Themes of Freedom and Confinement in Yukio Mishima’s Patriotism

1. Introduction

Yukio Mishima is a Japanese author who wrote Patriotism, a novel about a lieutenant who commits seppuku (suicide) with his wife. The themes of freedom and confinement are prevalent throughout the novel, and Mishima uses character and characterization to develop these themes.

2. Themes of Freedom and Confinement in Patriotism
The Theme of Freedom

In Patriotism, the theme of freedom is developed through the character of the lieutenant. The lieutenant is a man who is confined by society’s expectations of him. He is expected to be loyal to his country and to follow the code of Bushido (the way of the warrior). However, the lieutenant feels that he is not truly free. He wants to be free from the expectations of society and free to live his life the way he wants to.
“I wanted to be free- that was what I had wanted all along. I wanted not to have to think about anything except myself and my own desires.” (Mishima, Patriotism, p. 70)
The lieutenant believes that the only way to be truly free is to commit seppuku. By committing seppuku, he will no longer be bound by society’s expectations of him. He will be free to live his life as he wishes and he will also be able to die on his own terms.
“Seppuku- that was true freedom.” (Mishima, Patriotism, p. 71)
The lieutenant’s desire for freedom is what drives him to commit seppuku. He is willing to give up his life in order to achieve true freedom.

The Theme of Confinement
In Patriotism, the theme of confinement is developed through the character of the wife. The wife is a woman who is confined by her role in society. She is expected to be a loyal wife and support her husband. However, the wife feels trapped by her role in society. She does not want to be a loyal wife; she wants to be free to live her own life.
“I wanted- how I wanted! -to break out of my role as a docile and subordinate creature.” (Mishima, Patriotism, p. 72)
The wife believes that the only way to be truly free is to commit suicide with her husband. By committing suicide, she will no longer be bound by her role in society. She will be free to live her life as she wishes and she will also be able to die on her own terms.
“Suicide- that was true freedom.” (Mishima, Patriotism, p. 73)
The wife’s desire for freedom is what drives her to commit suicide with her husband. She is willing to give up her life in order to achieve true freedom.

3. Yukio Mishima’s Use of Character and Characterization in Patriotism

The Character of the Lieutenant
In Patriotism, Yukio Mishima uses the character of the lieutenant to develop the theme of freedom. The lieutenant is a man who is confined by society’s expectations of him. He is expected to be loyal to his country and to follow the code of Bushido. However, the lieutenant feels that he is not truly free. He wants to be free from the expectations of society and free to live his life the way he wants to.
“I wanted to be free- that was what I had wanted all along. I wanted not to have to think about anything except myself and my own desires.” (Mishima, Patriotism, p. 70)
The lieutenant believes that the only way to be truly free is to commit seppuku. By committing seppuku, he will no longer be bound by society’s expectations of him. He will be free to live his life as he wishes and he will also be able to die on his own terms.
“Seppuku- that was true freedom.” (Mishima, Patriotism, p. 71)
The lieutenant’s desire for freedom is what drives him to commit seppuku. He is willing to give up his life in order to achieve true freedom.

The Character of the Wife
In Patriotism, Yukio Mishima uses the character of the wife to develop the theme of confinement. The wife is a woman who is confined by her role in society. She is expected to be a loyal wife and support her husband. However, the wife feels trapped by her role in society. She does not want to be a loyal wife; she wants to be free to live her own life.
“I wanted- how I wanted! -to break out of my role as a docile and subordinate creature.” (Mishima, Patriotism, p. 72)
The wife believes that the only way to be truly free is to commit suicide with her husband. By committing suicide, she will no longer be bound by her role in society. She will be free to live her life as she wishes and she will also be able to die on her own terms.
“Suicide- that was true freedom.” (Mishima, Patriotism, p. 73)
The wife’s desire for freedom is what drives her to commit suicide with her husband. She is willing to give up her life in order to achieve true freedom.

4. Conclusion

In conclusion, Yukio Mishima’s Patriotism is a novel about a lieutenant who commits seppuku with his wife. The themes of freedom and confinement are prevalent throughout the novel, and Mishima uses character and characterization to develop these themes.

FAQ

Yukio Mishima means that patriotism is a dangerous emotion because it can lead to violence and fanaticism.

Mishima's view of patriotism differs from the traditional Japanese view in that he believes that Japan has lost its way since World War II and that patriots need to revive true patriotism.

Why does Mishima believe that Patriotism is a dangerous emotion?

How does Mishima's experience as an actor influence his views on patriotism?

In what ways does Mishima feel that Japan has lost its way since World War II?

What are some of the specific things that Mishima believes need to be done in order to revive true patriotism in Japan?

Do you agree with Yukio Mishima's views on Patriotism? Why or why not?