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The Tuptim-King relationship 
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Tony Winner
Tony Winner

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Post The Tuptim-King relationship
Please forgive me if some of these descriptions may be graphic, but I don't intend to break the law.

Have you wondered that Tuptim embodied the King's desire to show his might by conquering Burma, even though this exciting adventure was dangerous? Have you also thought that the King could be seen as an embodiment of the colonialist in search of new territory? It was something that occurred to me in my Sociology class on Race and Ethnicity yesterday, but I feel it's better I didn't explain what lesson this ties in to, so that I don't break any of the rules on this board.


Tue Oct 02, 2007 1:46 am
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Broadway Legend
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Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2002 11:23 pm
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Post Re: The Tuptim-King relationship
Dear Yip1982, and Musicals.Net Posters,

SPOILER ALERT!

I'm slightly confused by what you're saying, Yip1982, but I think that you're saying that Tuptim's desire for her boyfriend symbolizes the King's desire to expand his global power, and that both parties (Tuptim and The King, respectively) are slightly scared, because they're both embarking upon adventures which could be dangerous in the long run.

Yip1982, I don't think that you're saying anything which is indecent. In fact, I think that you've brought to everyone's attention an idea which many of us haven't necessarily thought of. I know that I had never thought about theat idea before.

I think that Tuptim is involved in a personal struggle with the King, and that her desire to show her power as an individual clashes with the King's desire to show his power as a ruler.

Tuptim is a Burmese girl, and so, she is someone whom even the King's first wife has no respect for. The King thinks that he's conquered Tuptim, and now, he wants to conquer all of Burma, too. Poor Tuptim must be, for all intents and purposes, a slave to the rules of the King's tradition; yet, she is a disobedient slave, because she is forever looking askance at her dreams, even as she's pretending to worship her new King.

She secretly wants to have the power to make a better life for herself, and so, even when she's pretending to be "the good girl" who will sacrifice her self-respect in return for the King's graciousness, she is planning (or at least thinking about planning) an impossible escape for herself.

The King is also feeling trapped, but he cannot really see his possible captors. The King only knows that the outside world doesn't necessarily respect him, and that if he makes a diplomatic error, embarrassment, or war, could haunt him forever. He is trying to raise a ruling son, and other children, within a world which is choosing democracy, and, to some degree, disrespect, over the older ways, and he isn't certain about how to proceed with dignity.

Anna's influence is more or less the straw which breaks the camel's back; her influence is the monkey wrench which is thrown into the mix. She challenges the king, tells him that he will NOT treat her as one of his slaves, and symbolically sanitizes the palace life to suit the standards of decency which the English hold near and dear.

Then, she spares Tuptim from the King's rage, effectively embarrassing him, and showing his people that he not only has emotions, but that he can change; the King views change as a bad force, and his act of bending to that force, with regards to Tuptim, causes him to feel powerless before his people. He believes that now that they have seen him weaken, they too will change, so that they can never view him as the King that he was before.

I don't know that the King is necessarily a whip-cracking sadist, who really enjoys taking a whip to disobedient subjects, but I know that he sees the old ways as being the only ways which are worthy of following. He knows that even though familiarity might breed contempt, change breeds more change, until all that was starts to totally unravel.

I think that Tuptim and the King are locked in a rather symbolically violent battle of wills, and that Anna's English influence is the force which determines who will win the battle.

It's interesting to note that all three of these characters lose something. Tuptim gains her life in exchange for her boyfriend's life. Before the
King dies, he loses the old ways of life. Anna looses the King, and she doesn't even realize that she loves him until he's dying.

Gosh, I'm really making a slightly light-hearted musical sound like a real downer, but there ya' have it. The King and I, rainy day-style. LOL!

Thanks in advance for your replies.
8)











Yip1982 wrote:
Please forgive me if some of these descriptions may be graphic, but I don't intend to break the law.

Have you wondered that Tuptim embodied the King's desire to show his might by conquering Burma, even though this exciting adventure was dangerous? Have you also thought that the King could be seen as an embodiment of the colonialist in search of new territory? It was something that occurred to me in my Sociology class on Race and Ethnicity yesterday, but I feel it's better I didn't explain what lesson this ties in to, so that I don't break any of the rules on this board.

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Mon Jan 28, 2008 7:14 pm
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