Zhuge Liang: treacherous and immoral

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Zhuge Liang: treacherous and immoral

Unread postby Zhou Gongjin » Mon Oct 21, 2002 8:56 pm

Well since the anti-Kongming sentiments have been lacking so it's time to revive them.
I decided to profane myself and read the Way of the General, a book supposedly written by Zhuge Liang himself.
Kongming opens the book by defining five types of evil in people.
Let me quote each one and then comment on it.

Kongming wrote:First is the formation of factions that band together for character assassination, criticizing an vilifying the wise and the good.


First off. Zhuge Liang convinced Liu Bei that Liu Feng needed to be put away with. He helped Liu Bei decided to kill the son he wanted to adopt so much.
Then later, he tried to assassinate Wei Yan, a good and wise officer of Shu, who helped build the Kingdom.
Source: Li edition of SGYY

Kongming wrote:Second is luxury is uniforms.


Since Kongming joined Liu Bei, he continuously seeked to establish his own position and rank. The decision to get rid of Liu Feng was a political move needed to establish Kongming as the only person who would rule Shu, since he knew perfectly well that Ah Dou would be nothing but a puppet. Basically, we can say that all Zhuge Liang really did in all those years was establish his own position, whilst not doing want Liu Bei wanted in restoring the Han.
Source: Li edition of SGYY, SGZ

Kongming wrote:Third is wild tales and confabulations about the supernatural.


Zhuge Liang was very tricky in this. He supposedly was able to read the heavens, control the wind, predict fates of others etc etc. In any case, Kongming made many statements and tales about the supernatural, which again proves my point.
Source: Li edition of SGYY, Mao edition

Kongming wrote:Fourth is judgment based on private views, mobilizing groups for personal reasons.


Zhuge Liang claimed to follow Liu Bei because he was such a moral and wise ruler. SGYY clearly says that the battle of Yi Ling was the result of Liu Bei's anger, thus a private view. Why did Zhuge Liang keep serving him? Liu Bei used his personal view in many matters, yet Zhuge Liang admired him.
Source: Mao edition of SGYY

Kongming wrote: Fifth is making secret alliances with enemies, watching for where the advantage may lie.


First of all, Shu used the alliance they had with Wu to steal teritory. Secondly, Liu Bei, on the advice of Zhuge Liang and Pang Tong, made a fake alliance with Liu Zhang and pretended to help him, and when he gained trust, he turned around and stole his family's land.

Kongming wrote: All people like this are treacherous and immoral. You should distance yourself from them and not associate with them.


:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Zhuge Liang: treacherous and immoral

Unread postby James » Mon Oct 21, 2002 9:38 pm

Well, first off, we don’t know at what point in Zhuge Liang’s life this book was written. It is possible he was reflecting on mistakes made earlier in his later years? It is also sometimes much easier to see the right path than to follow it. That said, there are bound to be contradictions. This could provide some great discussion though.

Thoughts of your based on the SGYY will be answered with replies based on the SGYY, same for SGZ thoughts and historical replies.

Zhou Gongjin wrote:Well since the anti-Kongming sentiments have been lacking so it's time to revive them.
I decided to profane myself and read the Way of the General, a book supposedly written by Zhuge Liang himself.
Kongming opens the book by defining five types of evil in people.
Let me quote each one and then comment on it.

Click here to read the Way of the General online.

Zhou Gongjin wrote:
Kongming wrote:First is the formation of factions that band together for character assassination, criticizing an vilifying the wise and the good.

First off. Zhuge Liang convinced Liu Bei that Liu Feng needed to be put away with. He helped Liu Bei decided to kill the son he wanted to adopt so much.
Then later, he tried to assassinate Wei Yan, a good and wise officer of Shu, who helped build the Kingdom.
Source: Li edition of SGYY

Liu Feng had a duty to help Guan Yu when Guan Yu called upon him for help. Liu Feng chose to do nothing. This is why he was executed, and it was in accordance with military law. The fact that he was Liu Bei’s son, according to the military law, does not give him special treatment in relation to punishment.

In SGYY Wei Yan was assassinated because he was going to rebel against Shu. It was a good move. Historically, the whole entire matter is different.

Zhou Gongjin wrote:
Kongming wrote:Second is luxury is uniforms.

Since Kongming joined Liu Bei, he continuously seeked to establish his own position and rank. The decision to get rid of Liu Feng was a political move needed to establish Kongming as the only person who would rule Shu, since he knew perfectly well that Ah Dou would be nothing but a puppet. Basically, we can say that all Zhuge Liang really did in all those years was establish his own position, whilst not doing want Liu Bei wanted in restoring the Han.
Source: Li edition of SGYY, SGZ

First off, this has nothing to do with uniforms being a luxury. On that note, Zhuge Liang wore standard military issue clothing.

