Who is Lady Hyegyong writing for? And why?
The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong is a collection of Lady Hyegyong’s writings when she has been a princess of Korea. She wrote what had occurred in her life including her husband’s death. She wrote to stop the rumors that were going on about her husband’s death. Lady Hyegyong defended her father and brothers against charges of treason. She also contended that her husband did not cause his death. Her writings were addressed to her grandson, King Sunjo, to restore the honor of her family.
Lady Hyegyong was at age 9 when she got married to a Korean Prince who was called Sado. She witnessed her husband went mad and she became a widow being very young. She wrote to try to explain what could have caused the death of her husband. She explains that her husband had become mad and was not in the right state of mind when he was dying. She blamed the disrespectful servants to be the cause of the madness of her husband. The king had asked Sado, his son, to move to the previous king’s quarters where the servants were still royal to the previous kings to the point of being disloyal to Sado. Sado got married at an early age and this could have caused his madness. Lady Hyegyong also blamed evil spirits to have caused her husband’s madness.
Sado was so frustrated that he even murdered his servants. He killed many servants such that his quarter was like a funeral home. Sado became uncontrollable. Since he was a prince and this meant he was from a royal family, he would not be executed.
Lady Hyegyong blamed partly the loyal family to have caused the death of her husband. She noted that Yongjo, the king, blamed constantly his son for bad weather. He even cleaned his own ears after speaking to Sado in order to wash away the day's bad luck. He said that Sado was a dull child. Sado, being despised by his father, contributed to the frustrations that led to his madness.
Lady Hyegyong heard the king wanted to kill his inconvenient heir as slow and strange as possible. Since Sado was one of the sons that the king despised, lady Hyegyong believed that the king had something to do with her husband’s death. Her husband died one night during thunder storm which he had phobia for. This could also have caused his death. The shock from the loud sounds of thunder storm could have caused his death since he was not in his right state of mind.
Lady Hyegyong explained that she could have followed her dead husband but she did not for the sake of their son. She explained her determination to make sure that her son became king. Her son later became the king in Korea.