Historical and Cultural Connotation of Chinese and Western National Heroes' Loyalism: Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Greek Mythology

By Min, Lei | Cross - Cultural Communication, April 3, 2014 | Go to article overview

Historical and Cultural Connotation of Chinese and Western National Heroes' Loyalism: Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Greek Mythology


Min, Lei, Cross - Cultural Communication


Abstract

Romance of the Three Kingdoms has given shape to a group of loyal and brave heroes of the Three Kingdoms, such as Zhuge Liang, Guan Yun etc. in Shu Kingdom, who take Confucian philosophy as the norm of their behavior. Greek Mythology has depicted twelve ancient Greek preeminent gods under Zeus' lead, who view "beauty", "wisdom", "competition" and "individual freedom" as their main philosophic values. This paper compares and analyzes the similarities and differences of "national heroes' loyalism" in Chinese and western history and culture from the perspective of philosophy, taking the historical images, literary images and folk images of the loyal national heroes in Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Greek Mythology as examples.

Key words: Romance of the Three Kingdoms; Greek Mythology; National heroes' loyalism; Historical and cultural connotation; Similarities; Differences

INTRODUCTION

Since ancient times, heroes have been becoming the icons who people worship, admire and are avid for being. Literary scholars coming from different eras and countries, mold their idea hero images and icons, create heroic images of different cultural and era connotation in vivid stories. Therefore, hero contains its special connotation in different cultural background. According to the culture of the Three Kingdoms characterized by the behavior standard of Confucian Philosophy, heroic images are the symbol of immaculate personalities and moralities represented by "benevolence" "righteousness" "wisdom" and "loyalty". This kind of heroes are honored with "loyal national heroes" who take bringing benefits to humans, protecting nation, being patriotic and loyal to the throne and country as their own responsibilities. Nevertheless, in Greek society, having "beauty" "wisdom" "competition" "individual freedom" as the main philosophic values, the ancient heroes view seeking for honor, showing off force as their utmost objectives for fighting. For them, their individual honor is above everything else rather than their lives. It seems to be the privilege for them to do any looting, carnage and carnality but not subject to moral condemnation. Occasionally, their sacrifice for humans is rewarded as the national heroes' loyalism; exactly it can be entitled as the warrior's heroic loyalism. There are similarities and differences that coexist in the historical and cultural connotation of the culture of the Three Kingdoms and Greek mythology. As for the differences, they are mainly caused by their different roots of philosophic foundation.

1. ANALYSIS OF RELEVANT DEFINITIONS AND CLASSIFICATION OF HEROIC IMAGES

Greek Mythology is stemmed from the ancient Aegean Civilization (3000-1200B.C.) which is the earliest ancestor of the western civilization and conceives an excellent nature and outstanding imagination. In the ancient time, people felt so mysterious and puzzled upon the natural phenomenon and humans' life and death that they fell into constant deep thought, in which cosmic inventory has its own life. However, after Dorians invaded, people were forced to expand their living space because of the surplus of population on the Greek peninsula. As a result, they looked up to heroes and standouts and were eager for the assistance coming from the superman heroes, thus there came into being many stories about so called national heroes, concerning humans and gods. When time went by, the created stories about humans, gods and matters had been formed into "Greek Mythology" called by historians. Greek Mythology is the spiritual product of the primitive clan society and the earliest literature in Europe, derived form 8 A.D before, and later had been recorded in Homeric poems and Hussey Russia's "theogony" as well as ancient Greek poems, dramas, history and philosophy until it had been taken into the shape of quite a scale on the basis of folks' long-term colloquial retelling. The stories have been organized into current version of Greek Mythology which is divided into two parts: one is the story about the Gods; another is the legend of heroes. …

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