personnage

Hong Dongji[Aussi écrit Hong-Tongji]

홍동지 (Hong-Tongji)

Korean character. Hong Dongji appears in Pak-Chomji norum (or Pak Chomji Norum, Bak Cheomji noreum) also known as kkoktu-gaksi norum (kkoktugaksi norum, ggokdu gaksi noreum), part of the traditional repertory of the theatrical form of namsadang and the troupe that carries on the tradition, Namsadang. Hong Dongji is the nephew of Pak Chomji. The latter is the protagonist of the play, said to be an old fallen country aristocrat.

The family name Hong is a common family name in Korea, and is also a homonym for “red”. Hong Donji appears naked and his body is red from head to toe. The word “Dongji” is a term for a low-ranking government official. But this does not mean he actually is one. The term was used among commoners as a way of calling each other, like “guvnor” (British slang for “governor”: boss) is used in England. As is the case for many character names in traditional theatre portraying common folk, the name gives a certain anonymity. Hong Dongji thus represents the common people. His language is vulgar but his manner straightforward and direct. He is rustic but right. He turns his derision on the aristocratic small-mindedness, petty formalism, and affected foppery of the upper class. With his naked body he symbolizes the life of the common man, free from hypocrisy and unnecessary dogma. Hong Dongji is the spokesperson of the common man.

(See Korea.)