Rashomon Analysis with Fish & Iser

Rashomon is a story of different views of an event, not one is consider right, nor is it wrong. In light of this, Hermeneutics is used to analyze the story itself. Wolfgang Iser stated that the interaction between the text & the reader is the main point in reading of any literary work. He also says that a literary works has 2 poles: the artistic (author’s text) & the aesthetic (a realization done by the reader). It also is the very lack of ascertainability & defined intention that should bring about the relationship of the text & the reader. He also mentions loopholes, gaps known as ‘blanks’ that are missing in the seemingly trivial. They motivated the reader to fill in these blanks with all kinds of projections.  Stanley Fish, on the other hand, said that creating meaning in any literary (& non-literary) work is made from various interpretations. He also said that every different interpretation of a work is significant, even to the point that all attempts in finding which reading is correct fail.  He also explains that one person will have different performances when reading two ‘different’ works, while different readers will have the same interpretations when reading the ‘same’; in other words, both stability of interpreting among the readers & variety of interpretation in a reader’s career would seem argue for an existence of something independent of & prior to the interpretive acts & he said that these two are only functions of interpretive strategies, not of text. Fish then claims that the readers play an important role in making meaning & purpose in the text more than the author themselves.

To apply these, let’s say that the Text is the event: the murder of a samurai & his wife’s rape; the witnesses & the people involved are the Readers, & Interpretative Communities. They saw the events leading to the rape & murder differently; the people involved painted them differently as if one is the true victims, while others are responsible for such problem. The Ambiguity lies in their inconsistent testimonies which complicate the trial & the event more; these inconsistencies are also the blanks that the viewers have to figure out themselves, since none of these may be true or false. All of these fallacies are all sugar-coated attempts to save one’s skin for sure.

Also true is that if one tries to find a way to stiff up which testimony is correct, then it’ll be a failure, since many have their own versions, & it’s possible that they’re lying, as lampshaded by the woodcutter to the priest & commoner about the samurai’s testimony from the Underworld. In the end, they’re the ones have made the story of the murder & rape more complex with their story-telling & interpretations of the event in their eyes, rather than just coincidence (the author here) itself, blaming one or two for the misfortune they suffered, until reality looks very murky to no end.


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