What does The Temple of the Golden Pavilion represent or signify?His father knew about the adultery, but why didn't he react towards it?  Could it be love for Mizoguchi or that the Father is too...

What does The Temple of the Golden Pavilion represent or signify?

His father knew about the adultery, but why didn't he react towards it?  Could it be love for Mizoguchi or that the Father is too much of a coward to stand up to things? In a way, is the Temple a representation of his unpleasant memories, and is that one of the reason for him to burn it down?

Asked on by vocus92

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the temple represents not merely beauty but the ideal of the subjective notion that can never be manifested in reality.  From the most philosophical of view points, Mishima is forcing us to recognize that what is in the deepest realm of the internal, of the subjective, will never be fully actualized in reality.  What is in reality, in the external, is only a representation of what our thoughts and our own lexicons create.  Therefore, when we consider something like "beauty," we are forced to live with what is out there in reality as a mere representation of it.  For Mizoguchi, the temple signifies this beauty.  Yet, where the twist here lies is in the fact that Mizoguchi sees little, if any, beauty in his own consciousness.  If he were able to envision any beauty in his own state of being, then perhaps the temple would not be so painful to him.  Yet, his entire life is one of ugliness.  The manner in which he views himself and how he has internalized this into his own sense of being causes him to resent the temple, which seems to exist on its own plane of beauty and reminds him that this domain can never be reached in his own consciousness.  It might be this level of resentment, at both his own subjective experience and that he feels he will never be able to attain this ideal in his own mindset, that helps to create the need to burn the temple down.  It is a play in which the rift between subjective and external is magnified and upon which some level of dwelling upon it on the part of Mishima is present.

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