Friendly Discussion about Guan Yu

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Do you think Guan Yu was a great person?

Yes
32
67%
No
16
33%
 
Total votes : 48

Unread postby Zhou Tai » Fri Jan 10, 2003 11:05 pm

There was a moment (Novel or history not sure) that after Guan Yu heard that Zhang Fei and Ma Chao drew in a duel. He wouldnt accept it and that he was very eager to prove himself and personally challenge Ma Chao.

However doing so would be leaving Jing, so Zhuge basically sent a "suck up" letter claiming that Guan Yu is by far a superior warrior to Ma Chao.

So of course his arrogance arrived again and he "ate" (not literally :roll: ) up all the words stated in the letter, and his "honor" was restored.
What? Am I suppose to impress you with a phrase. ><
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Unread postby DarkAnthem » Fri Jan 10, 2003 11:13 pm

Guan Yu asked Kong Ming of Ma Chao's abilities after hearing Ma Chao has surrendered. The duel between Ma Chao and Zhang Fei never happened in history. Here's a qoute from his bio:

Gaun Yu SGZ bio(translated by Sonken) wrote:Guan Yu got news of Ma Chao’s surrender and they were never acquaintances in the past, hence he wrote a letter to Zhuge Liang asking, “Who can rival against Ma Chao in terms of ability?” Zhuge Liang had to take into account of Guan Yu's feelings, hence replied him, “Ma Chao is well versed in both literal and military affairs, more courageous and powerful than most men, a hero who can rival Qing or Peng and can be a worthy rival of Yide (Zhang Fei) but he is not someone who can rival the Beautiful Bearded One”. Guan Yu had a beautiful beard; hence Zhuge Liang addressed him thus. Upon finishing the letter, Guan Yu was overjoyed and showed the letter to the guests present.
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Unread postby TheGreatNads » Sat Jan 11, 2003 3:05 am

Alright I have to admit I was exagerating when I called Guan Yu useless.
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Unread postby Starscream » Sat Jan 11, 2003 4:20 am

TheGreatNads wrote:Ok first you said Guan Yu may have been the greatest general in Shu. And then you say his exploits pale in comparison to those of Zhuge Liang's. Saying Guan Yu's exploits pale in comparison to Zhuge's might be true(That isn't saying much though), but then you say he was possiblly the best general in Shu. No way, Guan Yu pales in to comparison to generals like Wei Yan or Zhang Fei. Also I believe either of those two generals would have better battle tactics and more success then Zhuge Liang. And yes I do disagree that Guan Yu was an above average general of his time. He was a useless and arrogant general.


This may sound like a contradiction, but what I meant was that the reason why Guan Yu was chosen as governor of Jingzhou was probably due to the fact that he was the best general/commander at that time, hence Liu Bei would entrust Jingzhou in his care. Notice that Zhuge Liang did not take over the governance of Jingzhou even when Yizhou was taken. Hence, as a military commander, Guan Yu showed that he was indeed trustable for this task. Zhuge Liang's exploits were more than Guan Yu, in his attempts to quell southern rebellions and invasion of Wei, even though both attempts were not too successful. Nevertheless, I feel that not many people in Shu could coordinate such a large scale attack.

I do not feel that Zhang Fei could do better than Guan Yu, as proven in history, he could not gain the respect of his subordinates and was killed in the mutiny. Such a general could not possibly handle the task of managing a whole prefecture. I'm not too sure about Wei Yan, but something tells me that he's been overrated, maybe he's good, but not that great. :roll:
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Unread postby TheGreatNads » Sat Jan 11, 2003 4:35 am

I'm not saying Zhang Fei could of done better in the defense than Guan Yu. In fact, for the same reason you stated I agree that Zhang Fei would not have been suited for the task. I am just saying he is a far better general.

Also I'd like to say that in my opinion, being capable of governing a city doesn't necessarily make one a good general. Actually defending it is another story. And unfortunately Guan Yu failed at that.
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Unread postby Wen Choung » Sat Jan 11, 2003 5:52 am

Okay, as the orignator of this topic, I'll fill you guys in on what my friend and I were dicussing. I mentioned to him once that Zhao Yun and Guan Yu were not all that great, according to some posts that I've read (mainly from the one at www.3kingdoms.net when it was still up). He asked me to give him an example so I did...this is the one I used.

When Guan Yu was protecting Liu Bei's wives when he surrendered to Cao Cao (or it may not have been with Cao Cao, don't remember for sure), Guan Yu had had an affair with them (or one of them). When Liu Bei found out, he offered them to Guan Yu for concubines or something. This was the example I gave. Does anyone else know of this one? Or was the person who posted it crazy and playing a trick on me? I hope he was...

Now this is another thing I read that somewhat supported that. When Cao Cao received Guan Yu's head from Sun Quan, he did not want Liu Bei to attack him so he ordered many temples to be set up. From those temples, great stories arose about Guan Yu and so they have grown to become what is known today.

