Liu Bei's wife (ves).

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Unread postby Shi Tong » Sat Sep 08, 2007 10:32 am

I think we have a tread about Guan Yu's loyalty already, but lets just go with the flow since we have replies to it! :wink:

despite Guan Yu's service to Cao Cao, I still think he was loyal since he made his way back to Liu Bei.

It would have been easy for him to say "what's the point in going back to Bei" if he was truly loyal to Cao Cao, or if he'd defected at heart, but he obviously hadn't done.

So I think Guan Yu was very loyal to Liu Bei, and I agree with Sun Gongli, it was being practical.
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Unread postby Shadowlink » Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:06 pm

I still think Guan Yu became a bad kid in the end. This sounds stupid but the program said that Guan Yu attack Wei without Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang causing Wu who alway have the thought of attacking Jingzhou to attack Jingzhou. It was all Guan Yu's fault, he gave them the opening.

Yes Guan Yu became a bad baby in the end. The situation was so sudden Liu Bei cant save him, either that or he wanted that bad baby dead.
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Unread postby Shield » Sat Sep 08, 2007 3:24 pm

Tan_Binrui wrote:If Guan Yu stationed himself in Xu Chang with Liu Bei's wives, and stood there guarding them for his Cao Cao tenure, I would agree. Since he left Liu Bei's wives in the care of Cao Cao's army, and went to fight on the front lines (where women weren't allowed), and assaulted Liu Bei's former ally under the banner of Cao Cao...

Yeah, it stacks against him.


I would have to disagree on that take. I think Guan Yu was the type that if he owed someone something then he would want to repay it. Assuming in this case that Cao Cao spared him and Liu Bei's wives then he(Yu) would want to do some services for Cao Cao to repay him, especially if he wanted to leave Cao Cao later on to return to Liu Bei. Faulting him for not just stays around and guards Liu Bei’s wives is a little strict on judging him. I know that if I was in Guan Yu position, I wouldn't just say no if Cao Cao asked for my assistant at the time. There is nothing wrong with being grateful and showing gratitude. It is a rather honorable quality. :wink:
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Unread postby Tan_Binrui » Sun Sep 09, 2007 4:44 am

Shield wrote:I would have to disagree on that take. I think Guan Yu was the type that if he owed someone something then he would want to repay it. Assuming in this case that Cao Cao spared him and Liu Bei's wives then he(Yu) would want to do some services for Cao Cao to repay him, especially if he wanted to leave Cao Cao later on to return to Liu Bei. Faulting him for not just stays around and guards Liu Bei’s wives is a little strict on judging him. I know that if I was in Guan Yu position, I wouldn't just say no if Cao Cao asked for my assistant at the time. There is nothing wrong with being grateful and showing gratitude. It is a rather honorable quality. :wink:


Careful with your words. Honor and loyalty, though involved in one another's existence, are not the same.

Ju Shou was held in prison rather than executed. He tried to escape twice, being killed on the second attempt. He did not feel like repaying Cao Cao simply because his life was spared, and he is seen as one of the most loyal of his time.

Zhang Ren had been a prisoner of Liu Bei's since his capture some months before the fall of Cheng Du. He, though, did not wish to repay Liu Bei's kindness by joining him. Instead, he stayed loyal.

Chen Gong had previously been loyal to Cao Cao, and was even offered position after his capture. Cao Cao also promised to take care of his family, but Chen Gong chose death over servitude.

Why? These three were loyal. Were they not honorable, simply because they wished to disregard the leniency shown to them? I don't believe so.

It is difficult to begin to look at actions without thinking about labels to categorize them. Honorable, loyal, both rather innocuous terms. Though you see Guan Yu as honorable for wishing to repay Cao Cao (for accepting his complete and utter surrender?), I see him as dishonorable for serving his lord's one enemy. Although you see him as loyal for returning to his lord, I see him as disloyal for serving his enemy before this.

This treatment of labeling, specifically for Guan Yu, is rather interesting, in my opinion. Had Chen Gong betrayed Cao Cao, served Lu Bu, and then accepted surrender to Cao Cao, would he be seen as loyal today? I don't believe so.

However, let's introduce a new figure who has a similar oddity of label: Xu Huang. Originally serving Yang Feng, he betrays him and serves Cao Cao. Though Xu Huang serves Cao Cao the rest of his days, can we truly see him as loyal? Xu Huang was not treated badly during his time with Yang Feng, Cao Cao simply offered more, and better. Because of this, I do not see Xu Huang as loyal, though not inherently disloyal, because he chose a better path that turned out rather well for him.

It is this same reason that I refuse to label Guan Yu as loyal, though not quite disloyal, since he had no qualms of serving his lord's enemy, but refused the gifts given to him upon his return to Liu Bei.

I will end this post with another example: Guan Yu was given express orders by Zhuge Liang, then the Prime Minister, to make peace with Wu and war with Wei. The Prime Minister, by position, is an extension of the Emperor's authority. Guan Yu disobeyed this command rather blatantly, making war with Wei, yes, but insulting and justifying war with Wu. Is this conduct of a loyal officer, who should listen and adhere to the will of his superiors, or of a disloyal officer, who blatantly disregards his lord's command for whatever reason he chooses?
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Unread postby Zhilong » Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:32 am

Tan_Binrui wrote:I will end this post with another example: Guan Yu was given express orders by Zhuge Liang, then the Prime Minister, to make peace with Wu and war with Wei.


