she sidestepped his efforts with coy modesty. when Paris admonished her not to slander her face, for it was now his, she only replied cryptically that perhaps it was his: at any rate, it was not hers. to escape further conversation, she turned to the Friar and asked if she might see Romeo right now, or should she come later, The reserve and caution with which Juliet responded to Paris was commendable, she did not let him think her willing ,lest he go to question her father : nor was she ever in the smallest gesture or word untrue to Romeo, when she came back home .even more ,she acted cheerfully, and pretended to agree to marriage, her insinuating conversation with Paris and being perfectly calm and collected show that she was brave and resourceful ,While Yingtai was tightly tied by the hedge of social ethnics, in a patriarchal society, she was in a dilemma, when her father force her to marry MA Wen cai she was just against her father in oral Ma Wencai and I are not a well-matched pair/I am not going to get married /I am unwilling to marry Ma ,But dating with Liang Shanbo in her balcony, Yingtai knuckled under to her father : we can not to be a pair /for for my father has promise to Ma wencai family’s matchmaker/ I am not able to be your mate/for my father has accepted the betrothal gifts from Ma family/ I can not marry you /for my father has betrothed me to Ma wencai ,Liang Shanbo ,Liang Shanbo even did not make any efforts to marry Zhu Yingtai,he was immediately ruined by the news that YIngtai has been betroth red to Ma Wencai,then he was ill in bed and died a few days later.
Liang Shanbo died of heavy lovesickness and melancholia after being refuse by Zhu Gongyuan, Yingtai was forced to marry Ma wencai and she had to agree with her father, But on the way to Ma Family, she firstly came to Liang Shanbo’s tomb and mourned him with deep
grief .suddenly ,the tomb cracked open ,and she ran quickly into the tomb, a few minutes later, Liang shanbo and Zhu Yingtai turned into a pair of butterflies. the ending of this moving and beautiful tale was rather mysterious and Zhu Yingtai fulfilled her promise to bury with her brother Liang. Though the couple of lover died because of pursuing their free love and fighting against the feudal ethnic code in China ,Their efforts were very limited, they had no courage to fight against the feudal ethical code when they suffered from setbacks in the process of striving for their free marriage, The death of Liang helped themselves nothing at all .After being refused ,Liang Shanbo merely took no actions and accepted the fact ,then he fell ill and died ,his death was completely worthless, and Zhu Yingtai ,at the beginning, was filled with A lot of courage, but learning the death of Liang ,what she can Only do was to die for love too. Juliet’s father also forded her to
marry Paris, whose family and the Couplets were fairly well matched in social status, but Juliet performed much more brave and resourceful than Zhu Yingtai ,when learning that Romeo was exiled, even Juliet’s Nurse did not support her and Romeo’s marriage any longer, but she severely
scolded her Nurse and paid no attention to her words, with the help of kind Priest, Friar Laurence, she took poison to pretend to be dead to escape the marriage arranged by her father ,she experienced the terrible test with the help of belief and strength of love ,Romeo misunderstood that Juliet Had died when he arrived at the tomb of Juliet and took poison.
When Juliet awakened and saw the dead Romeo ,she resolutely killed herself with Romeo’s
dagger, the ending of Romeo and Juliet was more mournful than Liang Shanbo and Zhu yingtai ,Romeo and Juliet strived for their love more entirely than Liang Shanbo and Zhuyingtai. 3. Analysis on their differences
Though the four characters had the same characteristic-rebel ,Zhu Yingtai and Juliet both
revolted against the feudal marriage system and pursued their freedom and happiness,yet the distinct differences still existed in their characteristics, Zhu Yingtai’s aspiration for love was as
eager as Juliet’s, but because of the stubborn feudal code of China and doctrine of Confucius and
Mencius,Yingtai even had no chance to get touch with young men, so pretending to be a boy gave her a chance to meet Liang Shanbo ,Even though she fell in love with Liang at the first sight, she just expressed her love to him very pregnant. In the process of pursuing freedom and love ,she had to attend to the command of parents and the good offices of a go-between constantly. SoIt was clear that her pursuing of free marriage was still filled with a tendency towards compromise, while Juliet’s pursing for Love was full of practicality, This was determined by her living environment, for she was living in the period of the Renaissance when the bourgeois’ strength has become much
more powerful, Young men and women had opportunities to take part in social intercourse publicly, so it was possible for Juliet to dance with Romeo together, and talk love and marriage with him, and openly resist the arranged marriage, her mother, who changed her Mind on the way and Priest, Friar Laurence who not only gave Juliet moral support and encouragement, but also gave her detail instruction on operations helped her a lot, Juliet pressed herself forward with an indomitable will soon after the love waked her up, when Romeo was desperate, she brought her lover a ring, It made Romeo feel hopefully and happily.
