Guan Yus arrogance

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Re: Guan Yus arrogance

Unread postby James » Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:02 am

mrwongshappymushu wrote:That's agreed but what I dont get is if Zhuge Liang was so smart why didnt he forsee such a horrible event. Also this leads me to criticize the completely unrealistic Longzhong Plan, which features Jing-zhou as a main base to attack Cao-Wei with a two-prong attack but the seize of Jing on Sun Quan's behalf was obvious because the Sun's have alway nourished the thought of adding Jing to their District collection. And I doubt that Sun Quan could sit in Wu contentedly while Shu held the strategically advantantageous Jing province

I think it is important to differentiate between 'being smart enough to foresee events' and being a fortune teller. I think we can all agree that, short of internal strife or a heaven-sent opportunity, the only way that Wei was going to fall was going to be through coordinated efforts between Shu and Wu. Keeping in mind that Wu's intention of betrayal was never mentioned as public or common knowledge (one of this historic hindsight things), would it really have been appropriate for Zhuge Liang or Liu Bei to base the Wu relationship on anticipated betrayal? It seems to me like Zhuge Liang calculated that Wu wouldn't do something as stupid and shortsighted as tossing the two kingdoms to the wolves of Wei over a land dispute.

Certain decisions, such as leaving Guan Yu in charge, were likely based in part around guarding against such possibilities, but what could really be done about something like this? To fully protect against a Wu military betrayal Zhuge Liang would have been hard pressed to focus on the greatest threat of all, Wei.
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Re: Guan Yus arrogance

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:48 am

It has become extremely common for people to rail on Guan Yu for his 'arrogance', and I have definitely seen some well-crafted arguments supporting it in areas (such as from our own Dong Zhou)


you should quote them for their awesomeness and because I forget what I put :wink:

Tofu said something I agree with more or less Yup-if he wasn't arrogant, he would have been like Zhao Yun. But a guy's gotta have flaws-it's abnormal if you don't. abnormal perhaps harsh but how many near perfect were around during that time? A few but only a few and none were successful warlords, the only saint warlord Liu Yu was easily destroyed by the tyrant but this is a bloody civil war were the old moral codes had collapsed which was a headache for those (few) like Xun Yu who tried to live by some code. People talk of Cao Cao's lack of virtue meaning people wouldn't join him, your evidence is? There were times when Cao Cao's execution of Bian Rang and Kong Rong (even though that last one was justified) which on his list of crimes is pretty low down the list did leave a black mark to his name for some time but mostly, people seem to have flocked to him because he implemented strong laws or becuase he could feed them. The likes of Tian Chou, Xun Yu, Zhao Yun, Zhang Zhao were probably well aware that warlords do not be successful by being nice but that they were complex. Cao Cao was romantic but a cheapskate, Cao Cao could be kind but beat a servant girl to death, Cao Cao wrote a poem regretting the suffering he put his troops through yet buried alive Yuan Shao's troops as he couldn't feed them, Cao Cao showed mercy and trust to people like Zang Ba yet executed Cui Yan due to slander, they were pragmatic for the most part. You can tweak that and say the same for Sun Quan and Liu Bei, it makes them fascinating characters and one of the reasons I like history (or the golden one in Dragonlance) are people like that. Incidentally the Liu Bei vengeance thing is only from the novel before anyone quotes that me for the pragmatic part

As successful warlords had to be capable of great good and great evil, ruthless and cunning so warriors like Gan Ning, Guan Yu, Lu Bu and so on had to be confident. These men put their bodies on the line, leading from the front and hoping the peasants, otherwise known as soldiers, would follow as else they would die if they didn't. One had to be confident, as did warlords, for such a job, they had to trust their own abilities so it was no place for the weak of heart and it hardly surprising that we see some psychopaths take that role. Nor is it surprising that such men, required to be something of an egotist by job, could become arrogant so hardly surprising Guan Yu was arrogant.

On the other hand I would say Guan Yu's arrogance is often overplayed as a reason for his defeat. Sure his high handed diplomacy didn't help relations (though Wu was hardly innocent there either) and he must take blame for failing to deal with Mi Fang/Fu Shi Ren properly but as far as Guan Yu knew, Lu Meng was ill. Lu Meng was hardly the healthiest man alive so it may well have actually been true (and led to Lu Meng's death) and Lu Xun was acting like he would be another Lu Su, a man who would put diplomacy at the forefront of his dealings with Shu. Guan Yu if anything was probably expecting Wu to hit Wei at He Fei since Guan Yu was providing a rather large distraction to Wei at Fan. He lost at Fan because he was overstretched and outclassed by Xu Huang, he lost Jing to one of the most brilliant campaigns of the era because Lu Meng felt Wu needed to expand and Jing was the easiest to take then hold. Sure we can blame Guan Yu for aspects of the defeat but I don't think he lost due to arrogance
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Re: Guan Yus arrogance

Unread postby Elitemsh » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:10 am

I disagree somewhat. I do not think Guan Yu lost Jing solely due to arrogance but I believe it played a very major part. Just think about the reason for his invasion. Guan Yu did not have enough military power to start an invasion in the first place. He started a battle he could never have won. The only reason the campaign lasted as long as it did was thanks to the flooding. The evidence would suggest that Guan did not predict the flooding. Therefore if the flooding did not happen then Guan Yu would have certainly been driven back by Yu Jin’s large army. Even when the flooding happened, Guan Yu was still driven back by Xu Huang’s troops and gained nothing. Let’s not forget that Cao Cao had even more reinforcements ready under Zhang Liao to help in case Xu Huang could not succeed. So clearly Guan Yu was outmatched militarily. I would therefore suggest that the main reason for his invasion was pride. Along with the evidence above and his reaction to Huang Zhong’s appointment, I think this is a very reasonable conclusion. Rafe de Crespigny suggests a similar thing. He suggests that Guan Yu wanted to achieve something so he could be given extra distinction over his colleagues.

