The development of Yuan Shao

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The development of Yuan Shao

Unread postby Koichi » Sun Feb 29, 2004 4:05 am

The Yuan Shao at Wenming Garden was a world apart from Yuan Shao at Guandu. Yuan Shao started off as a capable military officer with a powerful personality. Under He Jin, he sought to eliminate the Han court from eunuch influence. When the half-men slew He Jin, he assaulted the palace and killed them. At Wenming Garden, Dong Zhuo intimidated the Han officers with force. He already slew Ding Yuan and had Lu Bu by his side. Even then, Yuan Shao stood up and defied Dong Zhuo. He was later elected to lead the Eight Duke Alliance against Dong Zhuo.

How did such a character evolve into the indecisive, intolerable person who lost Guandu and a chance for national supremacy? Did age affect him this badly? Or maybe you guys disagree and his personality was consistent throughout the novel?
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Unread postby White Horse General » Sun Feb 29, 2004 6:16 am

I wouldn't say he changed into an indecisive loser...I'd say he always was an indecisive loser...just a foolishly courageous one.
Sings we a dance of wolves;
Who smell fear and slay a coward.
Sings we a dance of man;
Who smells gold and slays his brother.
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Unread postby didier » Sun Feb 29, 2004 7:56 am

In SGYY Yuan Shao is depicted as a responsible leader, and he often refers to his family's prestige. In the early chapters of the novel he is very assertive and certainly is responsible for a number of important and righteous deeds, including leading the coalition against Dong Zhuo.

The probable reason that the novel depicts him as becoming a weaker character as it progresses is that YS inevitably was defeated in actual history by a smaller force commanded by Cao Cao. LGZ (the author) had to show that from the beginning, CC became stronger and YS weaker, in his version of the story.

Many events between when YS operates in Wenming Garden and his losses at Guandu show this transition. Also there are events that show CC becoming a mighty force.
For example CC is the one who has the plan for assassinating DZ, and undertakes the mission himself. Or later when CC begins to make all his ingenius plans when fighting YS, like attacking the supply depot, or killing his supply captain and exhibiting his head to maintain morale.
YS however is seen to become more foolish as he underestimates the skill of Guan Yu when he kills Hua Xiong. Or later when GY kills Yan Liang and Wen Chou. Also YS is becoming more a fool as he ignores his multitude of competent strategists.

Many factors like this, which may be fictional, lead us to see that in the novel YS becomes weaker, and CC becomes the greatest force in the land.

In actual history CC did defeat the much stronger YS, but for the sake of making the novel intriguing and entertaining, LGZ had to show how CC gained the ability to beat the odds and defeat his foe as he became stronger and the mighty YS became weaker.

The novel follows similar methods of intrigue, like when the superior forces of CC or Liu Bei are destroyed by much smaller ones. 8-)
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Unread postby Exar Kun » Sun Feb 29, 2004 10:00 pm

I think that he was always simple minded and weak.
But the reason he was so courageous at first was because he had nothing of great worth then to lose so he is willing to be daring in order to make his gains.
But then when he has everything I think that he was afraid of losing it and all that he had gained and thus becoming unworthy of his predecessors Yuan Wei and others.That's why he was so indecisive I believe,he felt he needed to preserve everything he had as viciously as possible rather than make daring moves.
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Unread postby Separation Anxiety » Sun Feb 29, 2004 10:45 pm

Well during the time of Dong Zhuo's tyranny Yuan Shao was a bit younger, and had other people backing him like Sun Jian and Cao Cao. At Guan Du he was alone. He would not listen to his advisers, unless it was slander. He was older also, so that could ahve been part of it. He had also just lost his two of his three top generals.
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Unread postby Kong Wen » Mon Mar 01, 2004 5:44 pm

Well, I think part of it was a lack of confidence in others. When he was working on his own, he was more than capable of making decisions for himself. As he grew in power and started collecting advisors, he couldn't bring himself to listen to and accept the advice of any one of them. The more advisors he had, the more of them he had to ask for advice. This is what led to his indecisiveness and his multiple-advisor fiascos.
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Unread postby Lu Wei » Tue Mar 02, 2004 1:16 am

In the novel, LGZ always stresses the huge victories achieved by small forces over huge ones. Look at Hu Lao Pass (here it had more to do with the huge might of Hua Xiong and Lu Bu rather than numerical superiority), Li Jue vs. Lu Bu, Yuan Shu (his might and prosperity in Huai is strssed numerous times before he gets defeated), Guan Du, Bo Wang Slope, the most overwhelming example, Chi Bi, the second big one, Yiling, He Fei, and finally there are numerous examples of where the smaller force achieved stunning success with an eventual loss. Look at Ma Chao at Tong, Zhang Lu at Yang Ping, Liu Bei at Changban and Xu.
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Unread postby twiztidscholar45 » Sun Apr 04, 2004 1:35 am

i think yuan shao was way overrated in the novel, i think he only listened to his own ideas which is why he was defeated
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