I think the statement that Zhuge Liang was working only to increase his rank is very open to personal opinion and debate. Liu Bei promoted him for good deeds and merit. He even arranged for his demotion at one point, something ambitious men do not do. Later, he had to fight to maintain his authority (historically) in the same way that Sima Yi was forced to.

Zhou Gongjin wrote:
Kongming wrote:Third is wild tales and confabulations about the supernatural.

Zhuge Liang was very tricky in this. He supposedly was able to read the heavens, control the wind, predict fates of others etc etc. In any case, Kongming made many statements and tales about the supernatural, which again proves my point.
Source: Li edition of SGYY, Mao edition

It really isn’t fair to compare the fictional novel Zhuge Liang to the historical writings and suggestions presented by him in relation to this matter. The historical Zhuge Liang did not call the winds, read the heavens, and predict fates.

Kongming wrote:Fourth is judgment based on private views, mobilizing groups for personal reasons.

Zhuge Liang claimed to follow Liu Bei because he was such a moral and wise ruler. SGYY clearly says that the battle of Yi Ling was the result of Liu Bei's anger, thus a private view. Why did Zhuge Liang keep serving him? Liu Bei used his personal view in many matters, yet Zhuge Liang admired him.
Source: Mao edition of SGYY[/quote]
Zhuge Liang opposed the battle at Yi Ling. Liu Bei made a mistake. Zhuge Liang’s book says nothing about leaving your lord because he makes a poor mistake; his book is about managing generals you command. In fact, I would be eager to call Zhuge Liang a traitor if he left as a result of these actions.

Kongming wrote: Fifth is making secret alliances with enemies, watching for where the advantage may lie.

First of all, Shu used the alliance they had with Wu to steal teritory. Secondly, Liu Bei, on the advice of Zhuge Liang and Pang Tong, made a fake alliance with Liu Zhang and pretended to help him, and when he gained trust, he turned around and stole his family's land. [/quote]
This is a mixture of history and SGYY, I can’t really reply without knowing where you want to take this. I will wait on the Ba-Shu part of this discussion, but in relation to Wu I do not agree historically or from the novel. Shu cooperated with Wu to defeat Wei (waits for Han Xin’s reply); they also took territory that was not under Shu or Wu during the process. Sure, Shu took territory that both countries wanted, but in order for it to be a betrayal I think they would have had to attack Wu.
Last edited by James on Sun Dec 10, 2006 1:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Zhuge Liang: treacherous and immoral

Unread postby Zhou Gongjin » Mon Oct 21, 2002 10:22 pm

Zhuge Kongming wrote:Well, first off, we don’t know at what point in Zhuge Liang’s life this book was written. It is possible he was reflecting on mistakes made earlier in his later years? It is also sometimes much easier to see the right path than to follow it. That said, there are bound to be contradictions. This could provide some great discussion though.


This could have only been written during peace time, which means it was written between the Northern Campaigns and Yi Ling.

Zhuge Kongming wrote:Liu Feng had a duty to help Guan Yu when Guan Yu called upon him for help. Liu Feng chose to do nothing. This is why he was executed, and it was in accordance with military law. The fact that he was Liu Bei’s son, according to the military law, does not give him special treatment in relation to punishment.


