As with other Asian cultures, in Korea during the time of Sejong’s Joseon, Honor plays an important role in defining men. In Tree with Deep Roots, many of the men exemplify honor in their actions that define their character.
A large part of honor is keeping true to one’s goals and putting everything one has into completing that goal. In that regard, Chae-yoon is a great example of striving to complete one’s goal, no matter what the consequences are. Chae-yoon vowed to avenge his father and Dam after believing that both of them were killed because of the King. As a kid, Chae-yoon vowed to kill the King and as he grew up, all that he did was to achieve that goal. He joined the army and used it to learn how to fight and to get closer to the king. Along the way Chae-yoon met a master that he avidly sought out to teach him martial arts and assassination techniques so that one day he could employ them to fulfill his goal. Every time Chae-yoon comes in close proximity of Sejong, he calculates the chances of him successfully killing Sejong. Chae-yoon is fully committed to his goal and will stop at nothing to achieve it, no matter how terrible it is in actuality. This admirable trait defines him as a man and showcases his honor as a faithful son and loving friend.
As a king, honor means being fair and just while keeping the wellbeing of the people who the king governs in mind. As king of his own Joseon, Sejong proves that he is an honorable king as he works to benefit his people. When his father, Taejong, tries to kill Ddol-bok, Sejong gets in the way, protecting the lives of his people with his own despite being a direct disorder to his father. Sejong shows that he cares for his people deeply, willing to put his life on the line for any one of them. Not only that but Sejong defends the right of his people to speak freely and voice their opinions. During a meeting with his scholars and officials, Sejong makes a point that, as king of the people, he has the need to hear all of his people’s voices on the government. Sejong realizes that it’s his job as king to act on the people’s demands and must be able to hear what they have to ask of him. Sejong also realizes that his people need to communicate in order to maintain their own independence, that’s why he creates the Korean written language that is so simple to learn. Sejong is a king for the people and acts with honor and respect for his people. His honorable acts help to define him as both a king and a man to his people.
In conclusion, the men of Tree with Deep Roots demonstrate honor and are defined by their honor. Men like Chae-yoon, who are committed to their goals and willing to sacrifice anything to achieve it, show honor in their convictions. While Sejong shows honor as a king who understands the people are the most important part of the country.
Myung, Lee Jung, writ. Dir. Tae Yoo Jang. Tree with Deep Roots.
SBS: 05 Oct 2011. Television.
Tree with Deep Roots in Honor by Conor McKoy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.