Guan Yu's death a planned excuse for Liu Bei to attack Wu?

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Re: Guan Yu's death a planned excuse for Liu Bei to attack Wu?

Unread postby Lady Wu » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:00 pm

LiuBeiwasGreat wrote:One time only event, Liubeiwasgreat saying that Liu Bei and Guan Yu were arrogant! Save this post to remember this grand event! :lol:

Quoting for posterity! :lol:

Guan Yu is too worthwhile a general to sacrafice even if Shu wasn't so dastardly short-staffed. As much as I love conspiracy theories this seems too far-fetched to me. There are plenty of ways to stage an excuse for attacking Wu without getting Guan Yu killed.

In the novel, it does seem a bit difficult to reconcile the epic failure of the invasion of Wu with the superhuman quality of Zhuge Liang. But Zhuge Liang isn't infallible--there's the Huarong incident (I don't buy Zhuge's excuse) and there's the Ma Su disaster. Perhaps the point is that as much as a human being can be intelligent and farseeing, there are still some elements that can't be controlled--fate, or human stupidity.
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Re: Guan Yu's death a planned excuse for Liu Bei to attack Wu?

Unread postby Lonely_dragon » Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:00 am

Lady Wu wrote:In the novel, it does seem a bit difficult to reconcile the epic failure of the invasion of Wu with the superhuman quality of Zhuge Liang. But Zhuge Liang isn't infallible--there's the Huarong incident (I don't buy Zhuge's excuse) and there's the Ma Su disaster. Perhaps the point is that as much as a human being can be intelligent and farseeing, there are still some elements that can't be controlled--fate, or human stupidity.


Yes that made me wonder too... Why in the novel Zhuge had to let Cao Cao go just because he is not destined to die yet... But I think it is simply that for the three kingdom strategies that he had planned to come to fruition he needed Cao Cao's presence as the head of Wei. Should Cao Cao is killed at Huarong then Wei will be torn by internal strife between Cao Cao's heir. And Zhuge will not be able to maintain the balance of power among Wu and Shu for long. should wu made their approach northwards then Wu should gain the upper hand in the middle land remembering their resource is larger than Shu at the time... Shu only had around 20.000 troops with no foothold. But that is only my surmise though... And I'm way off the topic... :lol:
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Re: Guan Yu's death a planned excuse for Liu Bei to attack Wu?

Unread postby jiang cheng » Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:09 am

I seriously do not think so. At that point the priority is to get more land from Wei and that fighting Wu would bring Harm to both kingdoms.

To loses land, people and a top general for an excuse to attack the Wu is not something that a smart man like Liu Bei will do.
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Re: Guan Yu's death a planned excuse for Liu Bei to attack Wu?

Unread postby ChaosIncarnate » Wed May 06, 2009 1:03 pm

I highly doubt Liu Bei would have used Guan Yu as a sacrifice to pick a fight with Wu. However, Guan Yu's death at the hands of Wu probably would have been among his reasons for picking a fight with Wu.

I agree that the whole idea of fighting Wu at the time was indeed questionable... but many a great leader has made really questionable decisions in the course of their careers. I remember a bit in the novel where Zhuge Liang is appalled by the poor deployment of the Shu army's camps, he shouts for the execution of whoever was responsible, only to find it was Liu Bei who ordered the camps deployed as such. I can't help but think there might be some truth to this particular event in the novel. Keep in mind that Liu Bei was already in his 60's or so by the time of Yi Ling, an old man by the standards of the time, and his health probably wasn't too good, as he would die soon after the battle. Perhaps Liu Bei's judgment at the time was impaired by failing health, as was the case with Napoleon at Waterloo or Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg...
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Re: Guan Yu's death a planned excuse for Liu Bei to attack Wu?

Unread postby GuoBia » Wed May 06, 2009 11:29 pm

Wow, this is a really interesting thread! The conspiracy!

Still, as someone's already pointed out, I did not get the feeling of a whole well-organized invasion of Wu. Perhaps Liu Bei really was going senile. Either way, it was a really bad decision for Shu.

Besides, if he needed to pick a fight I would think that Liu Bei would have sent a lower general, or even just a diplomat-person, instead of Guan Yu- it doesn't really make sense to send a top general when there are lots of pickings below.

Unless if he needed Guan Yu out of the picture for something!?!?!

Did Zhuge Liang historically oppose the invasion!? Or was it just in the novel to keep his coolness?

