Essay on The Philosophies of Judge Dee

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The translated novel Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee tells of a district magistrate of Chang-Ping in the T’ang Dynasty named Judge Dee Goong An, famous for his ability to solve mysterious cases. This is simple enough, except it is immediately evident to the reader that Judge Dee is not just a normal magistrate content with solving a case – it is easy to see that he always digs deeper. His success is unparalleled in the land, his actions laid out without a single corrupt thought or a lax view. What makes Judge Dee so effective? How is he able to look past the most obvious answers to find the one that is correct? It is obvious that he can only do this with the help of various different philosophies. These philosophies provided him …show more content…
It is also important because of its influence on what is right and wrong (crimes) – adultery and an unprovoked murdering of a woman’s husband is the most despicable crime because of the relationship between husband and wife in Confucian ideals, which is that the wife should respect and care for the husband. The second philosophy that plays a role in this book is Taoism. This is possibly the most literal of the three philosophies that affects Judge Dee’s actions. Taoism, at it’s very basic, represents and values one’s connection with nature. It promotes a natural way or path in life and consequently emphasizes one’s intuition. It also says that the universe is all about balance – for one object, there is a corresponding counterpart. Taoism plays a vital role in the physical solutions of the cases and the outcome of the book because of the way it is shown. Judge Dee, frustrated by his inability to think clearly, first consults with bamboo slips used for divination. Giving up logical thought, he thinks to himself, saying “Since I have come here to receive instruction from the powers on high, I might as well consult fate through these divination slips. Who knows whether the spirits have not chosen these particular means for manifesting themselves?” (pg. 81). With this, Judge Dee places trust in a “natural”, passive form of progression towards the solutions of his various cases which follows the basic ideals of Taoism. He

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