The Mystery Of Rashomon Essay, Research Paper
In the film “Rashomon” by Akira Kurosawa numerous characters display dissimilar testimony about a particular event and they all claim to have the story straight. To begin, a wood cutter who remains nameless is in the forest when he comes across a lady’s hat, a gentlemen’s hat, a piece of rope, an amulet case with red lining and finally a dead body in the thicket. Upon seeing all this he runs immediately to the police to report what he has found. The police do some investigating and find the man who they believed was to blame for the murder, lying on the beach next to a stolen white hoarse.
The police bring him in to be question to find that he is the great bandit Tajomaru and that he was not thrown from his stolen hoarse as they had thought but he had just drank bad water and was lying down because he felt ill. As the questioning continues Tajomaru admits to the crime of killing the man and tells his side of the story. He claims that he was resting in the woods when a man, Takchiro and a woman, Musago on a hoarse pass by as the cool breeze blows. This breeze reveals the Musago’s face to Tajomaru and he decides that he has to have her. In efforts to win the women he tricks Takchiro into thinking there is a tomb filled with treasure nearby and Tajomaru offers to sell its goods to Takchiro inexpensively. Takchiro agrees that he will take a look, but on the way Tajomaru attacks and successfully ties him up. This gives Tajomaru the perfect opportunity to pursue the helpless wife they left behind. In doing so Musago pulls out a dagger and fights fiercely with a strong will to keep Tajomaru off of her. Despite her efforts he Tajomaru soon succeeds in rapping her. Then Tajomaru begins to leave when Musago pleads that the two men fight, for she can not take being dishonored by two men. So the men fight and Takchiro is a good fighter but not as good as Tajomaru who kills him in the thicket after their swords crossed 23 times. After this occurs the wife runs off and Tajomaru takes off on the hoarse and sells Takchiro’s sword for sake.
Following the testimony of the bandit the police then hear the testimony of the Musago. She starts off by saying that after Tajomaru took advantage of her and she could not put up any sort of fight because she is too weak. After Musago was raped she went to her husband to be consoled and too untie him but what she found was pure hatred for her in his eyes. She couldn’t bear the look that said, “I hate you and you have dishonored me”, so she passed out rite in front of him. When she awoke she found the dagger in his chest and assumed that she had killed him in a fit of rage. Upon realizing this she left the body, which was in a cleared area, and ran to drown herself in a nearby pond but failed. She claimed that she was just a helpless woman, what else could she possibly do?
At this point the police are thoroughly confused and decide they must contact the dead husband by way of a medium. Takchiro tells the police that the bandit consoled his wife and pleaded to come with her to go away with him. Musago agrees eagerly but only if Tajomaru will kill her husband. He says that he will do no such thing and in response Musago runs off. The bandit tries to chase her but he fails and comes back to untie Takchiro, who then kills him self with the dagger in the clearing.
Then the woodcutter comes forward and admits that he has seen the whole incident from only a short distance away. He says that Takchiro calls his wife a whore and will not fight for her but Musago says that she will belong to the winner so Tajomaru and Takchiro fight even though they both know they are bad fighters and do not want to. In fact Takchiro is only fighting to defend his life. As the story goes on the bandit wins and kills Takchiro in the thicket. The woman then runs off and Tajomaru never caches her.
This was all the sworn testimony from the four eyewitnesses to the atrocious event, but which one is right? I believe that none of the characters have an accurate description of what happened because they have forgotten important details or they are making themselves look more honorable. I will make an effort to re-write the story the way I think it happened, and then explain why each interrogatory lied.
Tajomaru was in the forest resting when he sites a beautiful girl and her husband that pass by on an elegant hoarse. He thinks that he must have a taste of the girl so he will trick her husband and tie him up. Tajomaru then proceeds to tell Takchiro that there is a tomb with lots of goods in it, which he will sell cheaply. The husband falls for it and while on the way to the tomb Tajomaru attacks him from behind and ties him up. After he accomplishes this, the bandit goes and tries to rape the wife and she put up a fierce fight, but Tajomaru ultimately succeeds. As the story continues, the bandit pleads with Musago to leave her husband and to come with him. She disagrees but when she sees the hate that Takchiro has for her she tells the two men to fight for her. Both men are not eager to fight, but they do any way for their honor as well as for Musago. It just so happens that the bandit gets a lucky stroke of his sword and pushes Takchiro in the thicket where he is struggles to move. With this advantage, Tajomaru slays Takchiro with his sword and leaves him in the thicket. Musago sees this entire event going on and can not bear the stress, so she runs away. Tajomaru, confused and shaken runs after her but can not catch her. After the bandit leaves the wood cutter enters the crime scene and steals the dagger that Musago had dropped while fighting Tajomaru for her purity and quickly runs to the police to tell of what he has seen. Tajomaru then returns to the site of the murder and takes Takchiro’s sword and rides the hoarse away. A short time after, he sells Takchiro’s sword for sake and gets drunk causing him to fall off his hoarse on the beach later on, where the police found him. All the while, Musago has been hiding out in the woods pondering what to do until the police pick her up and take her in for questioning. This, in my opinion, is exactly how the ugly incident occurred.
As one can see the “true” story varies greatly from the all of the eyewitness accounts for good reason. To begin, Tajomaru lies about falling off his hoarse to make the police feel foolish, but in reality he feel off drunk then passed out. He continues to lie by saying that both he and Takchiro are great sword fighters to make him look like his a skilled, macho guy, but other than these two fibs Tajomaru’s story was rather accurate. Musago’s story, however, was not so accurate. First she lies that she did not put up a fight when the bandit raped her to make herself like an innocent victim. Then she lies about killing her husband because she feels bad about making the two men fight, especially since he got killed. Also she lies about having them fight so she does get the blame for the murder, for the police would be angrier if they knew she instigated the fight than if she killed him in a moment of stress and confusion. She did not place the body in the thicket simply because it did not fit with the rest of her story. Next, Takchiro lies through out his testimony for several reasons. Foremost he lies about consoling his wife so he doesn’t seem like an insensitive jerk. Then he lies about not wanting to fight for her because he then realizes it was pointless since he lost his life and was dishonored. Also he lies about killing himself to make his death seem more honorable, but in reality he was ashamed that a common bandit defeated him. Lastly, the woodcutter’s story is almost exactly accurate except for two things. He lies about not seeing the dagger, for in reality he stole the dagger and probably soled it. He also lies that he saw nothing until hours after the crime had been committed, he does not come forward in fear that the police will realize he tampered with the crime scene and stole the dagger for his personal gain. All the above reasons are why the interrogatories lied throughout their testimonies.
In summation the four eye witnesses in the movie “Rashomon” distorted reality in there heads to make themselves look like honest, more honorable people.