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The Imperial Woman Essay

1289 words - 5 pages

In 1852, a Manchurian girl, Orchid, clan name Yehonala, was summoned to be viewed by the Emperor of China. On the twentieth day of the sixth moon, the last Empress of China was chosen. By right, her cousin, Sakota, was the Emperor's consort, but she gave birth to a girl. Yehonala gave birth to a boy and became the Empress, Tzu Hsi. Once the Son of Heaven dies, Tzu Hsi and the consort, Tzu An, became the Empress Mother and Regent. Since Tzu Hsi was the stronger of the two, it seemed as if she was the only Empress. Her son grew up to be the Emperor of China. All his decisions were still made by his mother, but he died young. Tzu Hsi had to find the next heir before any trouble started. She took her sister and the sixth prince's son to be raised as the next Emperor. Once the Heir grew up, Tzu Hsi retired to the Summer Palace. Again, she was called back to be the ruler of China since her nephew had made foolish decision. The people of China called her Old Buddha. According the novel, Yehonala was a beautiful woman with a fierce heart. Since she was a virgin, she was called to be viewed by the Dowager Mother and the Son of Heaven. She could not disobey the command. Yehonala wanted to marry her third cousin, Jung Lu, but the Emperor of China chose her to be one of his concubines. His mother opposed this decision because she noticed Yehonala had a strong spirit. Concubines were not meant to have ambitions, they were meant to be pretty and serve the Emperor in any way. Yehonala's cousin, Sakota was chosen to the Consort. Earlier, an older Sakota was Emperor's chosen one, but she had died. By tradition, the Emperor must fulfill his duties to the dead Consort by choosing Sakota to be his new Consort. Once Sakota conceived, the Emperor's duties were done and he turned to Yehonala. The Emperor did not leave his bedchamber for three days. According to the records, no concubine or consort had stayed with the Emperor Hsien Feng for such a long time. Yehonala became pregnant, but she did not say anything. If Sakota bore a son, then Yehonala would be useless. However, if Yehonala bore a son and Sakota bore a girl, then Yehonala would have the title of the young Dowager Mother. As it turns out, Sakota did give birth to a weak girl. Yehonala started to educate herself so she would be a proper ruler. The Dowager Mother had died at the announcement of the girl infant and the pregnancy of Yehonala. On third moon of the spring year, Yehonala gave birth to a son. According to tradition, Sakota had a duty to protect the Heir like her own child. Because of her status, Yehonala manipulated the Emperor to allow her to have an equal position as Sakota. Her name was changed to Tzu Hsi. Before her life was simple, now she has to defend her life and her son's life from the younger brothers of the Emperor. Prince Cheng, Prince Yi, and the Grand Councilor plotted to kill Tzu Hsi and the Heir while the son of Heaven was dying. Tzu Hsi very cunningly persuaded the...

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