Judge Dee Essay, Research Paper
The character of Judge Dee is largely molded by the ideas of his time. During
his reign, the philosophies of Legalism, Confucianism, and Taoism, were heavily relied upon for the basis of ethics within the common people and magistrates alike. Judge Dee?s persona is derived directly from the strictest teachings of these philosophies. As the revered district magistrate of Chang-ping province, his conduct was expected to serve as a model for the citizens. This expectation demanded he act accordingly, abiding by the rules of the three philosophies.
Within the three cases presented to Judge Dee, there were many examples of his firm belief in legalistic values. Upon hearing anything that seems slightly out of the spans of truthfulness, he inflicts swift and harsh punishments. For instance, in the first case, The Double Murder at Dawn, he questions Wardens Pang?s involvement in the crime. When he does not instan?tly solicit the expected response to his questioning, Warden pang is quickly ?beaten with the heavy bamboo? (p15). Legalism embodies the belief that people must be controlled with a strict hand. Another example of Judge Dee?s strong resolve to uphold the ideas of legalism takes place in the case of The Strange Corpse. The accused, Mrs.Djou, had a talent for convicting speech. She drew sympathy from all who looked on, with the exception of Judge Dee. He refused to be lured into her web of deceit, and kept the torture constant despite her wails of wrongdoing. Though her confession was not elicited through the techniques of torture, Judge Dee proved himself to be a worthy magistrate by upholding the pain while all others doubted his conduct.
The pillars of Confucian belief lie in the relationships between people. Judge Dee?s actions reflect his wholehearted endorsement of Confucian ideas. He certainly has the? ?mandate of heaven?. He gives all people in need of help their due attention, not dismissing any accusation as trivial or above him. His devotion to the solution of any crime is commendable in the fact that he refuses to be discouraged. When the Judge felt that justice might be in jeopardy (in the case of the strange corpse) he immediately pounced on this opportunity to correct a wrongdoing. When the Judge, under disguise, was speaking to the undertaker at the cemetery where Bee Hsun was buried, his actions exemplified Confucian values. When the undertaker addressed him impolitely, the Judge took advantage of this saying, ?Don?t think your old age gives you the liberty to pick a quarrel with anybody you choose!? (p48). His quick reminder of common courtesy to the old man was vital in retrieving information about the deceased. After examining the corpse of Bee Hsun, and coming to no evidence suggestion unnatural dea?th, the Judge proceeded to fill out official recommendations for his own punishment. In the Chinese culture, disturbing a grave was punishable by death. His actions demonstrate his respect for the relationship between the ruler and his ministers, and the golden rule.
The final philosophy that contributed to the Judges character is Taoism. This philosophy embodies faith in all things spiritual and simple. The Judges tenacity in Taoism is obvious because of the way he accepts supernatural occurrences as truth. Where others were skeptical, the Judge was resolute. While staying in the city temple the Judge meditates, this act is a Taoist idea through and through. What you are trying to achieve is a level of spiritual peace by becoming one with your surroundings. The Judge relies heavily on spiritual inspiration when mental rigor fails. When he finally succumbs to sleep, he is plagued by dreams about the strange corpse cas?e. Rather than dismissing the dreams as an illusion (delusion) he seriously considers the content, believing that they are the keys to the crime. When allowing himself to be led by the ?spirits? he makes crucial discoveries pertaining to the case. Without his blind belief in dreams, some of the most important clues concerning his cases would never have been uncovered.
The three philosophies; Legalism, Confucianism and Taoism were necessary in the foundation of the Judges character. Without the ideals of these philosophies he would have been completely infective in his job as district magistrate. When this story was constructed, the character of Judge Dee was the impossible byproduct of three philosophies. The Judge is taylored for the story, perfectly suited in every concievable way to the duties of his job. Judge Dee represents an ideal that is wholly unachievable in reality, but flawless in the realm of literature.