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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 583

Sung Chiang

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Sung Chiang, the greatest of the warrior chiefs and the principal instrument for uniting the many robber bands. A scribe and a poet, he receives divine inspiration and becomes the sworn leader of 107 other chieftains. While he avenges wrongs done him by warring chieftains, he is not as bloodthirsty as are the pagan robbers.

Commander Kao

Commander Kao and

Commander Kao’s Son

Commander Kao’s Son, the chief antagonists of Sung Chiang and the other robber chiefs. The commander and his son are evil, dictatorial, and lascivious usurpers. The son lusts for a magistrate’s wife, and because of this another man is falsely accused, branded, and exiled. The bands finally unite to overthrow their military oppressors.

Wu Sung

Wu Sung, a giant of a man who kills a tiger in hand-to-hand combat. His brother’s wife tries to seduce him. Later, she takes a lover and murders her husband. Wu Sung then kills the two lovers.

Ch’ai Chin

Ch’ai Chin, a lord of one of the four provinces who befriends the most valorous of the robber chiefs and protects them from Kao. When captured, he is saved by magic.

Li K’uei

Li K’uei, the most loyal of all the chieftains as well as the most vengeful. Gentle in some ways, he insists that his aged mother be brought to their lair, mourns her death from a tiger attack, and bravely kills all the tigers. He causes his commander a great deal of trouble because of his headstrong nature. He often rights wrongs and saves his friend Ch’ai Chin.

Lu Ta

Lu Ta, who in protecting a girl is forced to become the priest Lu Chi Shen. He causes his abbot so much trouble that he is deported, largely because of his drunkenness, but he helps bring together the village lord and the robber chief, Li Chung. He opposes Kai and prevents the execution of a military instructor. He is much admired by village lords, robber chiefs, and military leaders.

Ch’ao Kai

Ch’ao Kai, one of the most resourceful and shifty of the robber chiefs, himself a lord. He starts his career by stealing birthday gifts from his governor,...

(The entire section contains 583 words.)

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Critical Essays