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Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Vol. 1 of 2 (chapter 1-60)
Archives > Q1 (Chap 1 - 32) - Question 6

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message 1: by John (new)

John Seymour What passages strike you as insightful, even profound? Perhaps a bit of dialog that's funny or poignant or that encapsulates a character?

Diane  | 2041 comments I found this quote insightful:

“The world under heaven, after a long period of division, tends to unite; after a long period of union, tends to divide. This has been so since antiquity. ”

So true.

message 3: by John (new)

John Seymour "Here begins our tale. The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been." I've seen this famous start to Three Kingdoms translated in different ways, but I like this best. It also gave me confidence in the translator.

"Better to wrong the world than have it wrong me." I think this tells us what we need to know about Cao Cao's character.

I also enjoyed quite a few of the insults, some of which were quite creative, including:
Zhang Fei to Lü Bu: "Bastard with three fathers!"
Gongsun Zan to Yuan Shao: "There was a time when I regarded you as loyal and just, and supported you as leader of the confederation. Today I see that you think like a wolf and act like a dog."

"[Lü Bu] has no humanity, no honor. Why not leave him to his fate?" suggested Xian. "That's not a hero's part," replied Wei Xu. "Let's deliver him to Cao Cao instead." - This takes place during the siege by Cao Cao of Xiapi and ends with Lü Bu's death. It represents a very different understanding of a hero's role.

"No glory for this sheep in tiger's hide." From the poem summarizing Yuan Shao.

message 4: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Robitaille | 931 comments I found the end of Chapter 18 and the beginning of Chapter 19 to a bit stomach churning: first, Xiahou Dun pulling out an arrow with his eye at the end of it and then swallowing his eye because he couldn't bear throwing it away; then, Liu Bei finding out that he had part of Liu An's wife for dinner the night before and "being deeply affected at this proof of his host's regard for him"...

message 5: by John (new)

John Seymour Yes, those struck me as well. He couldn't throw away the eye because it was apart of his body. I have to admit I couldn't follow the logic.

I was expecting a different response when Liu Bei found Liu An's wife's remains. In part I suspect this reflects ancient views of the status and worth of women, but in part it reflects a culture gulf that is really hard for me to bridge. I cannot think of a similar story in the Western tradition (Greek, Roman, Germanic, Norse, etc.)

message 6: by Book (new)

Book Wormy | 1984 comments Mod
Like you all I had highlighted the opening statement.

Here are a few new ones
"The view of a mere book-worm"

"An able person born into this world who does not recognize and serve the right lord is ignorant. Today I die, but I am not deserving of pity."

"His wife, Lady Liu, put to death five of his favorite concubines, and such was the bitterness of her jealousy that , not content with this, shw shaved off the hair and slashed the faces of their poor corpses lest their spirits should meet and rejoin her late husband in the land of shades beneath the Nine Golden Springs."

"When he was born a dark purplish haze hung over the house for a whole day. One who understood the meaning of such manifestations had secretly told Cao Cao that the halo belonged to the imperial class and portended honors which could not be put into words."

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