Is Zhuge Liang the True Hero of RTK?

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Is Zhuge Liang the True Hero of RTK?

Unread postby ithxan » Sat Dec 03, 2005 10:40 pm

Hello everyone,

this is my first post and today I come to you all for some assistance. I am taking a Chinese lit class and we have finished reading Three Kingdoms (abridged unfortunatly). Awesome book; it was great to finally read the novel after playing the KOEI games for so many years. That aside...

For our term papers we were told to choose from a list of possible topics and write a 10-12 page essay (double spaced, 5-6 pages single space) on the topic we chose. I chose the topic "Discuss why Zhuge Liang is the true hero of the 3 Kingdoms saga."

It is required that I include FULLY CREDITED REFERENCE SOURCES (other then the Three Kingdoms novel), but my google and school library search for novels DISCUSSING the 3 kingdoms came up flat. Are there any books out there which may help me?

But the meat of this post is this: Although I certainly dont expect anyone else to write my paper, I was hoping some of the more "scholarly" types could help me out on this question. Why can ZGL be considered the TRUE HERO of the Three Kingdoms novel? I am sure some of you can make points quickly and easily, so that is why I come here for aid.

Thank you very much for your help. I dont often post my essay topics online because I usually finish them on time, but this essay is due on the 6th of December (3 DAYS!!!) and im starting to panic here.

Again, any help greatly appreciated!

ps: I can be reached by email at leonphoenix@gmail.com
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Unread postby No Bu » Sat Dec 03, 2005 11:49 pm

In terms of the novel here are some things Zhuge Liang did that made him a hero. This should get you started.

1. Liu Bei won his first victories against Cao Cao will the help of Zhuge Liang's strategies.

2. He called forth the wind at Chi Bi causing the flames to spread and destroy Cao Cao's fleet. (Note: It was actually Zhou Yu who was the mastermind behind the wind attack.)

3. Zhuge Liang insisted on an alliance with Wu which was later broken because of Guan Yu's retaliation.

4. After Liu Bei's death and Zhuge Liang appointed as Prime Minister Zhuge Liang united all of Shu by subduing the Nanman in the south. With the rebellions taken care of Shu became at equal stance with Wu and Wei.

5. Having resources from the south Zhuge Liang led campaigns to the north against Wei. The campaigns were mostly failures but he acquired some talented generals like Jiang Wei whom would greatly benefit Shu after Zhuge Liang's coming death.

6. At the Battle of Wu Zhang Plains, even though he and Sima Yi were at a stalemate Sima Yi was petrafied of him and wouldn't move out of position.

7. After Zhuge Liang's death people credited him for being the creator of many inventions like the repeating crossbow and the wheelbarrow. He is also said to have invented strange automatic transportation devices and an early hot-aired balloon.
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Unread postby Jordan » Sat Dec 03, 2005 11:59 pm

Well maybe try centering your essay around a central theme of why he's a hero. For instance make your thesis something along the lines of-Although Zhuge Liang initially started out as a humble scholar living in Jingzhou, he developed into a great hero, loyal to the cause of the Han, struggling with his adversaries until his very death and using every one of his talents to put up a valiant fight against the much stronger Wei faction.

For some reason when I think of the novel Zhuge Liang, I think of the Taiko Hideyoshi Toyotomi. I don't know if that helps but your thesis should not only state that he is a hero but also why you think he is one. Some good starting words for an opinionated essay thesis are Although and While.
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Unread postby kvn_m » Sun Dec 04, 2005 12:03 am

Since in the novel, Liu Bei is the protagonist, Zhuge Liang, being the greatest aide to Liu Bei would make him a hero. He was simply godly in the novel. Nuff said.

But had it been other sources besides the novel, then it must mean commentaries and the sorts, isn't it? Not the historical stuffs and all..

Then it's true that Zhuge Liang is a hero. Liu Bei from having no land of his own came to have a good relationship with a large kingdom (Wu), secured his own domain (Shu), and were able to show his prowess by repelling Wei and subduing Meng Huo.
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Unread postby ithxan » Sun Dec 04, 2005 12:09 am

thanks alot for the help thus far! Really!