The story of Liu Feng’s downfall begins when Liu Bei becomes King of Hanzhong and, as a king must, names his heir apparent: Liu Shan. Zhuge Liang’s anxieties about a challenge to this decision are recorded in Liu Feng’s biography: “Kongming feared that Liu Feng would prove stubborn and assertive and difficult to control in the next reign, so he convinced Liu Bei to get rid of him.” This information about Kongming, a consistent supporter of Liu Shan, is not to be found in either edition of the novel, which connects Liu Feng’s downfall to Guan Yu’s plight in Jing Zhou and Liu Feng’s doom to Guan Yu’s death.
Here in the novel’s version of the circumstances: during the time Guan Yu is hunted down, captured, and finally executed by Sun Quan, Liu Feng and Meng Da are the only ones in a position to send a rescue mission to try to save Guan Yu. Liu Feng and Meng Da have been posted as commanders to the eastern reaches of the Shu-Han Kingdom and thus are close to Jing Zhou, Guan Yu’s sphere. But Liu Feng is either unwilling or unable to send help. Perhaps he refuses it because he knows Guan Yu spoke for Liu Shan as Liu Bei’s heir. Whatever Liu Feng’s motives, when Liu Bei receives a report blaming Liu Feng and Meng Da for the death of Guan Yu, he and Kongming are too angry to forgive, and they have Liu Feng executed when he returns to Cheng Du; Meng Da defects to Wei soon after Guan Yu is killed.
When he defects, Meng Da writes a letter to Liu Bei explaining his change of masters. The letter is preserved in both editions of the novel. Meng Da also writes to Liu Feng urging him to defect, but Liu Feng hotly rejects the proposal, exclaiming: “This villain would break the bond between nephew and uncle and sunder the love of the father and son, making me disloyal and unfilial.” So saying, Liu Feng destroys the letter, executes the courier, and goes forth to challenge Meng Da to battle. His stand, however honorable, fails to save him when he returns to Cheng Du.
Both editions of the novel have the basic story, but only the Three Kingdoms has Meng Da’s letter urging Liu Feng to follow him and defect. The contents of the letter suggest Mao Zonggang’s motive for not including it. Meng Da appeals to Liu Feng by criticizing Liu Bei’s choice of successor: “The selection of Ah Dou [Liu Shan] as heir apparent bitterly disappointed men of discernment…..Turmoil and ruin have ever sprung from the changing o the heir apparent.” The letter moves on from the Shu-Han succession question to argue the superiority of natural to adopted parenthood: “Now, for one to abandon his [natural] parents to become another’s heir violates tradition….. If someone of your ability were to give up his status and come east to resume the place heir to the Lord of Luo [Liu Feng’s father], it could not be a betrayal of a parent.”
Even allowing for Meng Da’s special pleading, this letter’s arguments fits the official record: Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang decided to get rid of Liu Feng in order to clear the way for the chosen heir, Liu Shan, to succeed Liu Bei as Emperor of Shu-Han without a challenge from the only credible rival. And the result of Liu Shan’s ascension as Second Emperor was that “every governmental matter in Shu-Han, great or small, was decided by Kongming.” Thus the question of Liu Bei’s succession, which the Mao edition suppresses, is openly handled in the Three Kingdoms, even if some relevant material in the SGZ is omitted. Once again the 1522 Three Kingdoms proves to be closer to the official record, while the Mao edition tends to develop its own moralizing fictions on certain points.
Mao Zonggang wanted to keep the focus off Liu Feng’s status as Liu Bei’s son and on his own conflicts with Meng Da (whose defection was partly Liu Feng’s fault) as well as on his failure to rescue Guan Yu. Mao omitted any material about Liu Bei and Kongming that might have compromised their portraits as embodiments of traditional Confucian values such as virtue and humanity, the factors of legitimacy. It may be remembered at this point how often the novel makes an issue of the consequences of tampering with succession by the eldest son. Thus, Mao Zonggang’s handling of the Liu Feng incident is in keeping with his advocacy if Liu-lineage legitimacy.


Zhou Gongjin wrote:In SGYY Wei Yan was assassinated because he was going to rebel against Shu. It was a good move. Historically, the whole entire matter is different.