She married Romeo secretly, and even enjoyed their night of newly-married under her parents’
very eyes; she did not hesitate to take the means of telling lies and feeling death, which reflected the flavor of the times when the rising bourgeois in the period of the Renaissance had plenty of vigor.
Liang Shanbo,though died for love ,was not able to cope with fate and did not struggle for his freedom and happiness, facing to the obstruction, he felt remorse in vain and was at the mercy of the fate, he did not shake off the trammels of the feudal ethics and the old concept of marriage from beginning to end ,And Romeo, natured in the ideology of humanism, has a great deal of knowledge, zeal and the spirit of adventurer. on striving of free marriage, he was also brave, enthusiastic,Unswervingly Loyal and fearless. for love, he was ready to throwaway his family name, and finally, he gave his life for love without any his family name, and finally, he gave his life for love without any hesitation, Romeo was a warrior of the ideology of the humanism.. Different historical background and cultural atmosphere formed the different characteristics of the characters ,Chinese culture contained a stable social sense and the golden mean, which formed a conservative consciousness
Chinese people always adopted a tolerant attitude towards different things, and showed a spirit of restraint in front of cons tradition; western culture advocated specific character, adventure and opening up and strived for strength and wisdom, which formed an opn psychology, Western people always adopt an attitude of suspicion towards different things, and showed a spirit of resistance, so the characteristics of liang shanbo and Zhu Yingtai displayed the social property and the characteristics of Romeo and Juliet’ sent forth the glory of themselves.
Greek culture was the headstream of the cultural background in which Romeo and Juliet lived ,and one of the most remarkable characteristics of Greek ideology was the evident individualism, Qianmu, the famous scholar, pointed out that the individualism was the essential factor that made up western culture in one of his works, quite a few of philosophers of ancient Greece attaches to the individualism ideology very much, considered the individual was the standard of juding everything in the world, Epicurean, whose philosophical theory paid attention
to the complete independency of individuals, extremely canonized the individualism and emphasized that individual was the heart of human beings, he also stressed that individual was the center of everything and ultimate purpose of individual activities was to get enjoyment, Epicurean’s viewpoint offered humanists who pursued the unfettered characteristic the theoretic
bases, and pursuing the individual happiness and freedom were regard as their tasks, this humanism reached the peak of perfection in the period of the Renaissance, the specific character was liberated constantly and the individual status and dignity become supreme .individual has been an integral part of people’s personality, it is easy to understand the figures portrayed by Shakespeare who was influenced by the overemphasized individual culture were inevitably filled with a striking flavors of the specific character, Romeo and Juliet both followed their human nature and regarded their dignity and desirability as the heart of the life, and they never suppressed their wish, and sent forth the energy, so the glory of the specific character on Romeo and Juliet is very splendid.
While Liang shanbo and Zhu Yingtai ,the two characters were given birth to by the Chinese traditional culture whose focus was Confucianism, one of the cores of the Confucianism is 仁,and
仁 is made up of 二 and人,it was easy to see that Confucianism consider the individual as the
existence of social property, man coexists with other people. Confucianism emphasized man’s social property, not the specific character ,then the adherents of Confucianism completely inherited Confucius’s legacy and carried it forward ,even tended towards the extremeness, so the Chinese’s legacy and carried it forward ,even tended towards the extremeness, so the Chinese people were. at large ,short of independence and individual consciousness and unknowingly attached themselves to the social ethnics, and regarded it as their standard of activities,Wang Yuanhua, the famous scholar of China ,had analyzed the personality incisively, he thought the general character of our Traditional culture always oppressed the individual consciousness, which deprived the glory of the specific character. how can Liang Shanbo ,who was completely bounded Up by the social ethics send out the glory of the specific character?
