|“||I am Cao Ren. I consider my enemy to be none other than chaos itself. I shall do whatever it takes to protect this land and its inhabitants.||„|
|~ Dynasty Warriors 5.|
Cao Ren is a major protagonist in the Dynasty Warriors series. He is the cousin of the leader of Wei, Cao Cao, and one of his very first followers along with fellow cousins Xiahou Dun and Xiahou Yuan. A pillar of Wei, Ren served Cao Cao, and later his son Cao Pi, faithfully for the entirety of his life and military career. He is one of the few Wei characters who is fully benevolent and compassionate, seeing war as a necessary evil but not enjoying it nor what it brings. His greatest desire is to bring peace to the land, and to the end the people's suffering which the chaos of the war causes.
The Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel portrays him in a much more antagonistic light.
Cao Ren, style name Zixiao, was born in 168 AD a member of the Cao family. He is the youngest second cousin of Cao Cao, and cousin to both Xiahou Dun and Yuan. Along with the others, he was one of Cao Cao's very first followers and prominent members of the then fledgling Wei faction. Cao Ren was with his cousin since before the Coalition Against Dong Zhuo, and quickly rose to the rank of General.
A mighty fighter who specialized in defense, he took part in the vast majority of Cao Cao's earliest campaigns, and after the State of Wei was established, continued to faithfully serve. One of his greatest battles was the notorious Battle of Fan Castle. Heavily besieged by Guan Yu and the Shu forces, Cao Ren lead the defense and remained stalwart and kept the keep unbreachable despite the major damage and casualties. Even when the castle flooded and defeat seemed inevitable and imminent, Ren refused to let his spirit break.
His men saw this as a great inspiration, and even with the Wei forces on the brink of defeat, managed to fight off Guan Yu's army long enough for reinforcements to arrive. Cao Ren then personally lead the counterattack, and the conflict ultimately resulted in the death of Guan Yu.
After Cao Cao's death, Ren remained one of the top figures of Wei, continuing his service now to Cao Mengde's son, Cao Pi. He died in 223 at the age of 55.
Of all the characters within the Kingdom of Wei, Cao Ren is the most kind and compassionate, giving him a stark contrast to the other members of his family. Cao Ren detests violence and chaos, and sees war as an unfortunate necessary evil that can help bring peace to the land. His greatest dream is to see the realm at harmony, and while he fights for that vision and is fully loyal to his lords, he dislikes the conflict deeply and mourns that the land and its people suffer from it. He is one of the most loyal and famous members of Wei, and his bravery, benevolence and conviction make him a shining pillar of light within the usually morally ambigious/hostile kingdom he serves.