Fox And Lion

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The Fox and Lion; Speculations about Machiavelli’s View on Jack and Ralph from William Golding’s Lord of the Flies
Niccolo Machiavelli was an Italian Renaissance writer and philosopher who lived from 1469-1527. As an official, Machiavelli had many opportunities to witness the inner workings of the unique political minds in the Republic of Florence (modern day Tuscany). His most famous works are Discourses on Livy and The Prince .Machiavelli believed a ruler should not be virtuous, but should value his reputation and appear virtuous. Machiavelli’s ideal prince would blatantly disregard morals and ethics, instead choosing to be clever and calculating. Machiavelli argued men will abandon a ruler if it proves advantageous for them to do so, but
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Ralph’s approach to governing is calculating and strategic; “Ralph would treat the day’s decisions as though he were playing chess.” (117). After Jack and his hunters neglected the fire resulting in the extinguishing of the fire, Ralph resolved to fix all further problems and decisions with the strategic mindset of a chess player. His manner of governance coincides with Machiavelli’s vision of a shrewd and clever prince. Machiavelli provides an allegory in The Prince; he compares rulers to foxes and lions. An ideal ruler, to Machiavelli, must not only have the power and authority of a lion, but must also be cunning, like a fox, “ A prince being thus obliged to know well how to act as a beast must imitate the fox and the lion, for the lion cannot protect himself from snares, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognise snares, and a lion to frighten wolves”. A clever fox would be able to recognize and avoid snares, or pitfalls that come with ruling, and an authoritative lion would show dominance to the wolves, or political rivals.Ralph opted to solve his problems typical of a chess player, strategic and tactical and expressing his inner “fox”. He knows after Jack’s actions resulting in the fire going out, he must act strategically to ensure the boys don 't keep “breaking up (82)”. Ralph exhibits logic and sense,…show more content…
Jack would be the most effective ruler according to Machiavelli. Unlike Ralph, Jack is willing to do whatever it takes in order for him to gain power, having the mindset of : “the end justifies the means”, something Machiavelli wrote about. Jack is enthusiastic about creating rules and punishing any who break them. Ironically, Jack states,”We 've got to have rules and obey them. After all, we 're not savages.”(42) before telling Ralph he’d keep the fire going, although jack is willing to break this rule to hunt and ends up leading a tribe of savages later. Machiavelli would approve, as he wrote in The Prince,” A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise.” Jack is willing to disregard morals and ethics in order to gain power . Jack is willing to kill Ralph after Piggy was murdered by Roger, “Viciously, will full intention, he hurled his spear at Ralph”(181). Jack’s full intention was to kill Ralph, and without Ralph, there would be no one to challenge Jack’s newfound sovereignty. Machiavelli stated in The Prince: “Because there is nothing proportionate between the armed and the unarmed ... it is not possible for them to work well together.” He favors the armed man, or man who uses force, over an unarmed man, or a man who doesn’t use force, “Hence it comes that all armed prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed prophets have been destroyed.”Jack is most definitely “armed”, as Jack is the most capable hunter on the island and competent with a
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