When I said good things and bad things in my original post, I did not just mean so and so dueled with so and so...I meant like real slanderous stuff. I did not want to believe it at first, but I was soon persuaded because, one reason being that no one argued otherwise. Anyways, Han Xin's post about that Simpson's episode is so true. To be honest, that is what I think of. I hold that in knowledge, Guan Yu was not all that great, but in belief, I hold him as someone I should aspire to.
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Unread postby CK » Sat Jan 11, 2003 5:23 pm

I cannot understand why Guan Yu was labelled as arrogant. The point is, he was understanding towards his subordinate and cared for his troops more than Zhang Fei as mentioned by one of the quotes out there. This is obviously not a proof of his arrogance! If you want to judge a person, judge by how he treats his inferiors and not how he treat those on the same or higher level than him. In his opinion well, its actually according to my interpretation, his sympathy are towards the soldiers who FIGHT instead of to those who give commands and basically "do nothing". In a way, this is a good quality for leaders to have and if I have one such leader, I'll probably due for him and try to make Zhang Fei die!

Of course, I myself find it hard to be convinced by such an argument simply because he was indeed arrogant to certain officials due to his ties with Liu Bei. As a matter of fact, life is full of paradoxes and I believe this is one that we can explore. Despite that, I am still more predisposed to support the view that Guan Yu wasn't that arrogant.

As for why he was put in charge of Jingzhou, I have one answer. No better alternative. Period. :lol:
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Unread postby DarkAnthem » Sat Jan 11, 2003 8:29 pm

madaboutcheese wrote:I cannot understand why Guan Yu was labelled as arrogant. The point is, he was understanding towards his subordinate and cared for his troops more than Zhang Fei as mentioned by one of the quotes out there. This is obviously not a proof of his arrogance! If you want to judge a person, judge by how he treats his inferiors and not how he treat those on the same or higher level than him. In his opinion well, its actually according to my interpretation, his sympathy are towards the soldiers who FIGHT instead of to those who give commands and basically "do nothing". In a way, this is a good quality for leaders to have and if I have one such leader, I'll probably due for him and try to make Zhang Fei die!

Of course, I myself find it hard to be convinced by such an argument simply because he was indeed arrogant to certain officials due to his ties with Liu Bei. As a matter of fact, life is full of paradoxes and I believe this is one that we can explore. Despite that, I am still more predisposed to support the view that Guan Yu wasn't that arrogant.


I think there were several signs of his arrogance.

1) Even though Shu and Wu were still allies, Guan Yu was very rude to the emissionaries of Wu and rudely rejected Sun Quan's marriage proposal between his son and Guan's daughter. Even if Guan Yu did not agree to the marriage, he could at least turn down the offer politely. Later on he also raided Wu's silo at Xiang Guan to steal supplies. Clearly he had no respect for the alliance. It seems like he thought the alliance was nothing and he believed he could face Wei and Wu at the same time (since he thought the alliance wasn't needed), and that's quite arrogant.

2) You may be right about if a leader is nice to soldiers and not so nice to superiors who don't really do much, actually makes a good leader. But back in the time period, a higher ranked officer had every right to order a lower rank officer around. At those times one can actually get executed publicly for showing disrespect for a superior. To openly disrespect superiors suggests that he thinks his superiors are not worth respecting, and it is an act of arrogance, whether or not that actually makes him a better leader for his troops.

3) After he heard that Ma Chao had surrendered, he showed intention of wanting to challenge Ma Chao. As a governor of a province, that is quite immature, and the fact that he cannot stand the belief that someone else in the country might have higher ability than him is a clear sign of arrogance.
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Unread postby Ender » Sun Jan 12, 2003 2:15 am

Guan Yu was arrogant and overated but still a capable general. Like said before Liu Bei wouldn't have used him so much if he wasn't capable. Guan Yu belived that he was the greatest, or at least I belive he did. Cao Cao and Liu Bei liked him and the rest feared him though. Overall I don't belive he was anymore overated than the rest of the men at this time though so he wasn't that bad. But if Zhang Fei could have stopped beating his troops he would have been a much better general.
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Unread postby CK » Sun Jan 12, 2003 3:54 am

DarkAnthem wrote: At those times one can actually get executed publicly for showing disrespect for a superior. To openly disrespect superiors suggests that he thinks his superiors are not worth respecting, and it is an act of arrogance, whether or not that actually makes him a better leader for his troops.

3) After he heard that Ma Chao had surrendered, he showed intention of wanting to challenge Ma Chao. As a governor of a province, that is quite immature, and the fact that he cannot stand the belief that someone else in the country might have higher ability than him is a clear sign of arrogance.


Firstly, who else is superior to Guan Yu in terms of postition held? :roll:

Secondly, how can you assume that Guan Yu cannot stand the belief that someone might have higher ability? The challenge issued to Ma Chao could be due much more to warriors pride and the wish to show his importance. Its not really arrogant. Its not as if he felt he will surely win... :?
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