Mao Zonggang exercised great care in reworking the image of Zhuge Liang into an ideal; indeed, this transformation of Zhuge Liang may be considered the heart of the difference between the Mao edition and the Three Kingdoms. Their divergence is revealed again in the way they treat the case of the Shu Commander Wei Yan. Although submerged in the novel, Wei Yan contributed as much to the cause of the historical Shu-Han as Guan Yu, Zhang Fei or Zhao Yun.
When Zhuge Liang leaves Jing Zhou to join Liu Xuande in Shu-Han, he places Guan Yu in charge of the province. When Liu Bei declares himself King of Hanzhong and departs for Cheng Du, he places Wei Yan in charge of the region. The Han Zhong region, a buffer between Shu-Han and the north (or more specifically the Chang An region) is no less important to Liu Bei than Jing Zhou is. Zhang Fei has privately been expecting to assume control of Hanzhong when Liu Bei leaves, but Liu Bei appoints Wei Yan instead, to the army’s amazement. This is noted in the SGZ and not the novel.
Wei Yan is a member of Zhuge Liang’s inner circle and plays a prominent role in the last series of campaigns against the north. His proposal before one of these campaigns in famous. Wei Yan urges Zhuge Liang to strike Chang An directly, but Zhuge Liang chooses instead to maneuver around from Longyou in the west. Later, many think that Kongming might have taken Chang An had he heeded Wei Yan’s advice. Wei Yan comes to prominence after the old guard – Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, and Zhao Yun – die. Most important, Wei Yan supports Kongming’s war policy, which all the Emperor has some doubts about it.
Still and all, Zhuge Liang doesn’t trust Wei Yan. “He has treason in his bones,” is Kongming’s judgment. (The only basis for this in the SGZ is a remark by Sun Quan that Wei Yan may prove unreliable after Kongming dies.) And so Zhuge Liang attempts to get rid of Wei Yan in the course of his surprise attack on Sima Yi in the Shangfang gorge. Kongming uses Wei Yan to draw Sima Yi into the gorge, where a fiery ambush has been set, but a sudden downpour quenches the flames and enables Sima Yi to escape. Wei Yan would have perished too but for the rains. Afterwards, Wei Yan protests that Zhuge Liang tried to kill him, an accusation found in the Three Kingdoms but not in the Mao edition. Zhuge Liang then arranged to have Wei Yan executed after his death.
At the time of Zhuge Liang’s death, Wei Yan has the vanguard. He wants to send Kongming’s body home and continue the campaign. He is ordered to turn the van into the rearguard, however, and protect a general retreat. Wei Yan refused this order, and a leadership crisis erupts on the battlefield. It may be that Kongming though the army should rest after his death. It may be that Kongming feared his van leader might simply go over to the enemy. It may be that it suited the novelist’s purpose to emphasize a crisis over Kongming’s successor.
Whatever the problem, the editor of the “Li” edition of the Three Kingdoms uses the incident to attack Kongming: “Kongming is no follower of the Kingly way, if only because he contrived to murder Wei Yan… If Wei Yan had committed a crime, why did he not make it public, why did he treat Wei Yan like a Sima?” Mao Zonggang drops the paragraph in which Wei Yan accuses Kongming of trying to kill him. Moreover, Mao assumes that Wei Yan is a potential traitor: “Kongming anticipated Wei Yan’s rebellion and got rid of him before he could act; this shows wisdom… Once Wei Yan has rebelled, Shu-Han would have a foe in Wei Yan as great as Sima Yi. When Wei Yan burned the Cliffside walkway, when he attacked Nanjun, had the northerners found out and turned back, the fate of Shu-Han would be sealed.”
Readers of historical conscience may feel that Wei Yan has been wronged when they turn to the biography that follows Wei Yan’s in the SGZ, that of Yang Yi, Wei Yan’s rival. Yang Yi had expected to succeed Zhuge Liang as Prime Minister of Shu-Han, but Jiang Wan was chosen instead. Indignantly, Yang Yi said he should have defected to Wei when Kongming died. Since Yang Yi is the source of the accusation of treason against Wei yan, the charge becomes suspect.


Zhuge Kongming wrote:I think the statement that Zhuge Liang was working only to increase his rank is very open to personal opinion and debate. Liu Bei promoted him for good deeds and merit. He even arranged for his demotion at one point, something ambitious men do not do. Later, he had to fight to maintain his authority (historically) in the same way that Sima Yi was forced to.


From all the sources I've consulted, the only thing Kongming ever seemed to be concerned about was himself. He disobeyed Liu Bei's request to replace Liu Shan with someone else, and his fued with Wei became his passion and his demise.

Zhuge Kongming wrote:It really isn’t fair to compare the fictional novel Zhuge Liang to the historical writings and suggestions presented by him in relation to this matter. The historical Zhuge Liang did not call the winds, read the heavens, and predict fates.


But the one in both versions of SGYY, and in most people's minds did.

Zhuge Kongming wrote:Zhuge Liang opposed the battle at Yi Ling. Liu Bei made a mistake. Zhuge Liang’s book says nothing about leaving your lord because he makes a poor mistake; his book is about managing generals you command. In fact, I would be eager to call Zhuge Liang a traitor if he left as a result of these actions.


The point was that Zhuge Liang still supported Liu Bei, he just made mention of him not agreeing with Yi Ling, while others have showed much more sincerity (like Zhang Zhao with Sun Quan, and others in Wei). He also could have tried to trick Liu Bei into not going like he tricked him into becoming Emperor.

Zhuge Kongming wrote:This is a mixture of history and SGYY, I can’t really reply without knowing where you want to take this. I will wait on the Ba-Shu part of this discussion, but in relation to Wu I do not agree historically or from the novel. Shu cooperated with Wu to defeat Wei (waits for Han Xin’s reply); they also took territory that was not under Shu or Wu during the process. Sure, Shu took territory that both countries wanted, but in order for it to be a betrayal I think they would have had to attack Wu.


Shu promised to return those lands didn't they? Instead of doing so, they devised tricks to keep it while Liu Bei stole Yizhou.
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Re: Zhuge Liang: treacherous and immoral

Unread postby James » Tue Oct 22, 2002 12:03 am

Zhou Gongjin wrote:This could have only been written during peace time, which means it was written between the Northern Campaigns and Yi Ling.

There is no reason to believe that it couldn’t have been written earlier in his days, or maybe on campaign. Point is, we don’t know. We can only speculate.

