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On the Three Transformations in Seng Ni Gong Fan 僧尼共犯

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image of Ming Qing Yanjiu

The object of this paper is Feng Weimin’s short zaju play called Seng Ni Gong Fan. The first part of the article deals with the more visible differences between Feng’s play and the traditional, canonical zaju, and here the writer tries to show how Feng broke away from the tradition while at the same time preserving some of its elements. After these macro-level observations, the second part deals more in detail with the language that Feng used in order to give life to his characters, and how he modifies well-known sayings, images, and tropes to obtain new, surprising effects. The third part deals directly with the choice of characters, the motivation behind their action and how their role changes as the plot unravels. Through a detailed analysis centred on the characters’ lines and on the already existing commentaries, this article tries to bring to light the underlying intention of the text, together with its ideological focal points, and ultimately explains the often downplayed influence that Feng’s zaju had on other genres of Ming theatre.


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