Confucianism and Judge Dee

Topics: Marriage, Interpersonal relationship, Han Dynasty Pages: 5 (1446 words) Published: November 7, 2010
Confucianism and Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee

Celebrated cases of Judge Dee, a detective novel which describes crime cases which happened in China during the Tang Dynasty, in the 7th Century. In the book Judge Dee is a well known magistrate of Chang Ping, whom and is famous for solving crime and maintaining justice, particularly amongst common the Chinese People. In the book, Judge Dee is faced with three murders. As Judge Dee begins solving the crimes, the story unfolds slowly and presents historical, social, legal, philosophical and even religious pictures of ancient China. Tang Dynasty China was a period in which society was strongly influenced by Confucianism, due strongly to the previous influence of the Han Dynasty. These Confucian standards within Tang society strongly guide interpersonal relationships throughout the story in the form of right relationships; in particular, the relationships between father and son, ruler and subject, husband and wife, elder brother and younger brother, and the relationship between friends. These standards of interpersonal relationship strongly emphasized in Confucian belief played major roles throughout the three trials which Judge Dee faced.

In order to examine the stories, the Confucius principal should first be discussed in great depth. Confucius sees social order as a series of status groups and graded roles, from the ruler at the top through officials, scholars, gentleman, all the way to the father of the family; all with authority over, as well as a responsibility to set a good example to those below them. The key element of these interpersonal relationships is right relationships (also known as five relationships). These relationships refer to the ties between father and son, ruler and subject, husband and wife, elder brother and younger brother, and those between friends. [1]

The relationship between father and son, according to Confucius, is that children always respect their parents and parents always are a moral model for their children. Between ruler and subject, the rulers are responsible for taking care of his people, trust his subject and be a good model, while the subjects should remain loyal and faithful to their rulers. The husband should treat his wife respectfully, while the wife should support the husband. The elder brother should be a good role model and take good care of and younger one, while the younger one should respect the older brother (brothers being fraternal to each other). Finally, friends should be honest and trustworthy toward one another.

From the five relationship principle, every person has many roles to play in this life , or in this society, and must obey these five relationships so that the world and the universe can improve toward perfection. These relationships are also interchangeable and relative. For example, a father in family can also be a subject to the rulers, a friend to other people and meanwhile a son to his mother. It s therefore believed that every person has a duty to follow through with their role within society, a concept which is clearly upheld by Judge Dee throughout the book.

In Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee, there are many cases follow the Confucius guide previously mentioned. For example, one of Confucius’ Analects says, “In order to increase the peace and harmony in society, appoint the honest and empathetic to office."哀公問曰:「何為則民服?」孔子對曰: 「舉直錯諸枉,則民服;舉枉錯諸直,則民不服。 」[2]. Similarly, the Judge Dee story follows this Confucian principle, as evidenced by the original introduction: "If, therefore, a judge is honest, then the people in his districts will be at peace."[3]. If a judge, as a ruler to the people in the lower level, can be honest to the people, then the people will obey and the society can remain in order, as portrayed within the right relationship principle between ruler and subject.

Readers can also see this principle applies in the cases which face Judge Dee. The...
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