Why did most of the ancient Chinese myths have a strong tragic color?

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When it comes to ancient myths, what do people think of? The following is a brief introduction to the relevant historical deeds of China story network.

Referring to ancient Chinese myths, Pangu, Nuwa, Fuxi… These familiar names will appear in people’s minds.

Myth is an initial cultural form in the early development of human beings, which reflects the most simple ideas of human beings. Myth has different characteristics in different cultural systems.

In China, the ancient fairy tales not only reflect the thoughts and feelings of the Chinese nation, but also have a strong tragic color. Why can’t many ancient myths that people are familiar with get around the background of tragedy?


Beyond self, saving the common people and fighting against the myth and tragedy behind nature

??1. Beyond human tragedy

Kuafu chasing the sun is a typical story of ancient human beings’ pursuit of self transcendence. Seeing the scene that the people were struggling in the scorching sun, Kuafu became very interested in the sun. He wanted to find out what the thing hanging in the sky was. So he ran after the sun all the way and finally fell on the way.

Some people say that Kuafu is overestimating himself day by day, but behind Kuafu’s tragic story is the awakening of human self-consciousness at that time, which reflects the characteristics of human surpassing themselves and pursuing self-worth.

In ancient mythology, the sun is an existence with magical power. But in Kuafu’s eyes, the sun is no longer mysterious, but regarded as something that human beings can conquer. Therefore, Kuafu embarked on a daily journey.

The tragedy of Kuafu’s day-to-day life lies in that human beings are eager to surpass themselves, but they are limited by the laws of nature and always have limits that are difficult to break through.


??2. The tragedy of sacrificing oneself to save the common people

In ancient Chinese mythology, there is no obvious boundary between God and man. Some gods are not superior, and they have a certain connection with the world. Sometimes they were sent by the emperor of heaven to save mankind, and some were deified because they were so brave in leading the struggle between mankind and nature.

But in any case, the stories of those who sacrificed their lives to save the common people left an indelible sadness in the ancient myth system of our country. For example, Hou Yi.

There are ten suns in the sky, scorching the earth, and severe drought has plagued human life. So Yi was sent down by the gods to solve the problems in the world. He took up his long bow and shot toward the sky. With the sound of arrows, there was only one of the ten suns in the sky.

However, although Yi “eliminated the harm for the people”, he was no longer popular with the emperor of heaven. Because the ten suns were all the sons of the emperor of heaven. He sent Hou Yi to solve the problem, but he never thought that Yi would shoot his son.

After that, Yi’s life was full of twists and turns. First, his wife was not at peace with him. Yi’s wife, she, was a heavenly daughter, but she could not go to heaven again because of Yi, so they were estranged. Yi’s temperament changed greatly. The servant who had seen his face for a long time was angry and rebelled. Finally, Yi died at the hands of his own men.


It has to be said that Yi died wrongly. In order to save the common people, he did not hesitate to bet his future in the divine world. He relieved the suffering of the people all over the world, and he himself was hated by the emperor of heaven. In front of individuals and common people, Yi chose the masses, but also left a tragic ending for himself.

??3. The tragedy of the confrontation between man and nature

Jingwei reclamation is a typical representative of the ancient myth against the tragedy of nature.

Nvwa, the youngest daughter of Yan Emperor, was drowned in the sea when she went to the East China Sea one day. Her soul turned into a bird, named Jingwei, with a flower head, a white mouth and red feet. She carried a small stone in her mouth every day and threw it into the East China Sea to fill the sea.

Jingwei’s tragedy is a true portrayal of the tragedy of man and nature. The rivers flowing eastward were the basis for the survival of ancient human beings. However, the continuous flooding threatens human life all the time.

When a beautiful young woman is captured by the merciless sea, we see the vulnerability and powerlessness of human beings in front of nature.

Where did the tragic elements in ancient myths come from

??1. Poor natural conditions make human beings feel difficult to survive

In ancient times, human beings needed to fight with nature if they wanted to survive. However, in the era of low productivity, people’s survival ability is not high. In front of nature, human beings are particularly small.

