Yurang’s Revenge is a story based on one of the events in ancient China that occurred towards the end of the Chunqiu era. During this period, a civil war broke out between the clan of Zhi and the clans of Fan, Zhonghang, Zao, Han and Wey. Zhi was conquered and the count of Zhi was killed. His skull was made a drinking cup of Xiangzi, the ruler of Zhao. This made Yurang, one of Zhi’s most loyal warriors, angry and he thus sought revenge on behalf of his master. Zhi’s territory was subdivided between the clans of Zhao, Han and Wey.
Yurang fled to the mountains when Zhi was placed under the rule of Xiangzi. Yurang then inflicted wounds on himself so that he could disguise himself as a convict. This he did so that he could gain entry to the palace and avenge for Zhi by executing Xiangzi. Yurang’s weapon of execution was a trowel whose blade was sharpened like a blade. On entering the palace, he pretended to be a plasterer. Xiangzi however became suspicious of him and had him questioned. His suspicions were confirmed when the attendants told him indeed it was Yurang.
Xiangzi could not understand why he was so loyal to Zhi even after he had been killed and his body mutilated. Yurang told Xiangzi that Zhi had treated him as a hero and what he was a after was a revenge befitting a hero. Xiangzi however told him that he had already achieved enough and he should stop seeking any more heroic rewards. Xiangzi was merciful to Yurang and released him. However did not wish their paths to cross again as this would force him to execute him.
Yurang went back to the mountains and this time he disguised himself as a leper. In fact his wife was unable to recognize him and was only able to do so because of his voice. This made him swallow ash until his voice was only a croak. He still wanted to revenge for his master. Yurang’s friends however felt different about the whole saga. They told him that he was a strong willed man but he lacked in wisdom. They urged him to serve Xiangzi rather than fight him. According to them it would be far much better for him as he would win the trust and friendship of Xiangzi easily. Furthermore it would bring more honor to him than serving Zhi had as Xiangzi was a respected ruler. Yurang however was adamant saying that this would be a betrayal of his former master who he still felt obliged to serve and revenge for. In addition, his heart would not allow him to serve a master who he was not fully loyal to and who he had the aim of executing.
Later, Yurang learnt that Xiangzi would be travelling and he would pass near the mountains. He then went and hid under a bridge from where he would way lay him as he passed by. However Xiangzi horse refused to cross the bridge. He immediately knew that it was Yurang. Yurang then came out of his hiding place. Xiangzi was not as merciful as he was the previous time. He knew if he would let him lose again, he was only giving Yurang another chance to try and execute him as he was not willing to give up on his mission. Yurang too accepted that this time he would not escape punishment. He however had one request which he wanted to fulfill before his execution. He asked that he may strike Xiangzi cloak with a sword. Xiangzi honored his request and sent his attendants with the cloak to him. Yurang stuck the cloak and then fell on his sword. Striking Xiangzi’s cloak according to him was the only way he could seek revenge for his master.
This story is about two characters who are used to create a story about ancient China. It is important to analyze their characters in order to better understand the story. First we look at the character of Yurang, who is the main character in the story. Yurang is a strong willed character who believes that he must accomplish what he starts. He goes to great length to disguise himself so as to gain entry to the palace. He then disguises himself for a second time as a leper. When he sees that his wife can recognize his voice, he swallows ash such that his voice is only a croak. This shows how determined he is to avenge for his master. He is also loyal; he refuses to serve Xiangzi even when his friends try to convince him to do so. However his loyalty borders sycophancy as he torments himself greatly just to seek justice fro his master. His loyalty is also seen when he strike Xiangzi’s cloak as this is the only form of revenge that he can seek for his master.
Xiangzi on the other hand can first be seen as a brutal ruler. He makes Zhi’s skull to be his drinking cup and later ensures that Yurang is dead. On the other hand he is also seen as a forgiving good hearted man. He lets Yurang free even after it is apparent that he wanted to execute him with a sharpened trowel by pretending to be a plasterer and thus entering the palace. He also grants Yurang’s wish and lets him strike his cloak as a way of revenging for Zhi.
The story like all other stories on ancient times has some element of a myth or a fictional story. For instance it is not easy to understand how Xiangzi is able to detect Yurang’s presence every time even if he tries to disguise himself. It also not explained how Yuarang could inflict so much harm on his body without affecting his health. He mutilates himself to the extent he looks like a leper and swallows so much ash that his voice becomes only a croak.
However, this might have been one of themes of the story. The writer of this story might have purposely made it possible for the two characters to meet more by coincidence or chance to make the story more interesting. Imagery is also used to develop the plot of the story. It is said that he mutilated his body until it became like that of a leper. His voice was also became a small croak. Yurang’s trowel had an edge sharpened like a blade. This goes a long way to make the story more vivid and one can almost feel like he or she is actually there as the events unfold. Therefore imagery is used in the form of similes to make the story more vivid. All in all the story is short, simple but an interesting account of two different characters in ancient China.