The Despotic Leader


“Immediately put death to all aged people…” (Matsuo Basho 1). These words were said by a despotic governor of a Japanese kingdom, he decided to make a law to immediately kill people. In The Aged Mother by Matsuo Basho the governor is a dynamic character, at the start of the story he is really aggressive and he has made a law to kill old people, but he has changed his opinion of them and abolished the law.

At the beginning of the story the absolute governor thought that aged people were useless to their society “A despotic leader who though a warrior, had a great and cowardly shrinking from anything suggestive of failing health and strength. This caused him to send out a cruel proclamation” (Basho 1). The governor declared a decree of immediately putting death to all old people also including the farmer’s (protagonist) mother, because he thinks that they can’t be helpful to those who are as strong as him so he wants to get rid of them.

However, he has changed his mind thinking that aged people were useless “the governor listened and then meditated in silence ‘Shining needs more than the strength of youth’ That very hour the cruel law was abolished, and custom drifted into as far a past that only legends remain” (Basho 2). He was convinced by the farmer and destroyed the law because he realized that those people are useful in their own ways and he also learned their own importance. This change of the character also gives an idea of a theme, everyone has their own use and importance. In conclusion, my character has changed throughout the story because at first he thought that aged people were useless to his kingdom and wanted to kill them all immediately however in the end of the story he noticed the importance of them and abolished the law.