Plus, it wasn't World War I. They did not exactly need a reason to go to war.
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Re: Guan Yu's death a planned excuse for Liu Bei to attack Wu?

Unread postby Jordan » Thu May 07, 2009 7:50 am

Did Zhuge Liang historically oppose the invasion!? Or was it just in the novel to keep his coolness?


I believe he did, yes. I'll look into it a bit later in a sec.

Edit-Actually, I'm not so sure now. It seems that Zhao Yun did remonstrate with Liu Bei, but I haven't found anything about Zhuge Liang on the matter. He did stay back and handle administration while Liu Bei was away, though.
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Re: Guan Yu's death a planned excuse for Liu Bei to attack Wu?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu May 07, 2009 5:38 pm

I can't help but think there might be some truth to this particular event in the novel. Keep in mind that Liu Bei was already in his 60's or so by the time of Yi Ling, an old man by the standards of the time, and his health probably wasn't too good, as he would die soon after the battle. Perhaps Liu Bei's judgment at the time was impaired by failing health, as was the case with Napoleon at Waterloo or Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg...


While it is possible Bei met with a decline due to age, Cao Cao and Quan did after all, I personally don't think that is attributable to Bei for Yi Ling. Liu Bei's advance was cautoius, which is how he always was as a commander, cautoius, willing to take his time. His creation of way points and similar things was clever, it would save his life, his attempt to lure Wu into an ambush was clever and his refusal to use Huang Quan's advice can easily be put down to his natural caution. Lu Xun's comments about Liu Bei indicate nothing about his formation but that simply his men were suffering the usual laxness brought about by too long sitting there without action. Even so, Lu Xun and Zhu Ran's attack was merely a defeat for Shu that forced them back, the catastrophe was due to a fluke rockslide that shattered the regrouping army

Bei lost because he was cautoius and bad luck rather then a decline personally. Nice theory though
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Re: Guan Yu's death a planned excuse for Liu Bei to attack Wu?

Unread postby Jordan » Fri May 08, 2009 2:10 am

Even so, Lu Xun and Zhu Ran's attack was merely a defeat for Shu that forced them back, the catastrophe was due to a fluke rockslide that shattered the regrouping army


I ALWAYS forget about this. It's such a forgettable event, and yet so important. I thought it was an earthquake though? Now that you bring it up, I definitely remember this event being discussed on the forum numerous times.

Do you remember where it is mentioned? Like which Sanguozhi biography or even where/when de Crespigny might mention it? I found something in the translated Lu Xun's Sanguozhi on this site, but the description is so cryptic:

"As earth crumbles and tiles smash, Liu Bei’s defences were broken and his men died by tens of thousands. Liu Bei fled through the night, having the guards at the checkpoints [...]"

Regarding the checkpoints, I also wonder if this was the same defensive strategy that Liu Bei employed in Hanzhong. I know that Liu Bei had a defensive strategy with checkpoints in Hanzhong, but that was later changed by Jiang Wei. Perhaps it was some kind of consistent policy he followed.

While Lu Xun scored an indisputable victory against Liu Bei, I definitely wonder how much of the decisive result was owed to uncontrolled circumstance. I think of Lu Xun as a definite tactical genius, but it is still odd that Liu Bei's army fell apart like dominoes. From what I remember, he had campaigned against Wu for at least several months. He had built up his presence in the area, allying with local tribes, setting up defensive checkpoints, etc. Is the popular concensus on this forum that Liu Bei's loss was attributed to catastrophe, or that it was simply the result of poor camp arrangement?
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Re: Guan Yu's death a planned excuse for Liu Bei to attack Wu?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri May 08, 2009 6:19 am

I think the war was lost but Bei could have saved face and got a good treaty rather then been humiliated. Think Prfoessor Rafe discusses the rockslide/landside thing in the relevant GOS chapter
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Re: Guan Yu's death a planned excuse for Liu Bei to attack Wu?

Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Mon May 11, 2009 2:06 pm

Yeah it was one of those events that under normal circumstances would have simply been the normal ebb and flow of battle. Liu Bei advances winning some small battles, Lu Xun moves forward winning a few small battles and back and forth for a while until someone made a mistake. In this case the landslide shattered Liu Bei's forces, in a way nature handed Lu Xun the perfect victory. Liu Bei taking massive losses while Lu Xun's forces remain perfectly intact. This allowed Wu to have their forces ready to take on Wei, which is exactly what they needed.
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