As in any detective story, we learn the events from the head and tail instead of in linear fashion. He says the man died of a single sword stroke to the chest, and that the trampled leaves around the body showed there had been a violent struggle. There were no swords nearby, and not enough room for a horse—only a single piece of rope, a comb and bloodstained bamboo blades. A traveling Buddhist priest delivers the next account.
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As in any detective story, we learn the events from the head and tail instead of in linear fashion. He says the man died of a single sword stroke to the chest, and that the trampled leaves around the body showed there had been a violent struggle.
There were no swords nearby, and not enough room for a horse—only a single piece of rope, a comb and bloodstained bamboo blades. A traveling Buddhist priest delivers the next account. He says that he saw the man, who was accompanied by his wife on horseback, on the road, around noon the day before the murder. The man was carrying a sword, a bow and a black quiver.
He has captured a notorious brigand named Tajomaru. Tajomaru was injured when thrown from his horse, and he was carrying a bow and a black quiver, which he suspects was stolen from the body. The next testimony is from an old woman, who identifies herself as the mother of the missing girl. Her daughter is a spirited, fun-loving year-old named Masago, married to Kanazawa no Takehiko—a year-old samurai from Wakasa.
Her daughter, she says, has never been with a man other than Takehiko. She begs the police to find her daughter and her testimony trails off as she drowns her words in tears. Next, Tajomaru confesses to killing Takehiko, but not the girl. He says that he saw them on the road and upon first seeing Masago, decided that he was going to capture her.
He made a plan to lure Takehiko into the woods with the promise of buried treasure. He then gagged him with bamboo leaves, tied him to a cedar root and calmly brought Masago back. When she saw her husband tied up, she pulled a dagger from her bosom and tried to stab Tajomaru, but, being a skilled brigand as he is, he successfully dodged her attack and had his way with her. Originally, he had no intention of killing the man, he claims, but after the rape, she begged him to either kill her husband or kill himself—she could not live if two men knew her shame.
The survivor would be her new husband. Tajomaru, observing proper dueling etiquette, untied Takehiko so they could have a fair swordfight. During the duel, Masago fled, but Tajomaru did not notice. He says that he sold the sword before the bounty hunter captured him. In a Penitent Confession, Masago gives her account. According to her, after the rape, Tajomaru fled, and her husband, still tied down, had an indescribable light in his eyes that made her shudder.
She then unbound Takehiko, and ran off into the forest, whereupon she attempted to commit suicide numerous times, she said, but Kwannon, a bodhisattva goddess, must have kept her alive.
The final account comes from Takehiko through a "Medium. Tajomaru kicked Masago to the ground, and asked Takehiko if he should kill her. Hearing this, Masago shrieked and fled into the forest. Soon, his spirit leaves his body and retrieves the dagger from his breast, leaving him to sink down into the darkness of space. It is more akin to "repentance" or "penitence" because of its religious connotations.
At a quick glance, it is easy to see that the three stories do not match up. In fact, Tajomaru, Masago, and Takehiko each say that they killed Takehiko with their own hands. The things we can presume to know are as follows: 1 Takehiko is dead, 2 Tajomaru raped Masago, 3 Tajomaru stole the arrows, quiver, and horse, 4 Masago wishes Takehiko to be dead, 5 Masago and Tajomaru did not leave together.
There are many discrepancies between the various accounts and they vary vastly in significance. For the woodcutter, who first discovered the body, mentions a comb that is never brought up again. No arrows were shot in the duration of the story. Whereas the Buddhist priest says that Masago wore a lilac kimono, Masago says that Takehiko wears this lilac kimono.
The woodcutter says that Takehiko wore a blue kimono. Masago omits any post-rape conversation and says that Takehiko hated Masago and found her disgusting afterward. According to Takehiko, he is only enraged when she asks Tajomaru to kill him, and according to Tajomaru, Takehiko still loves her so much that he duels for her love. In the film version Rashomon, , the woodcutter steals the dagger, but this is slightly inconsistent with his account of the blood being already dried up at the scene.
Of course, Tajomaru admits only to the duel that follows the rape because he wants to make a wife of Masago. One may wonder how it could be possible to have such varied accounts of the same incident - an incident in which the very real evidence of a murdered man cannot be accounted for.
He began writing after entering Tokyo Imperial University in , where he studied English literature. While still a student he proposed marriage to a childhood friend, Yayoi Yoshida, but his adoptive family did not approve the union. In he became engaged to Fumi Tsukamoto, whom he married in After graduation, he taught briefly at the Naval Engineering School in Yokosuka, Kanagawa as an English language instructor, before deciding to devote his full efforts to writing. Literary career[ edit ] A set photograph of The second from the left is Akutagawa.
In a Grove Summary
The first section of the story comprises four testimonies given to a magistrate, a Kyoto city official who is investigating the mysterious death. The woodcutter who found the body that morning speaks first, confirming the location of the deserted bamboo grove where he found the corpse and describing the dry chest wound in detail. Next, a traveling Buddhist priest says he saw a man, a woman, and a horse the day before just after noon. To his surprise, she asked him to kill either himself or her husband, saying she would be with the one who lived. The next account comes from Masago herself, delivered as a confession in the Kiyomizu Temple. When she awoke, the bandit was gone; she concluded that she and her husband needed to die, now that her honor had been disgraced.
Rashomon Summary and Analysis of "In a Grove"
The woodcutter reports that man died of a single sword stroke to the chest, and that the trampled leaves around the body showed there had been a violent struggle, but otherwise lacked any significant evidence as to what actually happened. There were no weapons nearby, and no horses—only a single piece of rope, a comb and a lot of blood. The next account is delivered by a traveling Buddhist priest. He says that he met the man, who was accompanied by a woman on horseback, on the road, around noon the day before the murder. The man was carrying a sword, a bow and a black quiver. The next testimony is from an old woman, who identifies herself as the mother of the missing girl.