Zhou Gongjin wrote:The story of Liu Feng’s downfall begins when Liu Bei becomes King of Hanzhong and, as a king must, names his heir apparent: Liu Shan. Zhuge Liang’s anxieties about a challenge to this decision are recorded in Liu Feng’s biography: “Kongming feared that Liu Feng would prove stubborn and assertive and difficult to control in the next reign, so he convinced Liu Bei to get rid of him.” This information about Kongming, a consistent supporter of Liu Shan, is not to be found in either edition of the novel, which connects Liu Feng’s downfall to Guan Yu’s plight in Jing Zhou and Liu Feng’s doom to Guan Yu’s death.

What biography? SGZ or the Li edition of SGYY? Liu Feng still earned his execution by military law when he failed Guan Yu, but it would be interesting to learn that Kongming had ulterior motives. If it is from a historical work, I am glad to learn of it, but if it is from the Li SGYY I consider it to be just as worthwhile as the Mao SGYY. In that case it would only serve as a good point for speculation.

Zhou Gongjin wrote:Here in the novel’s version of the circumstances: during the time Guan Yu is hunted down, captured, and finally executed by Sun Quan, Liu Feng and Meng Da are the only ones in a position to send a rescue mission to try to save Guan Yu. Liu Feng and Meng Da have been posted as commanders to the eastern reaches of the Shu-Han Kingdom and thus are close to Jing Zhou, Guan Yu’s sphere. But Liu Feng is either unwilling or unable to send help. Perhaps he refuses it because he knows Guan Yu spoke for Liu Shan as Liu Bei’s heir. Whatever Liu Feng’s motives, when Liu Bei receives a report blaming Liu Feng and Meng Da for the death of Guan Yu, he and Kongming are too angry to forgive, and they have Liu Feng executed when he returns to Cheng Du; Meng Da defects to Wei soon after Guan Yu is killed. […]
Even allowing for Meng Da’s special pleading, this letter’s arguments fits the official record: Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang decided to get rid of Liu Feng in order to clear the way for the chosen heir, Liu Shan, to succeed Liu Bei as Emperor of Shu-Han without a challenge from the only credible rival. And the result of Liu Shan’s ascension as Second Emperor was that “every governmental matter in Shu-Han, great or small, was decided by Kongming.” Thus the question of Liu Bei’s succession, which the Mao edition suppresses, is openly handled in the Three Kingdoms, even if some relevant material in the SGZ is omitted. Once again the 1522 Three Kingdoms proves to be closer to the official record, while the Mao edition tends to develop its own moralizing fictions on certain points.

Ah, I see. So it is simply a conclusion on your part based off events in the novel? I believe Liu Feng would have most likely made a better ruler than Liu Shan, but the fact that he was not direct blood was still something to consider. There may have been problems if he were given command. I do not think it would have been wise to remove him simply because he may have presented some opposition, and I think the Guan Yu incident could have gone the other way, but I do not disagree with the decision of execution. It is important that a ruler maintain constant rule in all levels of the army and if Liu Feng refused to help Guan Yu simply because of a personal opinion against him, or because of events and decisions back at the capital, he got what he deserved.

As for Zhuge Liang controlling the courts, he was in a position that required it. Liu Bei charged him with the empire, and Liu Shan was not equal to the task (by Liu Bei’s own admission).

Zhou Gongjin wrote:Mao Zonggang wanted to keep the focus off Liu Feng’s status as Liu Bei’s son and on his own conflicts with Meng Da (whose defection was partly Liu Feng’s fault) as well as on his failure to rescue Guan Yu. Mao omitted any material about Liu Bei and Kongming that might have compromised their portraits as embodiments of traditional Confucian values such as virtue and humanity, the factors of legitimacy. It may be remembered at this point how often the novel makes an issue of the consequences of tampering with succession by the eldest son. Thus, Mao Zonggang’s handling of the Liu Feng incident is in keeping with his advocacy if Liu-lineage legitimacy.

Mao’s objective was not to make a historical document. He simply created a novel rooted from historical events, and further modified by many factors. This is why it is called a novel instead of a historical document.

Liu Feng was passed over because he was not direct blood; Liu Shan received the title because he was. If they were both direct blood, or if they both weren’t, Liu Feng would have probably been successor. This is nothing unusual, even for this time period.


