You are not logged in.

#1 | Back to Top02-21-2011 04:10:32 PM

New Student
Registered: 02-21-2011
Posts: 1

The Mastermaid, The Witch and Chigusa (semi-spoilers for the game)

So! Hello, forum. I'm a student and taking classes in narrative and folklore which means, of course, lots of opportunities to think about how tales and archetypes figure in people's lives and thus about Utena. Right now I'm reading The Scandinavian Magic Tale, and in the conclusion the author is talking about how successful heroes are also storytellers with some narrative they want to fulfill for themselves -- but villains do, too. I came across this passage --

In The Madwoman in the Attic (1979), Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar analyze [Snow White] and give an astute and fascinating glimpse into the nature of the evil queen. They see her as "a plotter, a plot maker, a schemer, a witch, an artist, an impersonator, a woman of almost infinite creative energy, witty, wily, and self-absorbed as all artists traditionally are" (1979: 38-39). There is a certain admiration in that list of characteristics, and, frankly, does not that list of "qualities" seem like a snapshot of Mastermaid? (

We may admire the resourceful witch or evil stepmother of "Snow White" from a safe distance, for we dare not get close to her. After all, she is not only resourceful but also filled with a destructive energy that can easily be unleashed: as the truthful mirror explains, the queen is certainly beautiful, but truthful, as the mirror has to be, it must add a disclaimer (it must report to the queen that the irritating Snow White has survived the Queen's attempts at assassination and, thus, remains the most beautiful woman in the realm). Consequently, the queen who is passionately engaged in her narrative of being the most beautiful person in the entire kingdom is utterly frustrated. Active and ambitious, the woman is a stark contrast to the docile, pure, submissive Snow white, who is "the heroine of a life that has no story" (39).

-- and I thought at once of Chigusa, from the Sega Saturn game, and the scene where she compares Utena to herself -- and in a way, she's right. Utena is "passionately engaged in her narrative" -- she is going to become a prince and find her prince, no matter what -- just as Chigusa was engaged in the narrative of impressing her teacher and winning his affection. The comparison to Mastermaid is an interesting one, if you read it -- in that tale, the clever, capable woman slyly saves the day and gets the man. It concludes with the minister asking the woman if she'll love, honor, and obey, and the man saying "never mind that, it's better if I obey her." That sounds like exactly the narrative Chigusa wanted for herself before she switched to assassinating the past as the Wicked Queen.

And I do wonder if there was a moment where Anthy wanted to be a Mastermaid, too, right before locking away Dios.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that. Got an account and everything. emot-biggrin What do you all think? And what do you think "the heroine of a life that has no story" means, especially in relation to the princesses in Utena?

Last edited by ladyD (02-21-2011 04:26:17 PM)



Board footer

Powered by PunBB 1.2.23
© Copyright 2002–2008 PunBB
Forum styled and maintained by Giovanna and Yasha
Return to Empty Movement