Machiavellian Prince Thesis

1374 Words6 Pages
Niloofar Sedigh Sarvestani
Dr. McAdams
HON 171
November 30, 2015
Claudius, The Machiavellian Prince
November 30, 2015
Machiavelli argues that a true leader - The prince - must be both the lion and the fox; Claudius is cunning like the fox and feared by the people. Claudius possesses many qualities of a Machiavellian prince, such as killing King Hamlet and taking the kingdom as his own, but makes the fault of not getting rid of Hamlet. Instead Claudius insists that Hamlet stay with him and his mother as well which ultimately results in his downfall. Claudius didn't kill all those who were entitled to the throne; instead he let the queen and her son, Hamlet live. Because Claudius let Hamlet live, Hamlet kills Claudius, which proves that
…show more content…
Fox (Half-man): The fox is a symbol for wisdom and cunning. A fox is able to recognize traps; a prince must be able to outmaneuver his foes. However, since a fox cannot drive away wolves, it is not enough for a prince to have just fox-like qualities; he must also be like a lion.
2. Lion (Half-beast): A lion is a symbol for courage and ferocity. The lion is able to drive away wolves; The prince must be able to stand up against his foes. However, a lion cannot recognize traps, therefore, a prince must also be like the fox-wise and cunning.
Quote: “A prince, therefore, being compelled knowingly to adopt the beast, ought to choose the fox and the lion; because the lion cannot defend himself against snares and the fox cannot defend himself against wolves. Therefore, it is necessary to be a fox to discover the snares and a lion to terrify the wolves. Those who rely simply on the lion do not understand what they are about. Therefore a wise lord cannot, nor ought he to, keep faith when such observance may be turned against him, and when the reasons that caused him to pledge it exist no longer. If men were entirely good this precept would not hold, but because they are bad, and will not keep faith with you, you too are not bound to observe it with them. Nor will there ever be wanting to a prince legitimate reasons to excuse this non-observance. Of this endless modern examples could be given, showing how many treaties and engagements have been made void and of no effect through the
…show more content…
I cannot disagree that his advice would have ended in a better result as he would have been better off killing Hamlet and then sending him on his trip. He could’ve shifted the blame to another party, or could have avoided giving an explanation as he did with King Hamlet; Surely this way he could’ve secured his place on the throne as the king more conclusively.

Claudius’ biggest mistake, one that turns around the entire play, is his implied admission of guilt during Hamlet’s Play, The murder of Gonzago. His guilty conscience leads to his prayer in the sanctuary, leading to Hamlet hearing his confession in prayer. Even though Hamlet let’s this opportunity to avenge his father, King Hamlet, slip by due to his dilemma, he is now firm in his decision to avenge his father in retributive justice.
Claudius in the sanctuary, “What if this cursed hand/Were thicker than itself with brother's blood /Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens/To wash it white as snow?”(Shakespeare, ACT II, Scene
Open Document