Zhou Gongjin wrote:… Still and all, Zhuge Liang doesn’t trust Wei Yan. “He has treason in his bones,” is Kongming’s judgment. (The only basis for this in the SGZ is a remark by Sun Quan that Wei Yan may prove unreliable after Kongming dies.) And so Zhuge Liang attempts to get rid of Wei Yan in the course of his surprise attack on Sima Yi in the Shangfang gorge. Kongming uses Wei Yan to draw Sima Yi into the gorge, where a fiery ambush has been set, but a sudden downpour quenches the flames and enables Sima Yi to escape. Wei Yan would have perished too but for the rains. Afterwards, Wei Yan protests that Zhuge Liang tried to kill him, an accusation found in the Three Kingdoms but not in the Mao edition. Zhuge Liang then arranged to have Wei Yan executed after his death.

The exact circumstances behind Wei Yan’s death and Zhuge Liang’s mistrust of him have always been intriguing to me. People hold a very solid stance on this when the historical references for and against it are both rather vague. Sun Quan’s comment on Wei Yan is not a good argument for his execution, but Zhuge Liang kept Wei Yan in regular military function and used him on many military campaigns. After the fire was quenched by the rain Wei Yan is said to have suspected an attempt on his life? What document/biography does this come from? What are the specific SGZ circumstances behind Zhuge Liang’s plot to kill him after his own death?

It is also worth considering the possibility that Zhuge Liang may have truly anticipated rebellion on Wei Yan’s part after he passed. Wei Yan would have wanted to take his place, and in fact he would have probably been a great choice. Maybe Zhuge Liang knew he might not receive the title?

Zhou Gongjin wrote:At the time of Zhuge Liang’s death, Wei Yan has the vanguard. He wants to send Kongming’s body home and continue the campaign. He is ordered to turn the van into the rearguard, however, and protect a general retreat. Wei Yan refused this order, and a leadership crisis erupts on the battlefield. It may be that Kongming though the army should rest after his death. It may be that Kongming feared his van leader might simply go over to the enemy. It may be that it suited the novelist’s purpose to emphasize a crisis over Kongming’s successor.

Maybe Zhuge Liang anticipated the insubordination and was afraid for Shu? Wei Yan was a very talented general and Shu would have had a great deal of trouble in providing someone to match him. Still a shame I say, Wei Yan was such a great talent.

Zhou Gongjin wrote:… Mao Zonggang drops the paragraph in which Wei Yan accuses Kongming of trying to kill him. Moreover, Mao assumes that Wei Yan is a potential traitor: “Kongming anticipated Wei Yan’s rebellion and got rid of him before he could act; this shows wisdom… Once Wei Yan has rebelled, Shu-Han would have a foe in Wei Yan as great as Sima Yi. When Wei Yan burned the Cliffside walkway, when he attacked Nanjun, had the northerners found out and turned back, the fate of Shu-Han would be sealed.”

In history it may be entirely possible that the two had a plan worked out for the attack, and that there never was an attempt on Wei Yan’s life at that time.

Zhou Gongjin wrote:Readers of historical conscience may feel that Wei Yan has been wronged when they turn to the biography that follows Wei Yan’s in the SGZ, that of Yang Yi, Wei Yan’s rival. Yang Yi had expected to succeed Zhuge Liang as Prime Minister of Shu-Han, but Jiang Wan was chosen instead. Indignantly, Yang Yi said he should have defected to Wei when Kongming died. Since Yang Yi is the source of the accusation of treason against Wei Yan, the charge becomes suspect.

It is clear than Yang Yi was not a good choice for successor, a loyal follower of Shu-Han would not contemplate rebellion based off those events. Perhaps it is possible that the leadership still had faith in Yang Yi and his accusation against Wei Yan was taken all too seriously. It is also a real possibility that corruption in the capital resulted, or was manipulated in order to; cause the death of Wei Yan. What role in this do you think Zhuge Liang played?


Zhou Gongjin wrote:From all the sources I've consulted, the only thing Kongming ever seemed to be concerned about was himself. He disobeyed Liu Bei's request to replace Liu Shan with someone else, and his fued with Wei became his passion and his demise.

There are any number of reasons that might have caused Zhuge Liang not to replace Liu Shan. Maybe he was not willing, or morally unable, to replace the Liu family with someone else? Maybe he was scared of the possible implications that may arise? Rebellion, discontent, the list goes on. If anyone were to replace Liu Shan it would have to be Zhuge Liang himself, and that would have brought on problems as well.

As for the Wei Yan incident, looking at Zhuge Liang’s life and actions he just doesn’t seem like the petty feud starter to me. He doesn’t seem like a man obsessed with power either, contrary to the beliefs of several people here. I feel there may have been other events between their relationship. It is just my opinion though.

Zhou Gongjin wrote:But the one in both versions of SGYY, and in most people's minds did.

