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First Emperor's Legacy

Good Essays
“ A man’s status is just the same as with rats. It simply depends on where one locates oneself!” (Dawson, 23). The Oxford world’s classic book, The First Emperor, is a famous writing about the first emperor’s legacy and how the empire continues after his death. Throughout this book we see a mass number of influential people. These same influential people all play a massive role in the development of the empire and even the change of the empire after the death of the first emperor. Sima Qian uses influences from lesser figures such as Lu Buwei, Li Si, and even Zhao Gao from this book to set up the motion that greater figures such as emperor Zichu and the Second Generation Emperor are completely reliant on lesser figures to achieve higher statuses…show more content…
To be a ruler in this dynasty you must be either be blood born or married to gain a higher position of power within the state. This is first seen when Lord Anguo marries a concubine and established her as chief consort. She was childless but she had full control of Lord Anguo. Lord Anguo had twenty sons, which made the air to throne very complicated. During this time if you were not a possibility to be the air to the throne you were most likely an artisan, a farmer, merchant, or a scholar. A merchant in this story that goes by the name of Lu Buwei becomes one of the most influential characters in this story. Lu Buwei may be identified as a lesser figure in this story but because of his actions with Zichu and other major figures his reputation will always be remembered. In the beginning of the story we find out that Lu Buwei is a wealthy merchant from the city of Yangdi and that he contains more wealth than the average merchant. Lu Buwei became wealthy by simply “buying cheap and selling dear” (Dawnson 3). Sima Qian’s uses Lu Buwei as a lesser figure to illustrate the dramatic impact that even a common man, such as merchant, can have a deeper role in this complex Chinese society. It is important to know that the typical…show more content…
Sima Qian does this by introducing Li Si and telling about his harsh living conditions in Shangcai before joining Qin. Being born and living in Shangcai was a negative towards Li Si’s status. His living conditions were so bad in Shangcai that Li Si was able to “notice rats eating filth in the latrines” (Dawnson 23) and those same rats would not even “be worried by either man or dog” (Dawnson 23). Gaining knowledge of emperorhood and leaving this terrible environment would be the only way he could fulfill his goal in life. Li Si’s does this by becoming “a member of the household of Lu Buwei, Marquis of Wenxin, the Chief Minister of Qin. (Dawnson 24). This becomes important because when Li Si becomes apart of the Qin dynasty he begins to live a life with higher achievements. Because of his advanced knowledge Li Si was appointed many titles such as the senior scribe and even the alien minister. As the alien minister, Li Si had to come up with ways to convince the King of Qin to not exile foreigners, which would of ended up ruining everything he had worked for. In the talk with the King of Qin about aliens, Li Si states, “ the four rules all made use of the achievements of aliens” (Dawnson 27). Sima Qian establishes that the aliens are the lesser figures but without the help of them than the emperors would have not succeeded. In fact if the
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