Cao Cao (wonderful lord or dreadful monster)? [historical]

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Unread postby Stedfel » Mon Jul 19, 2004 4:45 am

Cao Cao was a man of his time, it's just that time happened to be a period of strife and civil war. He did what he had to do to survive that era. Maybe if the time had been peaceful, we may have seen a much nicer, more human Cao Cao, but instead we saw someone willing to wade through a river of blood to fulfill his dreams. So in effect, I'm going to have to say that Cao Cao was neither a wonderful ruler or a dreadful monster, but a man with ambition and a goal.
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Unread postby Li Ruiyue » Mon Jul 19, 2004 9:29 am

I think it's hard not to think of Cao Cao as a terrible monster for the way Luo Guanzhong portrays him in the novel. He makes out that Cao Cao is the evil entity in the novel, while Liu Bei is pure good, hoping to restore the Han like any hero. I'm not saying this is not true, but because of how Luo Guanzhong (may have) exaggarated the two it is hard to think of Cao Cao as a good ruler.

Putting that aside, Cao Cao was a powerful ruler, controlling the vast majority of China and having millions of troops by his side. However, Cao Cao didn't gain everything fairly, like manipulating the emperor, etc.
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Unread postby cao cao#1 » Mon Jul 19, 2004 10:07 am

i think cao cao was a good ruler a hars ruler but a good one he made strict laws and harsh punishments to go with them but strict rules are requiered in a time where rebellion and war is at apeak.
the novel does make cao cao look like an evil guy who is trying to stop the good guy (liu bei ) but this isnt true .
liu bei wasnt that kind either he betrayed numerous people lu bu,cao cao, his own family liu zhang (i think) .

i like cao cao thats why my name is cao cao #1 (holds up big giant foam finger)
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Unread postby Famed Hero » Mon Jul 19, 2004 8:19 pm

I think if anything, Cao Cao was a true Machiavellian or at least the best and closest example of one during the RTK period.

I'll add more later, busy at work :wink:
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Unread postby starting-line » Mon Jul 19, 2004 9:18 pm

cao cao is a good leader, because his not weak like lu bei and he knows when to use his man and he treat his people like his general really good.
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Unread postby X-Zhou Yu » Tue Oct 19, 2004 9:52 am

In my opinion Cao Cao was the greatest Warlord/Leader of The age and definatly alot more Interesting than Lui Bei, however there is alot of biased content in ROTK about Cao Cao which leads any nuetral reader to pity Shu, however when you look at the events carefully you can see how and why Cao Cao acted in such a manner as he did.

Firstly, I want to draw attention to Cao Cao's reaction to his fathers murder. This has been brought up afew times but people fail to realise that Lui Bei did the EXACT same when Guan Yu was captured and killed (which for the record was his own fault), But regarding the simalarty of the Situations in that both wanted to destroy the ''responsible'' leader (Tao Quin and Sun Quan) Even though they offered more than enough as apology after All Lui Bei would have regained Jing. Yet still Lui Bei and Cao where Hell bent on the destruction of there enemy and people claim that Lui is more virtuious than Cao.

Secondly, In My Opinion Cao Cao had no intent to usurp the imperial mantle until after the news of Lui Bei, Ma Teng et al... because lets face it if you find out that Lui Bei (Whom he regarded as a Friend) and The Emperior (Whom he had recently saved from Li Jue and Guo Si) then naturally your opinion is going to be soured against the Lui's however it can also be argued that Lui Bei (Like Cao Cao) was ambitious and that he left Cao Cao because of his own lust for power, however this may also bring up that a debate that china would have been united and settled alot earlier if Lui Bei had not Interfered.

The reason I claim that Cao Cao was a loyal Han servant until the said event, I can safely presume this because of his Service in The Yellow Turban/Scarf Rebellion, The fact he tried to assassinate Dong Zhou even though Dong thought highly of him. He then Set up an army to destroy Dong Zhou 'For the good of the state' and even though it was he whom started the up rising he did not claim command (which was given to Yuan Shao), He destroyed Li Jue and Guo Si when he could have just left the Emperor for dead. Even earlier than Dong Zhou was dominatant in the courts, his excellant and enlightened service of He Jin could have brought Stability (sp?) whom he then avenages by killing the evil of the palace eunachs.