It cannot be passed as historical information even in the slightest, regardless of the general belief. If you are going to compare historical works of Zhuge Liang it is best to compare them against the historical Zhuge Liang. Not Luo Guanzhong and the Maos fictional Zhuge Liang. ;)

Zhou Gongjin wrote:The point was that Zhuge Liang still supported Liu Bei, he just made mention of him not agreeing with Yi Ling, while others have showed much more sincerity (like Zhang Zhao with Sun Quan, and others in Wei). He also could have tried to trick Liu Bei into not going like he tricked him into becoming Emperor.

He chose to support Liu Bei in the end. Is that not the right thing to do? If he had tried to trick Liu Bei, you would have been using that as fuel to oppose him here instead. It would have been very wrong for Zhuge Liang to deceive Liu Bei, or make an attempt to do so, in this (or any other) circumstance. It was a poor decision on Liu Bei’s part; Zhuge Liang opposed it. That is really all that matters. If Liu Bei had prepared properly, and had approached the whole thing in a more intelligent manner, it may have turned into a victory too. That is why I think, despite the delay in time, that Liu Bei’s intentions were partially vengeance.

Zhou Gongjin wrote: Shu promised to return those lands didn't they? Instead of doing so, they devised tricks to keep it while Liu Bei stole Yizhou.

This debate has gone the rounds in great detail in this and other forums. I don’t really see how their decisions in relation to those lands at a later time has anything to do with Zhuge Liang’s decisions when they were initially obtained.
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hmm

Unread postby Jeffro » Tue Oct 22, 2002 12:53 am

While I don't have as beautiful a response as either of you guys, I gathered from the book that when Wei Yan entered the story, it was through betrayal of his first master (I can't remember who it was right off hand). Unfortunatley for him, while he may have been an excellent military leader, and though other characters got away with doing the same thing throughout the novel, ZGL probably forsaw how he had turned on his master when defeat seemed inevitable. It is almost as if ZGL forsaw Shu's eminent defeat leading to another attempted defection by Wei Yan.

Again, I am only familiar with SGYY so I don't mean to infer that I know the real history.
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Re: Zhuge Liang: treacherous and immoral

Unread postby Mu Shu » Tue Oct 22, 2002 2:28 am

Zhou Gongjin wrote:Well since the anti-Kongming sentiments have been lacking so it's time to revive them.
I decided to profane myself and read the Way of the General, a book supposedly written by Zhuge Liang himself.
Kongming opens the book by defining five types of evil in people.
Let me quote each one and then comment on it.



These hardly seem like "evil" offenses... but it makes sense that Zhuge Liang would not want people with these qualities working for him even if he possessed these qualities himself.

Kongming was no angel nor was he the devil... He did not abide as rigidly by moral codes as Liu Bei... nor did he abandon all sense of decency like Cao Cao...

Treacherous? Immoral? Hmm... there were many others more deserving of those descriptions... but I guess since ZGL was so successful it is easy to target him... The western media often portrays Deng Xiaoping as treacherous and immoral for Tiannamen Square. But to the vast majority of people in China, Deng is a hero. If not for him, China would have imploded like the Soviet Union... Zhuge Liang is also a hero. Nobody else had a better understanding of what needed to be done to restore the Han Dynasty and bring peace to China. But even with his unmatched abilities, he was not able to completely control the events around him. His failure does not diminish his stature, just as Robert E. Lee's defeat does not diminish his....

Did ZGL only care about his own reputation? That's a very subjective statement... the same could be said for Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King and the Pope...
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Re: Zhuge Liang: treacherous and immoral

Unread postby Han Xin » Tue Oct 22, 2002 11:49 am

First off, I am not that convince that Way of the Generals was actually Zhuge Liang's work. However, since I always like a lively debate I decided to join in.

Zhuge Kongming wrote:Liu Feng had a duty to help Guan Yu when Guan Yu called upon him for help. Liu Feng chose to do nothing. This is why he was executed, and it was in accordance with military law. The fact that he was Liu Bei’s son, according to the military law, does not give him special treatment in relation to punishment.


Liu Feng couldn't help Guan Yu even if he wanted to. Liu Feng was occupied with some traitors at ShangYong too. Later Zhuge Liang used an excuse that Liu Feng did not help Guan Yu to kill him. However, I believe that it was Liu Bei himself that wanted to get rid of Liu Feng. Liu Feng was a very competent commander and Liu Bei already wanted his own blood to suceed him. The death of Guan Yu mean that Zhuge Liang had one less person to keep Liu Feng in check, even if Zhuge Liang manage to get rid of Liu Feng after the death of Liu Bei, Shu would be in chaos and Wu and Wei might be benifiting from the trouble. Therefore although I felt that Liu Feng was innocently force to commit suicide, it is the best solution for Shu regarding the circumstances.