Whether it is the struggle with nature or the pursuit of human values in the universe, in this process, human beings find that destiny is changeable and their ability is limited. This irresistible force has become an important reason for mythological tragedies.


In the face of the majesty of nature, human beings feel uneasy and frightened. They want to fill the sea, stop floods and change the hot summer, but they find that all these are not transferred by human will.

??2. Frequent struggles in times of chaos

In the ancient myth system, the world was not peaceful. After the golden age of Nuwa and the silver age of Yan Emperor, the next period of time was the brass age.

During this period, human beings continued to multiply, and the food of nature could not meet human needs. There will be various struggles and even wars between different tribes because of living space and food. At the same time, various wild animals and monsters of nature also frequently harass human life.

Chaos became a theme word at that time. How to survive in chaos tested not only a certain group, but also the whole human race. Whether it is the contradiction between man and God or the war between man and animals or tribes, it must have the joy of the winner and the sadness of the loser.

The tragedy in myth is not necessarily a bad thing

??1. The noble spirit behind tragedy

Although the tragedies in the fairy tales are heartbreaking, the spirit behind them is inspiring. Those spirits that transcend the dimension of life are the cultural context of the Chinese nation for thousands of years.

In this land of China, the steep mountains and rivers and frequent natural disasters make the people here more tenacious. Although there are tragedies of failure to fight against nature, the hard work and enterprising spirit embodied in people’s efforts are noble.


Through Jingwei’s tragic story, we can see a fragile little life struggling with nature. She dived into the sea with pebbles in her hands again and again, hoping to fill the sea. No one was moved by her courage and courage.

In the long historical process of the Chinese nation, “suffering” is an inextricable topic. But with suffering, there are many heroes. For example, Xiang Yi sacrificed himself and undertook all the hardships for the people of the world.

Although Yi’s death was a tragedy, people always remember his kindness. After his death, people regarded him as the God of Zongbu. After the Tang Dynasty, it was said that Zhong Kui was the incarnation of Yi, especially in people’s hearts.

In ancient mythological stories, tragedy has a certain inevitability, but whether it is a cruel struggle or a test of life and death, the protagonists of these stories show a powerful spiritual force, which is shocking. Although they can not get rid of tragedy, it is completely different from pessimism and depression.

??2. The end of a tragedy often means a new life

In ancient Chinese myths, life and death are not a simple binary problem. In the myth system, even though the body can die, the soul can live forever.

So in ancient myths, those lost lives can be transformed into mountains, rivers and huge peaks. In this way, people in ancient times turned those tragic life endings into eternal vitality.

For example, the story of Yi. In the book of mountains and seas, Gu was appointed to control water. At that time, he used soil to block the river. What he used was not ordinary soil, but xirang, which was regarded as a treasure by the emperor of heaven.

Originally, his method worked, but after the emperor of heaven found that he had stolen his treasure, he sent people to kill him, so he failed to control the water.


In the final analysis, he also sacrificed himself to save the common people, but although his life ended, he gave birth to a new life.

In the myth, Gu’s body did not decay for three years, and his son Yu grew out of his stomach. Yu had accumulated all kinds of energy in his belly, so he inherited his father’s career and successfully controlled the flood. Although his story is tragic, it has realized the sustainability of life.

In the ancient myth system, human beings always exist in contradictions, and need to deal with the contradictions between man and nature, and between different tribal groups. Tragedy arises from the exploration of human beings’ own value, and in this process, they constantly strive for it.

Although the tragedy of fairy tales makes people lament the impermanence of fate and the insignificance of mankind, tragedy is not equal to negativity. Behind the tragedy, we can see the tension of life and the lofty value, which is also the charm of ancient Chinese myths. Disclaimer: the above content originates from the Internet, and the copyright belongs to the original author. Please inform us if your original copyright is infringed, and we will delete the relevant content as soon as possible.

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