Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program

East Asian Studies


English (en)

Date of Award

January 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Chair and Committee

Robert Hegel


The emphasis placed on morality became increasingly remarkable during late imperial China, especially at the junctures of dynastic change. This thesis explores the problem of the construction of morality, and I focus on two plays in which the idea of morality is presented in complicated ways: the late Yuan play Pipa ji 琵琶记: The Lute) which primarily circulated during Ming and Qing Dynasties, and the early Qing play Taohua shan 桃花扇: The Peach Blossom Fan) which deals with the late Ming period. In this thesis, I primarily treat these two plays as texts, and I try to answer how ideas of morality are constructed in them by analyzing their construction of characters, structural designs, as well as narrative perspectives.I inquire how Gao Ming and Kong Shangren deal with these feelings of anxiety in their works. Moreover, I situate these two plays in the time periods when they were produced, that is, the end of the Yuan Dynasty and the beginning of the Qing Dynasty, and discuss how different historical periods shape the way morality was represented. Finally, I try to link the way they construct morality in their works with persistent human concerns about sincerity and moral correctness.


Permanent URL: