The Story of Ch'ŏyong, from the thirteenth-century compilation of myths, legends, histories, and songs known as the Samguk yusa (Remnants of the Three Kingdoms), has attracted a great deal of attention in Korean scholarly circles. Much of the interest in the story has a nationalist flavor, in the sense that it is drawn to explain the seemingly passive behavior of the story's central character, the son of the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea, when he confronts a rather unpleasant scene upon returning to his home in the Shilla capital, Kyŏngju. How can a culture hero such as Ch'ŏyong behave in what seems to be a weak and indecisive way, the scholars ask. Most of the explanations ignore the admittedly obscure female character in the story, the beautiful woman who is Ch'ŏyong's wife. The present article pursues the question of what happens when the identity of the woman is considered a central rather than peripheral element in the story.


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pp. 31-53
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