Did Guan Yu Let The Power Go To His Head?

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Did Guan Yu Let The Power Go To His Head?

Unread postby Mr Liang » Sat Oct 10, 2009 7:49 am

In the begining of the book Guan Yu comes across as a very stoic character. Like Galahad, he was the strong silent character. He only spoke when necessary, but when he spoke it seemed something profound (or a forshadow of death). Before his expedition against Pang De he became somebody else entirely. He refused to relinquish command his territory to Wu and goes as far as to remonstrate and refuses his title because he Liu Bei included Ma Chao and Haung Zhong into the FTG's. This seems to be a very different character from the begining.

What do you think?
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Re: Did Guan Yu Let The Power Go To His Head?

Unread postby Lu Kang » Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:45 pm

Absolutely. His arrogance was a big factor in his downfall, both in the novel and historically. He lost sight of what really mattered and it ended up costing him dearly.
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Re: Did Guan Yu Let The Power Go To His Head?

Unread postby Mr Liang » Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:08 pm

How did Guan Yu's downfall occure in RL? How was it different from the book?
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Re: Did Guan Yu Let The Power Go To His Head?

Unread postby hall_of_famer02 » Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:24 pm

Mr Liang wrote:How did Guan Yu's downfall occure in RL? How was it different from the book?


There's no difference he and Guan Ping were beheaded.

From Guan Yu sgz bio: Duke Cao sent Xu Huang 徐晃 to reinforce Cao Ren (7). Guan Yu could not overcome them and led his troops in retreat. Sun Quan had occupied Jiangling, taken all of Guan Yu’s retainers and family captive. Hence Guan Yu’s army disbanded. Sun Quan sent his generals to beset Guan Yu and beheaded Guan Yu and his son Ping 平 at Linju 臨沮 (8).
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Re: Did Guan Yu Let The Power Go To His Head?

Unread postby Stallion Fury » Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:34 pm

Mi Fang and Fu Shiren did surrender to Lu Meng because Guan Yu mistreated them.
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Re: Did Guan Yu Let The Power Go To His Head?

Unread postby Qu Hui » Mon Oct 12, 2009 4:07 pm

Stallion Fury wrote:Mi Fang and Fu Shiren did surrender to Lu Meng because Guan Yu mistreated them.

He didn't really mistreat them; rather, he applied military law and then gave them positions at his rear.
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Re: Did Guan Yu Let The Power Go To His Head?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Oct 12, 2009 4:12 pm

Qu Hui wrote:
Stallion Fury wrote:Mi Fang and Fu Shiren did surrender to Lu Meng because Guan Yu mistreated them.

He didn't really mistreat them; rather, he applied military law and then gave them positions at his rear.


problem was he threatened them and then went on camapign. Plus Wu had the master of persuasion Yu Fan, a friend to Fu Shiren

The Jing thing was more complicated in history and Guan Yu's distrust is probably more understandable given Wu's attack in 215. I find the arrogance side a bit overplayed historically, think there were other factors and flaws beyond Guan Yu's failure but it certainly didn't help

Certainly in the novel, I do think he changes from a confident but not arrogant adviser with a good head on his shoulders to an egotist over the course of it and such a flaw leads him to his doom
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Re: Did Guan Yu Let The Power Go To His Head?

Unread postby Lu Kang » Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:29 pm

Guan Yu's arrogance historically did play a significant role. Besides his treatment of Wu as inferior on several occasions, he was notoriously antagonistic about other officers of the same rank as he. If anyone wonders why he was attacking Jing with the assortment of lower officers that he had probably have to look no further than his treatment to anyone else who seemed talented. If he was more willing to tolerate others being near his rank and status perhaps a better formed expedition could have been launched.

Then there is also the fact that Wu played off his arrogance in their attack, most notably Lu Xun's letter which was used to butter up his ego.

I believe that there is a Confucian saying that those who are arrogant alienate those around them. Keep in mind that Guan Yu lost the support of both the men he left behind as well as Meng Da and Liu Feng.
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Re: Did Guan Yu Let The Power Go To His Head?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:39 pm

Guan Yu lost the support of his rearguard officers by holding punishment over their heads, he lost support of Liu Feng by (rightly) warning Liu Bei to be wary over the heir issue. One is poor man management that doesn't need to have anything to do with arrogance, the other is unfortunate

His handling of Wu seems more based on a lack of trust (again, understandable) combined with Guan Yu being an absolutely awful diplomat/people person. His acceptance of Lu Xun may be arrogance or may be thinking "thank Heavens Lu Meng is sick and I gain someone who wishes to be as Lu Su was"
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Re: Did Guan Yu Let The Power Go To His Head?

Unread postby Lu Kang » Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:20 pm

His acceptance of Lu Xun's letter is quite likely from arrogance, considering that was the point of the letter. Lu Xun lays out Guan Yu's condition quite well in a conversation with Lu Meng, "Guan Yu, proud of his own valour, is disdainful towards others. He has just accomplished something great, and now he has become overly arrogant, thinking only to strike northward. Since he hasn’t suspected much activity from our side, once he hears of your illness, his defences will certainly drop." *Lu Xun's SGZ

The simple fact is that his arrogance is well known within other kingdoms. Also the fact that Lu Xun would be willing to risk a large scale operation in great deal because of his arrogance is also telling. From the eyes of Lu Xun certainly his arrogance would be a facet of his downfall. He then makes moves to exploit this, quite successfully, with his letter. Besides a letter that flattering would probably cause some suspicion with anyone who doesn't think too much with their ego.

In addition to Guan Yu's many other noted moments of arrogance and Chen Shou's note it makes one wonder what did not make it into the chronicles.
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