Where did you get this from? Would like to look it up as i don't see it in either Guan Yu or ZL's bios. At that point ZL did not make the major decisions regarding war, until Liu Bei was dead.

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Plenty of officers served more than one lord. Often they served a local lord or were disappointed once in service and chose more carefully the second time. Upon finding a worthy lord, often they served them loyally and even died for them.

Guan Yu was a challenge for me as historically he served Cao Cao. Yet i cannot immediately say he was completely honourable and loyal nor completely dishonourable and disloyal.

He surrendered to Cao Cao and was bestowed with all sorts of favours but in the end returned to Liu Bei but repaid Cao Cao first. I would say to surrender was dishonourable and disloyal but in the event he did prove himself.

Sceptics could also say that he returned to Liu Bei at a time when Cao Cao was weak and Yuan Shao was strong. Even if his loyalty did waver, in the end he remained true to Liu Bei and died for him. Liu Bei is generally a good judge of character and let Guan Yu govern Jing in very autonomous terms, thus i think Guan Yu's loyalty at that point was not under question by Liu Bei.

This example also reminded of a fictional example in Jin Yong's novel Tian Long Ba Bu. One of the characters has a wife but also several lovers but he claims to love them all. I thought very little of him since he could not commit to one because i don't think you can truly romantically love more than one person at the same time. However, by the end of the novel all his women but his wife was killed by a villain as he refused to give in to the villain's blackmail and give him the throne.

Once the villain was driven off, he killed himself and said to his wife that when the first of his lovers died he had decided he would kill himself too. Throughout the novel his wife was vexed by his infidelity but in the end she regreted this forgave him as she believed him to be sincere. By the end i made an exception and accepted his words too even if i disagreed with his initial playboy ways as he somewhat redeemed himself. I guess not all things are black and white and constant. Sorry for rambling.
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Unread postby Tan_Binrui » Mon Sep 10, 2007 3:27 am

Zhilong wrote:Where did you get this from? Would like to look it up as i don't see it in either Guan Yu or ZL's bios. At that point ZL did not make the major decisions regarding war, until Liu Bei was dead.


I do forgive speaking without having my source at the ready. Unfortunately, I cannot find it at the moment, but, if I remember correctly, it was a commentary, or a note, making reference to an outside source.

Zhilong wrote:Plenty of officers served more than one lord. Often they served a local lord or were disappointed once in service and chose more carefully the second time. Upon finding a worthy lord, often they served them loyally and even died for them.


There are cases, such as Yu Jin, where officers serve under an Administrator, but they are given a different position once those lands are settled by outside lords. My example, however, involved officers who actively betrayed their lords. The success of said betrayal is often the bias that history puts on the characters loyalty. Meng Da betrayed Wei for Shu, then Shu for Wei, and again from Wei to Shu. Had Zhuge Liang's campaign been successful, and Meng Da given the chance to die of old age, rather then execution, perhaps history would see him as a more loyal individual. As it is, it remembers him as a fickle and dishonest man.

Had Xu Huang been killed by Yang Feng after his defection, would he be seen as a loyal man? This is the question I bring up with Guan Yu. Had he been killed in his battles against Yuan Shao, or had he died earlier than he had, would he be seen as loyal?

Zhilong wrote:Guan Yu was a challenge for me as historically he served Cao Cao. Yet i cannot immediately say he was completely honourable and loyal nor completely dishonourable and disloyal.


I have simply resigned myself to believing him to be average in loyalty. I see examples for both possibilities.

Zhilong wrote:He surrendered to Cao Cao and was bestowed with all sorts of favours but in the end returned to Liu Bei but repaid Cao Cao first. I would say to surrender was dishonourable and disloyal but in the event he did prove himself.


To you. My point is that his conduct is very much open to interpretation, as the extremes of his activities and servitude are far too complicated to gauge accurately.

Zhilong wrote:Sceptics could also say that he returned to Liu Bei at a time when Cao Cao was weak and Yuan Shao was strong.


I don't see how well this argument would stand.

Zhilong wrote:Liu Bei is generally a good judge of character and let Guan Yu govern Jing in very autonomous terms, thus i think Guan Yu's loyalty at that point was not under question by Liu Bei.


Certainly not, just as Xu You's loyalty would not have been questioned by Cao Cao. However, it is a product of the time and not a product of historical research. I am seeking hindsight, not their trust.

Zhilong wrote:This example also reminded of a fictional example in Jin Yong's novel Tian Long Ba Bu... ...I guess not all things are black and white and constant. Sorry for rambling.


No apologies necessary, for I am doing the same. However, I believe that your example is, while a relevant comparison, doesn't quite capture the same meaning. While it is true that, to you, his loyalty was questionable, I would not have agreed. Not because he wished to commit suicide in the end, but because it is not unknown to me to love many people at one time. It is simply a difference of definition.

If, however, he had continuously added concubines to his list, and taken others off, I would agree with you. Then it would be a situation of him switching his services and, in the end, returning to his original ideal.
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