Theme Of Patriarchy In The Han Dynasty

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TThe Confucian tradition of ancient Chinese society maintained a distinction between the duties of men and women. The ideal woman was subordinate to males, such as her father, husband, brother, and sons. For instance, Ban Gu incorporated the story of Beautiful Companion Ban, to praise her morals and values as the Emperor’s dutiful wife. Likewise, Liu Xiang drew from this ideology, emphasizing the importance of women’s loyalty to, and righteous in, how they should help their husbands. Despite these literary expressions of patriarchy, the ideal did not always match reality. There were, for instance, descriptions in Ban Gu’s book, of Zhao sisters, who held power in the court, using beauty to manipulate and control the emperor. Ban’s work provides a more comprehensive portrayal of women’s true roles and status in the Han dynasty. Similarly, Sima Qian depicted another significant woman, Empress Lü, who, just like Zhao sisters,…show more content…
He composed Sung, which was his own interpretation and compliment for all these women. The morals Liu presents were loyalty to husbands and the family, righteousness to the nation, and abdicating private love. For example, the Lady Nee Chao perfectly demonstrated her loyalty to her husband. When her younger brother Hsiang-tzu secretly attacked and killed her husband, the King of Tai, she refused to follow Hsiang-tzu, and returned to her country. Because, as she pointed out, she married – and was thus obligated to serve – the King of Tai for her entirely life; thus, when her husband died, even her brother, could not coax her to return, and she ultimately committed suicide (Liu, 139). Liu notes that she demonstrated righteous principles, maintaining chastity and propriety (Liu, 139). In other words, the values that she exhibited should be honored and promoted by society: she was a model for other

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