Cao Cao (操操, pronounced "Tsao Tsao") was a Chinese warlord during the 1st century AD. He tried but failed at reuniting China during the civil war that was documented by several people and later written about by Luo Guanzhong. Though he failed at reuniting the country but he did conquer a huge area that became the kingdom of Wei.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
In the Romance of the Three Kingdoms Cao Cao is shown at times to be extremely cruel but at other times very merciful and forgiving. He is meant to be viewed as the moral opposite of another warlord Liu Bei who until his death was always merciful. Cao Cao is also shown to be very intelligent and also had great skill in resource management, battle strategy, and politics.
"I'd rather betray the world than let the world betray me."
- Yelled at Chen Gong (成功) after killing his own uncle under false pretense.
"What is at a peak is certain to decline. He who shows his hand will surely be defeated. He who can prevail in battle by taking advantage of his enemy's doubts is invincible."