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CelebratedCases of Judge Dee
JudgeDee, who was a fictional character in a novel by the name, celebratedcases of Judge Dee,was an honest and fair judge who adjudicated upon various criminalcases. To many, the judge has been referred to as one of the mostupright judge. It is vital to point out that the fictional characterof judge Dee was based on the historical figure Di Renjie. Celebratedcases of Judge Dee isa detective novel, which is based on the period of Tang dynasty inchina, and it was written by an anonymous author by the name ButiZhuanren (Gulik 24). The judge solves three main cases in the novel,all of them being of a criminal nature. The three cases are Thedouble murder at dawn,Thestrange corpseand Thepoised Bride.Judge Dee was extremely successful in his cases and he alwaysdelivered justice. He was able to solve moral, political or socialissues in any case and arrive at a just judgment. It is vital topoint out that Judge Dee applied the law, the Confucianism philosophyand the Taoism philosophy to solve his cases (Ti, Kung and Gulik154). It is clear that Dee was a statesman and it was a requirementfor one to learn Confucianism in order to become a statesman. JudgeDee was a district court magistrate, who also doubled up as aninvestigator and a detective.
Thethree mysterious cases presented in the fictional novel present moralor ethical issues, which were resolved by Judge Dee. In the firstcase, themurder at dawn,the judge is presented with facts on a quarrel between travellingsilk merchants, which left various people dead. This mystery had botha moral and an economic dimension. In the second mystery, the Judgeis faced with a case of corpse of a man who died a year ago. The onlyclue he had was the behavior of the widow. The case start with amystery since there is no crime in the first instance. The case takesan ethical dimension or a moral dimension when the judge opts toexhume the body of the dead man and unfairly questioned the window.It is critical to note that these were serious offences under theChinese law. The third case involves the death of a bride who hadjust been newly married (Gulik 74). A case of poisoning is suspectedfrom a boorish scholar within the high society. All these cases thatwere before judge Dee presented moral issues or ethical issues sincethey all involved murder. The big question would be why the peoplewere killed and what circumstances.
JudgeDee used various tactics in his investigations and detective workthat raise various moral and ethical questions. For instance, eventhough it was not allowed by the Chinese law, the Judge oftentortured his suspects until they confessed to have committed thecrimes. For instance, the woman who murdered her husband in order tomarry another handsome man was tortured to almost death. When shebreaks down as a result of extreme torture, they judge orders she bewoken up and tortured more until she confesses (Gulik 102). Thisaspect raises numerous moral and ethical questions as the behavior ofthe judge in his quest for justice. In other words, the judge actedin total disregard of the rights of the accused persons.
Hiscases continue to raise moral and ethical issues when he uses hisassistants to break into suspects’ homes as thieve to gatherevidence. From a layman’s vantage point, this is completelyunethical and immoral. It is evident that it cannot be permissible bylaw whatsoever. Although this was being done in the quest forjustice, it is clear that the approach was raising numerous moral andethical issues (Zhu 66). It is argued in the novel that the judgedoes not require a search permit to gather evidence. He uses hisassistants to break into homes and gather evidence. This iscompletely outside the ethical standards of the judges. It is alsoasserted in the fictional novel that the accused or the suspectsunder Judge Dee had no right to remain silent (Gulik 99). During thetorture, the accused must confess and must not remain silent. Inother words, under the eyes of Judge Dee, there were no innocentsuspects. They must be tortured until they confess.
Anothersurprising aspect in the novel is the ay women are portrayed.Throughout the novel, women are portrayed as evil. For instance, allthe crimes involve women as the criminals or are done by men onbehalf of women. This is evident in the silk merchant murder whereone merchant killed the other in order to get enough money to afforda woman. This raises serious moral issues in the society and theplace of women in society. It is also evident that the judge portrayscontradictory attitudes towards the accused and the victims of thecrimes. Whereas he is so passionate and concerned over the fate ofthe victims of the crimes, he is utterly unperturbed by thedehumanizing torture that is subjected to the suspects (Gulik 115).This raises serious moral issues with the judge and the Chinesejudicial system.
Sinceall the three cases presented are of murder nature, it is a seriousconcern over the moral standards of the people of China. It can beseen that the value of human life was underrated and death was acommon occurrence. It is evident that the murders are committed fortrivial reasons such as desire for women or men. This raisesextremely serious moral issue over the value of human life in theChinese society. The poisoning of the bride was another mystery thatjeopardizes on the quality of human life in the Chinese societyduring the Tang dynasty (Zhu 92). It is also apparent from the novelthat the murders were not in any way affected either physically oremotionally by the murders they had committed. This also raises themoral issue of what murder really meant amongst the Chinese peopleand society at large.
Itis also clear that Judge Dee had killed several people throughtorture and that seemed not to bother him at all. As a jury, it washis duty to protect the life rights of the people, but in this casehe was the one murdering in the name of searching for justice. Thisis completely unethical and immoral for the judge. However, it isclear that the cases are resolved and the criminals are brought tojustice. Whereas the murderers might not have shown any remorse fortheir actions, the judge was able to consolidate his evidence andmake them pay for their sins. Judge Dee, who was an orthodoxConfucianist scholar-official, sought to deliver justice to thevictims of the crimes.
Gulik,Robert H. CelebratedCases of Judge Dee = Dee Goong an: An Authentic Eighteenth- CenturyChinese Detective Novel.New York: Dover Publications, 1976. Print.
Zhu,Xiao D. Talesof Judge Dee.New York: iUniverse, 2006. Print.
Ti,Kung-an, and R.H . Gulik. ThreeMurder Cases Solved by Judge Dee: An Old Chinese Detective Novel.Tokyo: Toppan, 1949. Print.