During filial piety and other Confucian beliefs.

March 13, 2019 Philosophy

During the Tang dynasty, Dee Jen-dijeh, commonly known as Judge Dee, is the district magistrate of Chang-Ping. The novel, Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee, revolves around three complicated murders that Judge Dee and his advisors investigate. Judge Dee is a revered man who is well known for maintaining justice and resolving difficult cases. Each case he acquires demands a certain set of expertise that Judge Dee possesses. Judge Dee is able to solve each case because he is a good Confucian scholar, he applies the concept of the five relationships, he implements Legalist ideas, and he is a good Daoist.
One of the first things that makes Judge Dee an effective magistrate is that he demonstrates his comprehension of Confucianism through filial piety and other Confucian beliefs. Confucianism originates from the teachings of the famed Chinese philosopher Confucius. One of the main ideas Confucians value is education. To gain his position as district magistrate of Chang-Ping, Judge Dee had to take the civil service tests, that are based on the Confucian Classics. As a magistrate, Judge Dee is responsible for maintaining the Emperor’s rulings and is considered the ‘”Mother and Father” of the people’ () . This shows that Judge Dee is a good magistrate because he is well educated.
Not only is Judge Dee well educated, he is also a “gentleman”. Throughout the book, Judge Dee utilizes the Confucian philosophy of a Junzi: a “gentleman” or “superior individual”. The three important characteristics of a Junzi, are, Ren, or benevolence; Li, or a sense of propriety; and xiao, filial piety (China-Unit One). With these three features, Judge Dee is courteous, respectful, and diligent. He demonstrates this when he disguises himself as a doctor and aids an elderly woman.
Confucians highly value the third attribute of a Junzi, known as filial piety. Judge Dee implements this concept in the second case, “The Strange Corpse”, where Judge Dee discovers that the widow of the man killed is the murderer. When he first suspects that she murdered her husband, Judge Dee releases her on bail so she could look after her aging mother-in-law. Throughout the course of the case, it seemed as though he was showing leniency towards Mrs. Djou. One instance of this is when he is alters her punishment, ” . Instead, he is practicing the Confucian philosophy of filial piety. This concept describes the right way to behave towards one’s parents; the main ideas are, being respectful, considerate, helpful, dutiful, obedient, loyal, and loving one’s parents (Britannica). In many instances, the Confucian thought of filial piety helps Judge Dee solve his cases.
In the book, Judge Dee constantly upholds the belief of the five relationships, and that each person in a society has a job to do.


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