Confucian And Legalist Values In The Book 'Celebrated Cases Of Judge Dee'

Decent Essays

In the book Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Dee Goong An), the main character is Judge Dee, a magistrate in China’s Tang dynasty. The roles of a magistrate include, but are not limited to, being a judge, detective and police officer. The book follows three of Judge Dee’s cases, the Case of the Double Murder at Dawn, the Case of the Strange Corpse and the Case of the Poisoned Bride. In order to be a distinguished and powerful magistrate, one must lead with Confucian and Legalist values. Judge Dee is an effective magistrate because he blends both Confucian and Legalist values seamlessly, and is well aware of the Tang dynasty’s social hierarchy.
Firstly, Judge Dee represents Confucian values. One value that he flawlessly portrays is filial piety, or respect for one’s family members, especially elders. He shows leniency to Mrs. Djou because she has to care for her mother in law, admitting:
“a criminal who still has an old parent to support, may be treated with special leniency… When you have confessed, I must, or course, propose the capitol punishment for you. But I shall add a recommendation for clemency, in view of the fact that you still have an old parent to support” (199).
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a clemency is a “disposition to be merciful and especially to moderate the severity of punishment due.” In this example, Judge Dee puts a pause to his Legalist values and shows mercy to a woman who still has to do her duty as a child to their parent, in a

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