As for my thesis, I was thinking something along the lines of "ZGL is the true hero of the 3 kingdoms saga because..." (then list points in my intro, and support them with examples, evidence and sources throughout the body of my essay).

Anyone know of any books or scholarly sources I can use to back up my claims?

Thanks again, the more help the better!
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Unread postby Jordan » Sun Dec 04, 2005 12:26 am

Well you can try Dr. Rafe de Crispigny's site but I have not read any of his stuff other than Generals of the South. He might have information about the true history of Zhuge Liang in other parts of the site such as in his writings To Establish Peace or even in Generals of the South during the chapters regarding Yiling and how Zhuge Liang took control and allied with Wu, putting up the argument to his advisors that even the Imperial Uncle Liu Bei made a truce with them after Yiling. Novel-Wise here's some stuff I dug up-

A detailed novel and possibly historical article on Zhuge Liang

Some information on him from Travel China Guide, a site that I've read stuff about the Three Kingdoms time often

Kongming Archives! Of course you want to scour through the main site of Scholars of Shen Zhou and search for biographies of Zhuge Liang done by people.

And yeah you set up your thesis perfectly since it immediately draws readers into your essay, explains your viewpoint and then after the because you can explain "Why" in a summarized form he was the greatest hero of the novel; then back that up with information in your essay. Oh yeah and if you want to try your luck with sinologist Dr. Rafe de Crispigny's site regarding the Three Kingdoms period here for the homepage.
Last edited by Jordan on Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Kong Wen » Sun Dec 04, 2005 12:45 am

One of your greatest sources that isn't the novel should be Moss Roberts's afterword to the novel (yes, you can source it and put it in a bibliography just like it is its own work). Moss Roberts has a big section on Zhuge Liang as the central character in the novel. I don't know what abridged edition you're using, but even the abridged Moss Roberts translation has the afterword. Seriously, look into it, it's a great source.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Sun Dec 04, 2005 4:33 am

Do you read Chinese and have access to Chinese books in your library? If so, look for anything 三國-related in the library. Any book that discusses the three kingdoms in general cannot avoid discussing Zhuge Liang. Another great thing to talk about is the perception of Zhuge Liang in later poets. There's a ton of poetry on ZGL, especially by Du Fu. Seeing how he was considered a hero historically might give you some insight.
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Unread postby Starscream » Sun Dec 04, 2005 5:11 am

Zhuge Liang was an over-idealistic individual like Liu Bei who believed in restoring something that was broken. He had some contributions and stuff but also had his shortcomings, equating him to a mere mortal, HOWEVER, he was worshipped by later chinese like a deity which I cannot understand. And most importantly, why was he viewed as a hero? Who is he hero to? :roll:

Personal grumblings aside, if Zhuge Liang's to be viewed as a hero, the safest way to do it is from the perspective of Shu and Wu. Attack from the points that he did a lot to forge the alliance between Shu and Wu during the battle of Chi Bi and compare his greatness with Zhou Yu's pettiness. The victory of Liu Bei and Sun Quan over Cao Cao in this crucial battle ensured Liu Bei's survival, hence he was able to expand his empire to Jingzhou and Yizhou in the later years.

Then also, talk about Zhuge Liang freeing Meng Huo 7 times, instead of executing him. This show of mercy led Meng Huo to believe in his benevolence and as a result, the Nanman submitted not due to force, but because they were convinced of Zhuge Liang's leadership.

Then you may talk about his northern campaigns. Zhuge Liang though foolhardy and ill-luck, marched his troops numerous times in his crusade against the evil Wei and Sima Yi. He died in his attempt, a show of tremendous loyalty to his empire.

Also, why was he a hero of three kingdoms? He had a vision which he shared with Liu Bei that the empire could be split into 3 portions. He assisted Liu Bei to gain one of the three. With his death, Shu (or the good guys' camp) fell in no time, hence, Zhuge Liang was "responsible for maintaining the balance in the three kingdoms", therefore, he is a hero of the three kingdoms.
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Unread postby kvn_m » Sun Dec 04, 2005 1:28 pm

in the context of history, Liu Bei should be viewed as a Han-loyalist, but nevertheless just another one of the warlords struggling for power. But in the novel, he is the hero. Zhuge Liang is Liu Bei's pillar. So Zhuge Liang must be the hero.
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