I would say that the reason he fell for Lu Xun’s letter was because of arrogance. Lu Xun was using a strategy from the art of war: ‘use humility to make them haughty’. Guan Yu I was said to be well read and he certainly didn’t trust Wu so I would say that him falling for this ruse was thanks to arrogance and not naivety. Lu Xun was using Guan Yu’s pride against him. This seems obvious. Guan Yu’s pride was therefore partly responsible for his downfall.

I reiterate that if Guan Yu did not display significant arrogance then he would not have started the invasion in the first place. He was desperate to achieve success so he could be given a higher rank and be known as the best in his kingdom. His reaction to Ma Chao and later Huang Zhong would back me on this.

If Guan wasn’t arrogant then he would have maintained his strong guard and Wu would not have attacked. He possessed enough military power to defend the half of Jing he had. Wu only attacked when they saw a golden opportunity and even then they delayed it until he withdrew his guard.

Basically I think that it is clear that if he wasn’t arrogant then he wouldn’t have lost the half of Jing he had since AD 215. I do not blame him for losing half of Jing in AD 215. This wasn’t due to arrogance but simply he was either outmatched militarily or outsmarted by Wu.
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Re: Guan Yus arrogance

Unread postby Zappa » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:19 am

I think it is important to differentiate between 'being smart enough to foresee events' and being a fortune teller. I think we can all agree that, short of internal strife or a heaven-sent opportunity, the only way that Wei was going to fall was going to be through coordinated efforts between Shu and Wu. Keeping in mind that Wu's intention of betrayal was never mentioned as public or common knowledge (one of this historic hindsight things), would it really have been appropriate for Zhuge Liang or Liu Bei to base the Wu relationship on anticipated betrayal?


I dont know I wouldnt say that Wus betrayal came all out of the sudden.The argue betweenWu and Shu about Jing was there right after Liu tooked Yi they asked them to give it back all the time.You have to be no fortune teller that such a situation can easily lead to a war or at least esscalate especially after Guan Yus insult on Quans son.Zhuge missed his oppurtunity to cool Guan Yu down or atleast to make some diplomacy with Wu.Seeing how the situation is growing worser day by day and seein Quan as a hungry tiger who is only waiting to get Jing, how can you possibly let it undefended and then say:We thought Wu is our allied.
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Re: Guan Yus arrogance

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:24 am

To be fair, it seems like he was never going to have the power to attack Wei but there was an opportunity of sorts. He had recently defeated bandits, or something with bandits and his reputation was high, he had a letter from rebels inside Wei and it was half an opportunity, he hits Fan and hopes that revolt ties up Wei troops while he ties up others. Maybe he can get gains, maybe Liu Bei or Quan can exploit his distracting presence to invade Wei. The rebels were put down too quickly and a support attack never happened but if he had been forced to withdraw to Jing that hadn't been taken by Wu, he would have been noted for the flood, got plenty of captured soldiers, a valuable bargaining chip and caused panic in Wei. Was there an element of wishing to prove himself? Probably but I would say that with most proposed campaigns

I'm not sure his being tricked by Lu Xun is a sign of arrogance. Guan Yu had worked with 2 Wu commanders, Lu Su who had always maintained a diplomatic relationship even when invading Jing, Lu Meng had been far more openly aggressive. Lu Xun may have flattered but he was an unknown, would need time to establish himself and was showing a willingness to follow the Lu Su policy. Besides Guan Yu was providing Wu with an opportunity to hurt Wei so why would they begin a war with an ally?

Basically I think that it is clear that if he wasn’t arrogant then he wouldn’t have lost the half of Jing he had since AD 215. I do not blame him for losing half of Jing in AD 215. This wasn’t due to arrogance but simply he was either outmatched militarily or outsmarted by Wu.


first sentence and second sentence seem contradictory?

I dont know I wouldnt say that Wus betrayal came all out of the sudden.The argue betweenWu and Shu about Jing was there right after Liu tooked Yi they asked them to give it back all the time.


they stopped after the 215 settlement so Shu had no reason to expect the situation would explode after three years quiet on that front
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Re: Guan Yus arrogance

Unread postby Zappa » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:40 am

To be fair, it seems like he was never going to have the power to attack Wei but there was an opportunity of sorts.


Image

I just would like to have this as an overview the plan was to attack Xu Chang from Jing and Chang an and later Luo Yang from Han Zhong right?

I wouldnt say Guan Yu or even the plan was chanceless the only probleme here was Wus betrayal without it Yu would have won and if Zhuge would have lead a second devision to take Chang An at the same time and if Wu would have attacked too I would say this would have been a very worse situation for Wei.But instead Wu attacked Shu what makes me ask is this all Kongmings fault? He missed the opportunity.
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Re: Guan Yus arrogance

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:47 am

Zhuge Liang was Liu Bei's civil advisor, not his military one and we don't know why Liu Bei didn't march out to try to exploit the opportunity. Nor could he have been aware of everything going on down south
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Re: Guan Yus arrogance

Unread postby Zappa » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:51 am

So it was afterall impossible to see the Wu thing coming?
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Re: Guan Yus arrogance

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:53 am

Impossible? Not quite that far but without knowing of the secret deal, without knowing that Lu Meng was still CiC in reality, it would have been pretty hard to suddenly realise Wu were going to backstab.
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Re: Guan Yus arrogance

Unread postby Zappa » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:57 am

It is really a sword with two sides here.On the one hand seeing how the rlationship between Wu and Shu became worser could have been a clue for Shu on the other hand mistrusting your allied in such a time wasnt a good idea either.
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