Hsiang Yu: The Tragic Hero Confucius once said, “Study the past if you would divine the future”. The emphasis traditional Chinese culture has for centuries placed on history as an educational and guiding source is reflected in Ssu-ma Chien’s historical work, Shi Ji. Split into five categories – basic annals, chronological tables, treatises, hereditary houses and biographies – Shi Ji chronicles the history spanning an extensive time ranging from the original Yellow Emperor to the Han Dynasty. Of the five sections, ‘biographies’ remain the most intriguing. Ssu-ma Chien’s cogent yet vivid use of language not only gave insight into the character and fundamental worth of each subject, but also illustrated their particular virtues he deems that make each individual respectable and honorable.