LiangShanbo and Zhu Yingtai showed a completely sinitic
love :tender ,implicit,conservative,they did not express their deep love by words and deeps at all, for example, Yingtai always pretended to be a boy in front of Liang Shanbo, and the gauze of formality is always between them, this moral principles not only considered the doctrines of the mean in individual ideal ,motion and activity as the standard of ethnics, but also the origin and the standard of the value of the society, so it was Understandable that Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai had to submit to the command of parents and the good offices of a go-between,And were impossible for them to have any impermissible behaviors ,this kind of moral concepts was so sever to the individual that the figure of Liang Shanbo was honest, sincere, silly and ingenious, it was reasonable for him to seek love with much hesitation, he had no awareness of pursuing his love and freedom resolutely and bravely. he had no ability to fight against the concept of being well matched ,In social and economic status at all. because the old moral concepts did not entrust him the rights to seek his own happiness and he was completely the victim and accessory of Confucian society, once his love and the whole feudal ethnical Code clash, he only could do was to fight against the feudal ethnical code, in fact, her resistance was still bounded to the feudal ethics code :she pretended to be a boy to further studying, it was a resistance to the concept of ‘virtuous was the women without talent, but her resistance only could be done by pretending to be
a boy, she deeply lovely Liang ,but because of the feudal ethics code of ―girls must obey their
fathers before marriage, she had no rights to arrange her own marriage ;she was yearning to be with Liang Shanbo forever, but she had no courage to fight against the patriarchal system.
While Romeo and Juliet showed a spirit of unrelenting and Persistent struggle, they advocated individual will and strength, Romeo and Juliet radiated the vigour of their life, these differences were determined by respective cultural traditions, so the figures of Liag Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai 4 Conclusion displayed the social property and Romeo and Juliet sent out the glory of the individuals.
Generally speaking ,the different historical backgrounds, cultural atmospheres and social
ethnics formed different characteristics of the four characters, though the four characters were the figures of their freedom, happiness and love, yet the distinct differences still existed in their characteristics, Romeo and Juliet were artless, vivacious, unreserved enthusiastic, brave, fearless and full of vigor and vitality, they were bursting with youthful vigour. they pursued their free love fanatically and never shrank back, Romeo and Juliet followed their human nature and regarded their dignity and desirability as the center of their life, they struggled against the feudal system without a break and any hesitation and marched forward courageously.Compared with Romeo and Juliet,Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai were rather stiff, they did not dare to go to beyond the ancestor’s inflexible moral specimen.
They were tightly bounded to the social ethics, Liang Shanbo firmly followed the old formability, and wholeheartedly read the four books and five classics, he was frank and honest and simple and unadorned ,he was not as intelligent and lively as Romeo ,he was also lacking in the youthful spirit and the dashing spirit that young people should have. he was also did not possess the spirit of resistance, he even did not fight for his love and happiness bravely and courageously, what he always did was blaming heaven and man ,he was completely a victim of Feudal society inundated the human relationship and principle of feudal society inundated the human nature of Liang Shanbo’s ,in the period of Virtuous is the women without talent, she has courage to pretend to be a boy ,but in fact she was also deeply fettered by feudal customs that it was improper for men and women to touch each other’s hand in passing objects and marriage should be arranged by
the command of the parents and good offices of a matchmaker, so when she fight for her free love and marriage, she always was filled with hesitation, her struggling against feudal ethnics was not so bravely and entirely as Juliet.
These clear differences were determined by the respective traditional culture ,Romeo and Juliet were born in the background of Greek culture whose remarkable distinguishing feature was individualism, and pursuing the individual freedom and happiness was regard as huamnists’ task,
this humanism reached the peak of perfection in the period of Renaissance, the specific character was liberated constantly that time and the individual status and dignity became supreme, so the figures of Romeo and Juliet were influenced by the overemphasized individual culture and inevitably filled with a striking flavour of the specific character, therefore, they never suppressed their wish and they sent forth the glory of the specific character.
While Liang Shanbo and Zhu yingtai were born in the background of Chinese traditional culture whose focus was Confucianism, Confucianism considered the individual as the existence of social property, when their love and the whole feudal ethical code clashed, they, inevitably destroyed themselves.The different cultural background forms a sharp difference between the two couples of lovers.
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