Zhuge Kongming wrote:In SGYY Wei Yan was assassinated because he was going to rebel against Shu. It was a good move. Historically, the whole entire matter is different.


I agree. Sometime Lou GuanZhong wanted to make Zhuge Liang out into a super genius but in the end made Zhuge Liang turns out to be super cynister. Historically, Wei Yan was Zhuge Liang favourite generals and there was never any foul play done on Zhuge Liang's part.


Zhuge Kongming wrote:First off, this has nothing to do with uniforms being a luxury. On that note, Zhuge Liang wore standard military issue clothing.


Yeah, it did mention that Zhuge Liang never wear anything too expensive like fined-silk. Beside I don't think luxury in uniform was that of a big deal, He Qi was a guy that renouce for his expensive uniform and equipment, however, as long as he did he job and did it well I don't think Sun Quan really cares.

Zhuge Kongming wrote:Zhuge Liang opposed the battle at Yi Ling. Liu Bei made a mistake. Zhuge Liang’s book says nothing about leaving your lord because he makes a poor mistake; his book is about managing generals you command. In fact, I would be eager to call Zhuge Liang a traitor if he left as a result of these actions.


:lol: I don't think Zhuge Liang have a choice to serve another person. Although I like Sun Quan, however, he do have a rich history of acting on his personal felling (i.e. the humiliation of Zhang Zhao and the sacking of Lu Xun), Cao Cao or Cao Pi were not that better either. From the historical account of the YiLing invasion, I do not think Liu Bei invade Wu to revenge Guan Yu anyway.

Zhuge Kongming wrote:This is a mixture of history and SGYY, I can’t really reply without knowing where you want to take this. I will wait on the Ba-Shu part of this discussion, but in relation to Wu I do not agree historically or from the novel. Shu cooperated with Wu to defeat Wei (waits for Han Xin’s reply); they also took territory that was not under Shu or Wu during the process. Sure, Shu took territory that both countries wanted, but in order for it to be a betrayal I think they would have had to attack Wu.


I believe that the term "Fifth is making secret alliances with enemies, watching for where the advantage may lie." apply for generals who double-dealing with an enemy states, not when one ruler backstabbed the other one. For a commander or ruler, having a general a the front who have secret contacts with the enemy is very dangerous and you could not fully trust that general to go on a offensive or stay on the defensive. I believe this is the reason why Lu Kang was dismissed later.

To Zhuge Kongming: Historically, Wu gave everything that Liu Bei had. I am not that convince that Liu Bei or any of his cohort did anything at ChiBi. However, it true that he took over the 4 prefecture in the south by himself, however, he did took these 4 prefectures under the protection of Zhou Yu.
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Unread postby Qiang_Lord » Tue Oct 22, 2002 3:07 pm

Wasn't one of the reasons of Liu Feng not aiding Guan Yu something to do with his troops?
I mean if you know you haven't enough troops to rescue somebody then why put thousands of lives at risk for an old general and a couple of hundred soldiers?
So,I think Zhuge was prejudiced against Liu Feng.

And,besides,I never did like the SGYY version of Liang
"Seek truth from facts."
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Re: Zhuge Liang: treacherous and immoral

Unread postby Zhou Tai » Wed Oct 23, 2002 9:06 pm

From Kongming....

Liu Feng had a duty to help Guan Yu when Guan Yu called upon him for help. Liu Feng chose to do nothing. This is why he was executed, and it was in accordance with military law. The fact that he was Liu Bei’s son, according to the military law, does not give him special treatment in relation to punishment.

Saying this Kongming...Didnt Guan Yu state to Zhuge Liang that if he let Cao Cao escape that he would be punished by Military Law and executed

Guan Yu did allow Cao Cao to escape, and Zhuge Liang was going to, but Liu Bei stopped him?

What im saying from your quote is although Liu feng "was" put to death in accordance to military law and no special treatment from being Liu Bei's Son, why was it that Guan Yu, the fact that he was Liu Bei’s brother got special treatment in relation to punishment.
proven he allowed Shu's biggest threat to escape past him, and allowed to live and gave his word to Zhuge that execute him if he did not fulfill his promise?

Well theres little relation from what your saying.....
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Unread postby Ieyasu Xundari » Wed Oct 23, 2002 9:38 pm

If Liu Feng went to aid Guan Yu than the whole situation might have changed. Guan Yu and Guan Ping might have survived and escape. That would turn the tables of the past completely. Liu Bei problably would not have gone to Yi Ling to attack the heart of Wu. This would've problably prolonged the Shu Dyansty's existance.

But, no. That bastard Liu Feng refused. He deserved all the punishment he got.
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