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The Legend of Hua Mulan
Transcript of The Legend of Hua Mulan
The original historical setting of "The Ballad of Hua Mulan" takes place in the Han Dynasty.
A thousand years after the ballad's creation, Xu Wei's play "The Female Mulan Joins the Army in Place of her Father" takes place in the Northern Wei dynasty.
The Sui Tang Romance, a romantic tragedy play, created in the Qing dynasty takes place around the founding of the Tang Dynasty.
Fa Mulan vs Hua Mulan
The tale of Hua Mulan was born of a folktale titled "Poem of Mulan" and was written between 386 and 533 AD, when China was divided into Northern and Southern regions. Many versions of the tale appeared throughout the dynasties, each with their own twist.
The legend of Hua Mulan varries from dynasty to dynasty and the story as adapted from culture to culture but no matter the version the story still tells of a strong woman who loved her father and country so that she risked her life by becoming someone she was not and put her life on the line in war.
The Legend of Hua Mulan
Sui Tang Romance
花 木 蘭 的 傳
Poem of Mulan: http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/ps/china/mulan.pdf
Shan Yu, head of the Huns, rallies his vast army and prepares to invade China. In return the emperor orders one man from every family to join the army to fight Shan Yu.
Mulan is the only child of Fa Zhou and is seen as a great disappointment to society as she does not fit the typical "woman" mold.
Unwilling to let her father suffer a fate full of death, she sneaks out in the middle of the night and fills her fathers place in the war.
Mulan takes tips from her dragon sidekick on how to be "manly" and, while she struggles at first, she eventually get the hang of using weapons to her advantage over the span of a few weeks.
Mulan is forced to reveal her identity after being wounded but is spared by Captian Shang in a "life for a life deal"
Lepoard Skin, the leader of a rebel force, gathers an army to fight the Emperor to keep him from "conquering the east".
Mulan has an older sister and an infant brother.
Again, unwilling to let her father suffer a fate full of death, she plans to take her fathers place in the war. Some versions say she did this with her fathers blessing while others say she left before her father could say anyting.
Unlike our Disney princess, traditional Mulan already knew a lot of marshal arts and was good with a sword and bow and arrow.
Mulan fought in the war for a total of 12 years and later retired to her home, turning down any rewards offered to her. Only after she returned home was it revealed to her solider companions that she was female. The soldier's were surprised and she was never suspected once.
Fa Mulan vs Hua Mulan (count.)
Mulan, with the help of her trusty dragon and solider frineds, saves the Emperor by sending Shan Yu up into the sky with some fireworks.
Mulan is offered a reward for her services which she turns down but takes the artifacts of the battle with her to bring honor to her family.
Mulan's family is happy to see her home safe and every one rejoices (even her ghost ancestors), and Shang shows up after being encouraged by the Emperor telling him "You don't find a woman like that every dynasty".
Lepoard Skin, is captured and handed over to the Emperor and is to be beheaded for his actions.
Mulan is offered a handsome reward for all 'his' years of service, which he turns down stating that she wishes to return home to her quite life.
Her family waits at the gates for her return while her brother goes and prepares a great feast and they all celebrate her safe return.
Mulan is not followed home by a handsome general but instead has an arranged husband waiting for her at home, whom she marries and returns to her quite life as a woman.
In spite of their different messages and stories, both versions of Mulan see the heroine question her own identity. Disney's Mulan strugles with the restrictive culture women suffer, and Wei's Mulan is entirely comfortable in her own person and society (though she is a bit of a special case as her father raised her more like a son).
The Sui Tang Romance is very similar to the Wei play in many ways. The main difference is that the story involves Mulan falling in love with her companion captain who struggles with his own feelings until accidentally finding out she is a woman, the sole person to find out. He later meets with a tragic death during a battle and Mulan carries on as the sole captain for the Army. After her return home Mulan struggles with an identify crisis and cannot find her place in society so she later kills herself in secrecy.
*This is the most common version of the story however their are multiple endings to this tale.