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Date Analytical Essay An Analysis of Selected Writings of Master Han Fei Purpose of the Author One of the great precursors of later political strategists such as Machiavelli, Han Fei’s political philosophies were both radical and utterly non-conformist to the earlier legal philosophies propounded in accordance with Confucian tenets…
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Download file to see previous pages The prosperity of a country, according to Han Fei, can be safeguarded only when the lawmakers and the law-keepers are strong and efficient. A king is not defined by his personal failings but by his ability to ensure the maintenance and applications of public laws. Along with a strong upper hand in dealing with public laws, he must also be ruthless in suppressing internal conspiracies and disputes, for a kingdom that is weak from within will always be an easy and constant target of the enemy clans. Intended Audience Having reviewed Han Fei’s political musings, drawn from Han Feizi, I think it is important to ascertain the intended audience at whom this particular tract was aimed. I believe, given the author’s own politically charged background as well as exalted lineage, it can be safely said that much of his political strategies were drawn from personal experience and was intended to address the ruling class in particular. Reflections of the Author on Politics and Penalties With great humanist emphasis on equality, he puts forward his thoughts on royal duties and legalities of the time. Han Fei, himself of royal descent, plainly spurns the unequal treatment often carried out by law keepers. He insists that there should be no unjust preferences given to the nobility. The common and the noble subject should all be treated as equal in the eyes of law. No one should try to gain favors by bribery or flattery. The guilty must be punished, and no offender should be allowed lenience, notwithstanding the exalted rank of the criminal or the humbleness of the victim. Lewdness and sexual excess must be suppressed as should internal discord and discontent. And according to Han Fei, the only way this can be achieved is by inculcating a deep fear of retribution within his subjects. The superiority of a ruler can be ascertained by the way he handles and controls his ministers and advisors. They may be negotiated only through two operative actions of the king: deserved adulation and acclaim upon great achievement or service; and severe punishment, torture and death upon defection or conspiracy. In conclusion, I believe, Han Fei’s legal philosophies seeks the better conditions of the masses even while advocating the most ruthless measures in ensuring the precedence of the sovereign ruler. Analysis of ‘Be a Scribe’ Purpose of the Author Han Fei was a follower of the Great Historian Laozi, who countered the Confucian practice of the art of persuasive speech by placing vital emphasis on the art of writing instead. The post-Confucian legacy of Laozi’s creative and artistic philosophy reaches its fruitful zenith in the hands of Han Fei. It is told that Han Fei himself suffered from a speech impediment - an embarrassing stammer - that did not bode well for a career of oral mastery. Therefore, he was inclined, both by nature and by habit, to improve upon his calligraphy and immense gift of the written word and in his text, he intends his audience to do the same. In his instructive work, Be a Scribe, he begins with a direct address to the reader. He exhorts us to pursue the noble art of scripting, to eschew dancing and replace the sports and hunting with the finer activity of writing. The master then goes on to unfavorably compare the pursuit of “the scroll and the palette” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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