Machiavellian As A Villain In The Prince

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William Shakespeare is the mind behind some of the most dangerous and cunning villains in literature. From the manipulative Iago from Othello, to the ruthless Claudius from Hamlet, each villain possess the traits of an effective ruler as described in Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince. Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was an Italian philosopher and poet who commented on the political structure of Renaissance Europe. In his most famous work, The Prince, written in 1513, he outlines the various traits one would need to have in order to acquire and maintain power. He gained a bad reputation after The Prince’s release. Even today, the term Machiavellian is used to describe a form of politics where “practitioners have no scruples about applying any means—force or fraud, murder or rapine—to achieve their own usually selfish ends. (Zuckert, 85)” is used to describe a person with no morals, who goes to any Machiavelli’s The Prince advocates the use of deception and fear to accomplish these goals. Shakespeare criticizes these ideas in The Tragedy of King Lear through the tragic hero Lear, the evil sisters Goneril and Regan, and the ruthless Edmund. King Lear possesses certain Machiavellian characteristics. Machiavelli believes that it is “safer to be feared than loved.” (Machiavelli, XVII, Paragraph 5). Lear employs this philosophy and tries to make his subjects fear incurring his wrath. Lear banishes Cordelia for not professing her love for him. “Here I disclaim al my paternal care,
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