Judge Dee: The Ideal Yet Controversial Judge Figure

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His Excellency, Judge Dee Goong An by modern standards is an unethical and immoral judicial figure. Judge Dee works as the district magistrate, detective, prosecutor, judge, and jury, a formidable task for any one man. His powers are vast, and some of the things he can do would be undoubtedly illegal in any Western judicial system. In my opinion, Judge Dee is a strong legalist he does not follow the philosophy of the Five Relationships, as he treats everyone–man or woman–equally, and does not give favor to those who have more money. He also dolls out strict punishments and uses the full extent of the law. As Chinese Philosophy stated several times that in order to be a good magistrate one must have at least one of the qualities, and in order to be a truly great magistrate one must possess all three of the qualities.

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Throughout the entirety of the book, we see Judge Dee grossly intimidating witnesses or suspects, and including confessions which were extracted by a method of torture, to list a few. In Dee’s defense, however, making a false judgment could be far more damaging to Dee's reputation as a Tang Dynasty magistrate than to a modern Western one. Such as exhuming a dead body without proving that the dead person was murdered would be an act of Sacrilege to the highest degree, which would then cost the Judge his job and perhaps his life, which in fact very nearly happens in the book.

In the first story we see Judge Dee be presented the case of The Double Murder at Dawn, which takes place in Six Mile Village. It sees Judge Dee solving a double murder. The village warden arrests the local innkeeper for murdering two traveling silk merchants. The warden makes the innkeeper testify before Judge Dee and plead his case. The innkeeper claims that he’s innocent. And just because of the fact that the silk traders stayed with him before they died does not mean that he murdered them. In this case, we see Judge Dee confronted with the two parties one being a Warden for the village and the other being a well-off Innkeeper. Judge Dee and his revenue review the crime scene and the bodies. He takes the cadavers back to the courthouse and conducts an autopsy in during the hearing. While most judges most likely would have taken the Warden accusation as facts, as the Warden is part of the government; his is a superior being according to the Five Relationships, however Judge Dee did not and upon further inspection found that the Warden had in fact been lying and was attempting to gyp the Innkeeper out of some money. This shows that Judge Dee is not only extremely impartial to both rich and people in high authority but also does not adhere to the Five relationships.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines impartiality as 'A principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice, or preferring the benefit to one person over another for improper reasons.” Throughout the book we can see Judge Dee be the epitome of impartiality. Judge Dee treats both the Warden and the Innkeeper as equals and does not take one persons word over the other even though the Warden is part of his provincial government. We can see this dispassion come into effect when Warden Pang is caught in his attempted extortion of the Innkeeper and is given the standard punishment, which any other person would have gotten; not showing any clemency.

In the second story Judge Dee finds his next case while he’s out in disguise. He is said to have some medical training, as a gentleman and scholar. “The Strange Corpse” begins with Judge Dee setting up a stall in a town, dressed as a doctor. A local woman, Mrs. Bee, asks for his expertise to help her with her illness, seeing his skill she informs the disguised Judge of her ‘distraught’ daughter. Judge Dee finds Mrs. Bee’s case intriguing, and so he follows her. At her residence he learns that the woman's son, Bee Hsun, had died about a year ago. Expecting to meet a grieving widow, Mrs. Djou seems in shock and she isn’t getting better. Judge Dee questions Mrs. Djou, and he realizes that she’s hiding something. She isn’t shocked—she’s disinterested. Judge Dee’s determined to find answers.

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Judge Dee: The Ideal Yet Controversial Judge Figure. (2020, October 20). WritingBros. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/judge-dee-the-ideal-yet-controversial-judge-figure/
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