The Change of Iife's ideal in the Poetry by Shin Suk-Ju

신숙주(申叔舟) 시(詩)에 나타난 인생이상(人生理想)의 전변(轉變)

  • Received : 2009.08.21
  • Accepted : 2009.09.23
  • Published : 2009.09.30


The poems of Shin Suk-ju can be divided into two periods around the political change by King Sejo; his poems from the former period show that the poet enjoyed abundant pride and leisurely spirit in the self-satisfying world driven by his determination to maintain a pure heart and save and awaken the people during the reign of King Sejong. His ideology of awakening the people, however, was the product of his heroic consciousness to achieve immortal fame. It was his heroic consciousness and determination to sacrifice his life for fame according to the mandate from Heaven that made him join the political change by King Sejo. His poems from the latter period clearly reveal that the way of his life to pursue fame didn't bring him spiritual satisfaction and happiness. He confessed that his conscience was destroyed as he joined King Sejo in his political change and the deeds he achieved and further his life itself were all in vain. He lost the values or orders he pursued, which caused instability in his life. Facing such instability head-on, he argued that right and wrong, true and false, and good and evil mentioned in the world were all subjective and groundless. Furthermore, he realized all the things and creatures of the world were nothing but phantoms. Those perceptions he had were based on Madhyamaka of Buddhism. Going through such a thinking process, the poet wrote about his mentality of a false reputation with ideal mentality. Heroic consciousness, Buddhist thinking, and pursuit of mentality of a false reputation found in his poems make also frequent appearances in the poems by major literary men in the latter half of the 15th century such as Seo Geo-jeong. His serious searches to overcome his conscientious agony and sense of futility about life had influences on the attitudes toward life and literature of the official literary men of the times. Seong Hyeon's statement that the major literary figures of the times inherited the literary tradition of Shin Suk-ju was not a rhetoric by courtesy.