Was Judge Dee A Good Magistrate?
Living in the time of the Tang dynasty (618-906 AD), Dee Jen-djieh came from a long line of prefects and high-ranking government officials. He studied calligraphy, painting, poetry and Confucianism. He took the civil service exams and was placed as the district magistrate of Chang-Ping where he became a judge. Throughout the book, Judge Dee takes on many complex cases and with his education in Confucian beliefs is able to catch each criminal and provide justice for the people of Chang-Ping. Judge Dee was a good Confucian government official because he practiced filial piety, he possessed the three most important characteristics of a Junzi and he implemented the idea of the Five Relationships.
Through his rulings, Judge Dee demonstrates the importance of respecting and honoring one’s elders. He releases Mrs. Djou, who allegedly murdered her husband, on bail so that she can attend to her elderly mother-in-law and her daughter. On page 112 it states that Judge Dee said, "I think it is not right that your old mother suffers for you, and has to run her house all alone. I therefore shall release you on bail, so that you can serve your mother, as is proper." By doing this, he is demonstrating the principle of filial piety. During the executions, Judge Dee's punishment for Mrs. Djou is modified because of his Confucian belief in filial piety On page 214 Judge Dee says, "Her possessions shall not be forfeited in consideration of the fact that she leaves behind an old mother." In contrast, the two other criminals that were also being put to death on that same day had to forfeit their possessions in addition to their lives. However, because of the Judge's belief in respecting and taking care of the elders, he altered the punishment so the grandmother would not share in the punishment. Throughout the book, Judge Dee demonstrates the three most important characteristics of a Junzi, a "gentlemen" or "superior person:" Ren,...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document