A banished son studies medicine. When his father falls ill, the son is summoned because he says he has a medicine which will cure him, despite the fact that all other doctors before have failed. The father drinks part of the medicine and says he has been poisoned. The son drinks the rest, but the father dies. The son is accused of parricide. Lets take the case step by step. Firstly, the son was banished from home. Why? We can’t be sure. However, it was suspected that, due to mental insecurity, he killed his mother.
Although the case was never proven, his father always believed it to be true. The likely case of the father’s illness was depression resulting from the death of his wife and the loss of his only son. And how did the son react? Well all his dreams of getting into the best medical school were shattered. Instead he had to settle for a poor quality school for second rate doctors, and was left to explore the medical world on his own, learning from no basis more reliable than his own meandering experiences.
And so, his life fell from high to low. For each failure he made he blamed his father. This son was afraid of the future. Very afraid. Let us take words form Master Yoda: “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. ” Amidst these emotions a plan formed in his feverish brow. This son was out for revenge. And he was determined to get it. After his father became ill he claimed to have a cure. Well, firstly, how could he be so sure that he had a cure?
None of the other doctors had found the right medicine, so what were the chances that this young, inexperienced doctor had got the answer to this impossible conundrum? And even if he had found the cure, any good physician would first test it on animals, or at least ask the advice of some other doctors. This episode shows a severe lack of initiative! But he was summoned anyway. However, how can we assume that the father was in the correct state of mind at the time? Was he really in a position to make such a decision as this?
Perhaps, instead, the son forced him to take the medicine, another crime in itself. But even if this is not the case, the father trusted the son’s judgement and experience. Surely this was not a chance of making amends? Perhaps the father thought that this was a last chance to make peace with his “black sheep” before he left the world forever. This young man was very confident in himself about curing his father. To quote, his exact words were “I know I can cure you,” not “I think I can cure you” or “I hope I can cure you.
In any case, with as serious a disease as this, no doctor can be certain of a cure. In this way he brought up false hope in his father. Hope that he could regain his health, hope that he could bring his troubled family together, and consequently hope that by doing this, he could overcome the grief initiated in him after he lost his wife. When poisoned, all these hopes were lost, and a new fear stirred in him. Even if the son did not poison his father with the medicine, he still killed him by giving him false assurances of the future.
This is an equally great crime. A crime against his father, against medicine, and against himself. Then the son drinks the remaining medicine, and survives. And why? Possibly because there was only enough poison to kill someone who was already weak. Or, failing that, he could have taken some kind of antidote before taking the poison, and thus not be harmed. So why drink the medicine anyway? He didn’t care about proving if it was poison or not to his father, but it would certainly help him when he stood up in front of the jury pleading his case.
A clever plan, but not clever enough! Which leads us on to parricide – the act of killing either of one’s parents. Well, in this case the son killed both, as the result of cruel and unorthodox plotting, and the use of a clever frame to attempt to prove himself innocent. We have concluded that the son was the killer. But why would he do such a thing? Well, look at what he stood to inherit. The money, the home, the land, which was most important? Obviously in his blind search for these he forgot what he would have gained if he had only tried to help his father.
All these things and, what is more, the unconditional love of his forgiving father. The “prodigal son” could return home and all would be well again. But no. Revenge had to be obtained, but revenge is only sweet for a day. After that there is a lifetime to follow filled with emptiness, regret, and depression. Little does this son know that he is already receiving the punishment for his crime with these emotions. If he is not sentenced and continues to live his life in deceit, he will gain much in the world of medicine, but it will never make up for what he has already lost.