So it can there is SOME argument to formulate that Cao may not have had any plan to claim total control of china and that he was acting more as a stern prime minister which though his hard control of affairs aimed to bring unity back to the Hans. It may also be noted that even when Cao Cao had secured his position by taking the lands of Yuan Shao, Lu Bu, Lui Bei, Lui Biao and Ma Teng he still didnt force an abdication from Emperior Xian even though he effectively had the Jade Seal.

Thirdly, if Like some people point out Cao was a rebelious and without virtue he was aided by talented persons such as Guo Jia, Jia Xu, Xu Zhu, The Xiahou's, Pang De, Cheng Yu, Xu You, Xun Yu, Xu Huang. Also he knew how to treat his men whom would fight til the last for him

Fourthly, He is not murderous, If he was he would not have allowed Guan Yu to go back to Lu Bei, he also notably did not attack Gungsun Du (I think its Du O_o), even though he would have gained land, He also always offered surrender when he engaged an enemy force. Furthermore if Several people inside your own base (such as the events like what happened in the fifth year of 'Rebuilt Tranquility) Then what would you do? Sit around and wait to die?, The Same applies to when he HAD to have to emperess killed because she targed him first and why anyone whom shielded Lui Bei was attacked.
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Unread postby PrimeMinister Bu Zhi » Tue Oct 19, 2004 9:37 pm

Cao Cao was right. Liu Bei was wrong.

According to the Mandate of Heaven, it is right for an official to dethrone the emperor and end the dynasty if it is not stable. This is the case with Han, thus Cao Cao has a perfect claim to the throne, Liu Bei on the other hand is wrong because who is he to argue with heaven's will. Cao Cao is the correct ruler because he has all the qualities of a good leader. He has kept Han stable for 20 years himself, and deserves the throne. Same with Sima Yan.
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Unread postby Xiahou Mengde88 » Tue Oct 19, 2004 10:28 pm

Before I say anything, you should know where I stand on the issue just by my name.

But, anyway, another point to Cao Cao is the fact that he's charismatic, and although some would like to believe vice-versa, he actually was probably more charismatic than Liu Bei

One example is when Cao Cao issued a tirade (harangue; loud speech) that spurred 10,000 troops to defect to his army. And after 100 days, he had caused the surrender of 1.3 million troops. I've never seen any other leige do that.

Another example came later in the same chapter, when Cao Cao hired Xun Yu, Xun You, Cheng Yu, Guo Jia, Liu Ye, Man Chong, Lu Qian, Mao Jie, Yu Jin, and Dian Wei all in a matter of hours!!

If you want proof that these things actually happened, then go to You can find these starting on Paragraph 52 and Paragraph 55.

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Unread postby PrimeMinister Bu Zhi » Tue Oct 19, 2004 10:54 pm

They were not 1.3 million soldeirs. It was a population total of 1.3. million(civilians counted) which were previously under YT control.

Also, Ling Tong managed to get 10,000 Shanyue to join his army.
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Unread postby dengai » Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:16 pm

Cao Cao was undeniably, the greatest warlord in the Latter Han and the early Three Kingdoms Era.

First of all, he did not let his sense of morality to fetter him from doing what has to be done like when he killed Dong Cheng and other rebels. However, one mistake that he made was to not kill Guan Yu when he submitted. This is a trait a sucessful warlord must have.

Second, he was very crafty, he did not have to rely on his advisers everytime he did something, he had the ability to plan and foretell. Liu Bei and Sun Quan definately lacked this ability.

Third, he had a decent bit of honour. Out of the big three "rulers" he was the only one who did not declair to be an emporer. Some say Liu Bei only declaired to be an emperor because Cao Pi rebeled, but that is very spurious, Cao Pi's disloyalty only expedited Liu Bei's action. Sooner or later, Liang would have convinced Bei to become emporer.

Cao Cao also never betrayed anyone, except for Dong Zhou, however, Liu Bei betrayed almost half a dozen lords for like Yuan Shao, Cao Cao, Lu Bu etc.

I have to admit he did made some mistakes, like the loss at Chi Bi, but that does change my opinion on him since even the greatest people are not perfect.
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