Nguyen Du Essay

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Nguyen Du, in full Nguyen-du Thanh-hien, pseudonym To Nhu, is a famous Vietnamese poet. He was equally outstanding in composing poems in Han (ancient Chinese characters) and Nom (Vietnamese characters adapted from ancient Chinese), with his poetry pervaded with profound love for humans and humanitarian. He is considered by some to be the father of Vietnamese literature. Nguyen Du was born in 1766 in Bich Cau, Thang Long. He was the seventh child of Nguyen Nghiem, a former prime minister under the Le Dynasty. By the age of thirteen, Nguyen had lost both of his parents. At the age of 19, Nguyen passed the provincial examination and received the title of "tú tài", which made him the equivalent of a high school graduate. Nguyen's mother was his father's third wife, noted for her ability at singing and composing poetry. In fact, she made her living by singing, which at that time was considered a disreputable occupation. It is said that Nguyen may have inherited a part of his talents from his mother. He loved listening to traditional songs; and there was a rumor that, when he was 18, he himself eloped with a songstress. After passing the provincial exam, he was appointed to the position of a military advisor in the Royal Trinh army. After the Trinh Lords were defeated in 1786 by Nguyen Hue (the second youngest, most able and popular of the three Tay Son brothers), Nguyen Du refused to serve in the Tay Son administration. He was arrested and held for some time before moving back to his native village in the north of the country. In order to explain his situation, Nguyen Du was inspired by “The story of Kim Van Kieu” by a Chinese author, Thanh Tam Tai Than. The story had three main characters: Kim Trong, Thuy Van, and Thuy Kieu. The culture of Viet Nam was deeply influenced by Chinese culture. If would be mistaken if we believe that Nguyen Du was only translating the

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