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Cao Shuang is an antagonist in the 14th-century Chinese classic novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong, and its multiple adaptations. He is the son of Cao Zhen.


Under the recommendation of Sun Zi and Liu Fang, Cao Shuang, Cao Rui, and Sima Yi became the regent king of Cao Fang. He was mentioned to be diligent, which is why he likes Cao Rui very much and has freedom in the palace. He treated Sima Yi with great respect and did not inform him.

However, once his colleague He Yan mentioned how Sima Yi treated his father Cao Zhen in the northern campaign and eventually led to his death, Cao Shuang began to change suddenly. He promoted Sima Yi to a civilian level, seized military power from him, and appointed his close relatives and colleagues to the highest positions in the court. In addition, he and his friends began to live a luxurious life, spending time drinking, listening to music and hunting. His brother Cao Xi warned him of the danger of this lifestyle, but Cao Shuang ignored him and said that he had nothing to worry about.

Finally, when he was told that Sima Yi's coup was in the capital, he and his brother and Cao Fang paid tribute in the tomb of Cao Rui. Although Sima Yi's colleagues Chen Tai and Xu Yun managed to persuade him to surrender, he hesitated and did not listen to his companions. Cao Shuang and his brothers were initially treated well. Although they were under house arrest and believed that their lives were safe, they were executed by Sima Yi shortly afterwards.


  • According to Dynasty Warriors Next, Cao Shuang held many lavish banquets in a misguided attempt to repair Wei's declining image. His indulgent lifestyle nearly exhausts the kingdom's treasury, causing the Sima clan to turn against him in their bid for power. He dies cursing Sima Yi as the latter censures him for shaming his forebears.


           Three Kingdoms.pngVillains

Wei Empire
Cao Cao | Zhang Liao | Xu Chu | Xu Huang | Cao Ren | Zhang He | Xun You | Dian Wei | Lady Zhen | Jia Xu | Wang Yi | Cheng Yu | Sima Wang | Sima Lang | Niu Jin | Cao Fang | Cao Mao | Cao Shuang | Cao Chun | Zhu Ling | Yang Xiu | Tian Yu | Jia Kui | Gao Rou | Dian Man | Xu Yi | Han Zhao | Yang Qiu | Sima Fu | Chen Tai | Liu Yan | Qiao Hong | Zang Ba | Wen Ping

Wu Empire
Sun Chen | Sun Hao

Shu Empire
Mi Fang | Fu Shiren | Huang Hao

Jin Empire
Sima Yi | Zhang Chunhua | Jia Chong | Jiao Yi | Guanqiu Jian | Sima Fang | Sima Yan | Sima You | Cao Huan | Li Fu

Other Villains
Chen Gong | Diao Chan | Dong Zhuo | Lady Zhurong | Lu Bu | Meng Huo | Zhang Jiao | Zhang Bao | Zhang Liang | Yuan Shao | Yuan Shu | Dong Bai | Ding Yuan | Yan Liang | Wen Chou | Chen Deng | Cai Mao | Li Ru | Li Jue | Guo Si | Yuan Tan | Yuan Shang | Yuan Xi | Xu You | Feng Ji | Zhang Xiu | Han Xuan | Ma Yuanyi | Shen Pei | Ju Shou | Gao Shun | Gao Gan | Pei Yuanshao | Zhang Ren | Lu Gong | Huang Zu | Xu Gong | Liu Yao | Liu Zhang | Gongsun Yuan | Meng You | Yu Ji

Evil Organizations
Dong Zhuo's Army | Lu Bu's Army | Nanman Tribe | Yellow Turbans | Yuan Shao's Army | Yuan Shu's Army