The Romance of Three Kingdoms is one of the most famous and influential Chinese novels in their literature history. The list includes other names like the Journey to the West, The Dream of Red Chamber, and Water Margin. The Romance of Three Kingdoms was a great work of the 14th century that told the Chinese historical period of the 2nd century to 3th century.
Three Kingdoms: A Historic Novel that Had Dramatized Features
A piece of historical work alone would not make it the greatest hit. The author of the novel, Luo Guanzhong, mixed the historical features and the dramatized features together. He finally produced one of the greatest piece of Chinese literature that still value these days.
The Romance of Three Kingdoms had 120 chapters in total with 800,000 words. This piece of literature included thousands of characters and the majority of them were the historical figures.
The story began
The story began with the context of a peasant revolt. It was the Yellow Turban Rebellion. The leaders of this rebellion were the followers of the Taoist. Han Dynasty finally settled down the rebellion but couldn’t escape the civil breakdown. The two last emperors of this dynasty were the puppets. They were under the control of two Chinese warlords, Dong Zhuo and Cao Cao.
Dong Zhuo became powerful and influential within a brief period of time. Until the day his subordinate assassinated him, his reign finally came to an end.
The Tyrant Cao Cao
Cao Cao was one of the most important and main characters in the novel. With his wisdom and talents to persuade people around, Cao Cao served as the Chancellor in the Han dynasty. Later, he was honored as the Emperor Wu of Wei by his son, Cao Pi. Cao Pi was the founder of the state of Wei. The capital of this state was in Luoyang. It took over the political power in the north of China.
The depiction of Cao Cao in the novel was a cruel and evil man. He saw nothing but the benefit for himself. But no one could ever deny the intelligence and wisdom of Cao Cao. He was the brilliant ruler and military genius.
The most famous quote about Cao Cao that could vividly depict his personal traits was:
I would rather betray the world than let the world betray me
The Young Sun Quan
Sun Quan was the name of the other main characters in the Romance of Three Kingdoms. The state of Wu was founded by the brother of Sun Quan, Sun Ce. The state dominated parts of the south and the east of China.
When Sun Ce was assassinated, Sun Quan who was 18 years old at the time became the new ruler of Wu. The young age didn’t matter because Sun Quan quickly proved himself to his people. He was a great warrior with skills and wisdom. The most famous victory of Sun Quan was the battle of Red Cliff in 209 A.D.
Cao Cao was ambitious to take over the land in the south of China, around the Chang Jiang River (Chang Jiang means Long River). Although the army of Cao Cao had superiority comparing with that of others, it was defeated when the alliance between Sun Quan and Liu Bi formed.
The Benevolent Liu Bi
Liu Bi might be the most favorite character in the Romance of Three Kingdoms. He was the ruler of Shu state. The Shu controlled the southwest of China at that time. Liu Bi had the royal blood running in his vein as he was the distant member of the Han royal family. Because of this, Liu Bi was considered to be the most suitable for the throne. And he was also the most deserving for all the characteristic traits he had.
Unlike Cao Cao who was cruel, Liu Bi was a benevolent ruler to his people. Liu Bi was also a fair, loyal, and principled man unlike Sun Quan who often chose to side with state that he could benefit the most.
The great charisma of Liu Bi earned him sworn brothers and also sworn enemies. The sworn brothers of Liu Bi were Guan Yu and Zhang Fei. He also had a wise and excellent strategist whose name was Zhu Ge Liang.
The End of Three Kingdoms
The day of the dragons finally came to an end. After all, the great novel had to depict what really happened in the history course. None of the warlords could gain the power over the Great China. They all lost to the hand of the Sima family. Later, the Sima family united China under the name of Jin Dynasty.
The Romance of the Three Kingdoms has been gaining the popularity in this day and age. Because not only did it depict the historical context of the beginning China but it also told the stories of the great people – the great leaders. Especially, the brotherhood between Liu Bi, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei made them the most famous characters in the story.
The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been