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The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.  The Romance of the Three Kingdoms (TV-online) The Romance of the Three Kingdoms  A novel about wars during the period.

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Presentation on theme: "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.  The Romance of the Three Kingdoms (TV-online) The Romance of the Three Kingdoms  A novel about wars during the period."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Romance of the Three Kingdoms

2  The Romance of the Three Kingdoms (TV-online) The Romance of the Three Kingdoms  A novel about wars during the period of the Three Kingdoms  70% of the narrative is regarded as fact and 30% is fiction

3 Intended to proves the validity of the cyclical view of history, which argues the alternation of unification and division “the empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide”

4  Expresses author's view on the fleeting times, events, and human existence (lives of nobles and commoners)

5 Dynastic Cycle  The author advocated the theory of Alternation/cycle of division and unification –Warring states (Zhou) — Qin — Chu & Han — Han — Three Kingdoms  Historical development follows this cyclical pattern

6 Prefatory poem On and on the Great River rolls, racing east. Of proud and gallant heroes its white-tops leave no trace. As right and wrong, pride and fall turn all unreal. Yet ever the green hills stay To blaze in the west-waning day. Fishers and woodmen bomb the river isles. White-crowned, they’ve seen enough of spring autumn tide To make good company over the wine jar, Where many a famed event Provides their merriment.

7 Issue of Legitimacy  Was the new dynasty a legitimate successor of the failing regime/empire?  How could the new regime justify its status of legitimacy?  Is the justification accepted by historians? Gaozu of he Han, Woodblock, Qing

8  Han regarded Qin as illegitimate, thus claiming that it displaced Zhou as its successor and possessed the virtue of fire that overpowered Zhou, whose virtue was wood  What is the position of the author of Three Kingdoms?

9 The Three Kingdoms Forum  The Three Kingdoms, both Chen Shou ’ s history and Luo Guanzhong ’ s novel, provided a forum for discussion and debate over the issue of legitimacy  Criteria for dynastic legitimacy: –Moral virtue of the ruler? Why or why not? –“ Mandate of Heaven ” ?

10 Defining Virtue  Who were virtuous/virtueless leaders?  What are criteria on which to base one ’ s differentiation?  Is virtue enough for one to claim legitimacy? Any other considerations? –Lineage? –Power? –Political success? –Territorial control? –Lineal descent?

11 Scholars’ positions  Chen Shou: Wei was legitimate successor of the Han –Its political success  Xi Zuochi: Shu was legitimate –Liu Bei ’ s virtue, defined loosely as trustworthiness, sense of humor, and compassion  Sima Guang: Wei was legitimate –Control “ Northern China, Central Plain ”  Zhu Xi: Shu was legitimate –Liu Bei was symbol of Han nationalism

12 Liu Bei and Sworn Brotherhood  Novel  Initiated “ sworn brotherhood ” through a solemn ritual  Many episodes stress brothers ’ relationship  History  No mention of the “ sworn brotherhood ”  Depiction of their sharing a bed and their being kind to each other as brother

13 Liu Bei’s Character  Caring, benevolent, humane, righteous.  considerate, modest, understanding, forgiving  leader who cared about the welfare of people, worthy of esteem  Inconsistent, changeable, unpredictable,vain, and insincere  Not hesitate to compromise  Lacked moral scruples  Hypocritical

14 Liu Bei and His Ambitions  Fiction  Unwilling to take advantage of friends to fulfill his goals  Showed great reluctance to ascend the throne and become emperor of the Riverlands  History  Had little compunction in sacrificing moral principles for fulfilling life-long dream  Intensely interested in realizing his political ambitions

15 Liu Bei’s Respect for Zhuge Liang  Fiction  Three visits much dramatized and elaborated into long episodes in chapter 37  Zhuge ’ s analysis of the situation and his strategy described in detail  History  Three visits briefly mentioned  Zhuge ’ s writings indicate Liu ’ s visits and lavish honor given to Zhuge

16 Liu Bei and His Vow ( Novel )  Insisted to lead a large force to attack Wu to avenge Guan Yu ’ s death  Ignored Zhao Zilong ’ s opposition and mobilized his armies to attack Wu –“ If I should fail to avenge my brother, the possession of these thousand li of mountains and rivers would make an unworthy prize. ”

17 Liu Bei’s Death  Death scene (pp ) much dramatized  Novelist stresses further the close tie between him and his military councilor  Liu ’ s hypocrisy is suggested  Death scene no historical foundations

18 Liu’s testament (novel)  Liu to Kong: “ If my heir proves worthy of support, support him. If he proves unfit, take the kingship of the Riverland yourself. ”  Kong to Liu: “ Could I do otherwise than serve him as aide and vassal, preserving in loyalty unto death? ” He knocked his forehead to the ground until blood showed.

19 Liu Bei vs. Cao Cao (novel)  Liu Bei  A contrast to Cao  True hero  Showed profound grief over the rumored death of Emperor Xiandi  Cao Cao  Evil, disloyal, lacked virtue, unscrupulous, suspicious, ruthless  Talented villain  Cruel, brutal, killed kinsman and anyone standing in his way

20 Cao


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