As I'm sure a lot of you know, I like Guan Yu, and I would question the conventional wisdom on these forums about Guan Yu being very imapatient, though I do know that he insulted Sun Quan when he dismissed his proposal for his daughter being married off to Wu.
So, I'm posting this thread in the defence of Guan Yu and his life- I'm reading through his bio, and it does seem to me that Guan Yu had lots of responsibilities, all of which he carried out very well.
So, I'm going to site some examples of Guan Yu's faithfulness, good nature and general calmness from (one of his) SGZ bios.
Guan Yu’s devotion to Liu Bei could be seen through many actions like when many were sitting, he would be standing close to Liu Bei to assist him, etc and he would faithfully follow Liu Bei through all the dangers and not escaping the difficulties
This shows how Guan Yu must have been a good companion and close ally. Guan Yu must have advised and help talk when Liu Bei was in a conference like this.
he commanded Guan Yu to take care of the governing matters of Xiapi City
Though it doesn't mention how good his governership in Xiapi was, it's interesting because Liu Bei resided in Xiao Pei at the time, leaving Guan Yu with a larger responsibility than himself.
Cao Cao captured Guan Yu and kept him in his ranks and appointed him as Pian Jiangjun (Lieutenant General) and treated him with the great honor.
Why would a high an important man like Cao Cao treat Guan Yu with such respect and give him such authority if he was really and truly that quick to anger and be impatient. It is commonly said that being a good general requires that you are patient.
Cao Cao promptly awarded Guan Yu with the rank of Hanshou Tinghou (Marquis of Hanshou).
Same thing again- he obviously greatly admired Guan Yu's abilities.
(Guan Yu)said, “I am in full knowledge of the honor and privilege Cao Cao had shown me, however, General Liu [Liu Bei] had treated me well also, hence I swear to die with him and I will never betray him. I will not be staying here forever, but I will contribute a [sizeable] exploit first to repay Cao Cao’s favor first before I take my leave”. Zhang Liao related his words to Cao Cao, and the latter was impressed by his honorable attitude (3). Seeing Guan Yu had killed Yan Liang, Cao Cao knew that he would surely take his leave soon, hence further showered him with rewards. Guan Yu did not accept any of the gifts and sealed all of them [a sign of rejection]; he also proceed with writing a letter to tender his resignation before leaving for Yuan Shao’s land where Liu Bei was situated. Some of Cao Cao’s subordinates wanted to chase after him but Cao Cao replied, “each for his own master; hence do not give chase”
This is a very good example of how Guan Yu is patient and willing to fulfil his duties to his lord, also that he is a great diplomat- anyone who can escape the grip of Cao's mastership is pretty smart at diplomacy. IMO, if Guan Yu was so impatient and flighty, he would have fled to Liu Bei as soon as he'd learned of his location.
appointed Guan Yu as the governor of Xiangyang and also the rank of Dangkou Jiangjun (General Who Terrifies Criminals) and stationed him to guard at the north of the river.
Guan Yu shows great patience when he's given the orders by Liu Bei to take ships to Xiakou instead of helping Liu Bei in a battle. This I think also shows how Guan Yu was greatly respected and needed by Liu Bei to do duties which he didn't necessarily suit his talents.
Guan Yu led his army to attack Cao Ren at Fan. Cao Cao sent Yu Jin to assist Cao Ren. It was autumn then and there was heavy downpour leading to the overflowing of River Han. As a result, the seven armies commanded by Yu Jin all drowned. Yu Jin surrendered to Guan Yu, and Guan Yu executed General Pang De. The bandits of Liang, Jia and Lu were called to action by Guan Yu and assisted in the battle, thus Guan Yu’s named spread throughout China.
Surely a man doing these deeds cannot be seen as impatient? Not only did he look after Jing, but he won battles for Liu Bei against their sworn enemy.
On the point where Guan Yu insults Sun Quan's emisary I would like to point out that Sun Quan already knew that he was going to attack Guan Yu to stop his exploits against Cao Cao, therefore I think that Sun Quan's idea was to make Guan Yu really believe that they were allies and he could keep attacking Wei without a worry from Wu.
I dont think that if Guan Yu had agreed, Sun Quan would have called off his plan to attack him.
Guan Yu was also incredibly unfortuante to not only have 2 incompetant generals working for him in the form of Mi Fang and Fu Shiren, but also that they were willing to betray Liu Bei's (their lord's) close friend. Even in a SGY bio it mentions that Liu Bei and Guan Yu were like brothers.
I personally dont think that Guan Yu was impatient. I think he made one slip, and it did result in his death, but I do think that it was only one mistake in what was actually a distinguished life, so why should I suddenly think that Guan Yu was "generally" impatient when he only made this one slip and paid dearly for it?