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Phrase & Stories
Legend of the White Snake

As for the main characters in the story, Bai Suzhen is a warm-hearted, clever, determined and brave young woman, who, for  sake of attaining her ideals, willingly sacrifices everything, such as by striving wholeheartedly under extremely trying circumstances to support her family and help Xu Xian further his career. In order to save Xu Xian¡¯s life she even risks her own when she steals some ¡隆茫herbs of immortality¡隆脌 for him, and she engages in the ¡隆茫battle on the water¡隆脌 at Golden Mountain even though she is pregnant at the time. All these examples amply demonstrate her image as a perfect woman.

 

Greenie, meanwhile, is a pure-hearted, candid and rational, although passionate, young girl. She has a strong sense of justice, and is also intelligent and brave, yet lacks fighting experience. She remains a loyal friend to Bai to the end. For the sake of Bai¡¯s happiness she is willing to undergo any kind of suffering or difficulty. Throughout Bai¡¯s joys and sorrows Greenie is always by her side.

Xu Xian is a loyal, kind-hearted and virtuous young man, yet he possesses definite weaknesses, such as his fickleness. He truly loves Bai, but when he is implicated in Bai¡¯s crime of stealing the silver ingots he becomes estranged from and suspicious of his wife. Later, when Fa Hai stirs up his anxieties by revealing to him that his wife is really a snake fairy, Xu Xian cannot help but feel alarmed. But because he is basically honest and kind-hearted he overcomes his suspicion, and his faith in his wife is restored after she tells him her true story. As Dai Bufan writes in Towards an Understanding of the Story of the Legend of White Snake: ¡隆茫Before the Dragon Boat Festival Xu Xian is a weak and unstable man. But after his wife¡¯s explanation to him of her past there is no more estrangement between Xu Xian and Bai : They become united once more.¡隆脌 It is for this reason that their love for each other is so precious. It is also for this reason that we, as readers, feel for them so much, and, conversely, have such deep antipathy towards, feel for them so much, and, conversely, have such deep antipathy towards the evil monk Fa Hai. The latter is an incarnation of feudal authority. In order to uphold feudal values he degenerates into a sinister and venomous character, cold and ruthless in happiness of Xu Xian and Bai Suzhen. It is his relentless persecution of the couple that drives the story to its pitiful and tragic end.

 
   
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