Title: The pitiless Judge Bao, Qi yuan bao zongjiang (ID: 181)
Text_Interest: The hero of this play is Judge Bao, symbol of the fearless carrying of justice, especially when confronted with powerful felons. In this short scene however, Judge Bao is shown ready to use his frightening zha-guillotine to sever the waist of a young woman, just for having disrupted his way! This readiness of Judge Bao to inflict swiftly and wantonly the harshest punishment shows how he is seen as an extreme figure, incarnating both justice and terror.
The theme of the maiden being carried towards the zha-guillotine seems to exist in other Judge Bao’s play. It is represented in two pictures of the base (“flaying of a woman”).
Comment: This brutal scene finds some justification in the inner logic of the drama : it is only because Liu Zihua, the ghost of the murdered man in the story, stops the executioner blade, that Judge Bao will get interested in the plea of the girl and begin his investigations, eventually having her falsely accused father released, and arresting the real culprit. In this way, the girl can be described as subjected to a kind of “ordalie”. But it should be noted that, for the first appearance of the well-known magistrate in this play, he comes as a very dark and brutal figure : justice as incarnated by this popular incorruptible magistrate (qingguan) is by no way a benevolent one.
Derniére modification le : 2005-11-15