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Machiavelli Principals in King Lear

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Wayne Fryer

on 26 October 2012

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Transcript of Machiavelli Principals in King Lear

By Wayne Fryer Machiavellian Principals in King Lear Thesis Conclusion King Lear is based in a bleak, unforgiving, and cruel world. Characters appear to possess no humanity or
morality when interacting amongst themselves. Though many external factors contribute to the chaotic state and dysfunction within relationships, the primary factor is the presence of Niccolo Machiavelli's
principals outlined in his renowned essay The Prince. In a group of 2-3 people, discuss the following. Discussion Question No. 1 - Most critics would agree that Edmund is a Machiavellian
character, but what makes him one? Edmund (1.2.21-22)

- Edmund outlining his plan to betray Edgar.
- Deception in order to gain power.

(3.5.8-12)

- Edmund betraying Gloucester and informing Cornwall that he has gone to help Lear.
- Betrayal to receive power.

(5.1.56-60)

- Edmund proclaiming he is having an affair with both Regan and Goneril.
- He doesn't care which one he ends up with he is again manipulating people to receive power. In conclusion King Lear is based in a bleak, unforgiving, and cruel world. Though many external factors contribute to the deterioration of relationships, the primary factor which contributes to this dysfunction is the presence of Niccolo Machiavelli's principals outlined in his renowned essay The Prince. Who is this guy? Why is he important to me? Who is Niccolo Machiavelli? Outline his principals. Tito, Santi D. Portrait of Niccolo Machiavelli. 1517. Photograph. N.p. Wexford, Albert. Thinking Cartoon. 2007. Photograph. N.p. Niccolo Machiavelli - Born May 3rd, 1469
- The Father of Modern Political Theory
- Wrote The Prince in 1532
- "The end justifies the means"
(Machiavelli, The Prince). A brief history How does this relate to the thesis? "The end justifies the means" (Machiavelli, The Prince) Consider the following... Primary Quotations - Edmund possesses Machiavellian qualities.

- These qualities play an essential role in the development
of his character.

- The absence of Machiavelli's principals would result in a
completely different character. “People should either be caressed or crushed. If you do them minor damage they will get their revenge; but if you cripple them there is nothing they can do. If you need to injure someone, do it in such a way that you do not have to fear their vengeance.”
- Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince Consider the following... Goneril and Regan - Goneril and Regan demonstrate many Machiavellian qualities in their respective roles in politics. Primary Quotations (1.4.237-245)

- Goneril asks Lear to reduce his men.
- Lear becomes enraged and disowns.
Goneril.

(1.4.335-339)

- Goneril sends letter to Cordelia notifying her of Lear's arrival

(2.4.234-236)

- Regan defends her sister and begins to
reduce Lear to a mere dependent.
- After further confrontation with both
Goneril and Regan, Lear departs into the
storm heartbroken. How does this Relate to the Thesis? - Goneril and Regan use Machiavellian qualities in their quest for power.

- These power driven qualities are at
at the expense of their relationship
with Lear.

- The absence of these principals would preserve relationships throughout the play. Lear - Though Lear is often a victim, he
posses Machiavellian qualities which
strain and destroy relationships. Consider the following... “Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for everyone can see and few can feel. Every one sees what one appears to be, few really know what they are.” How does this relate to the thesis? - Lear posses Machiavellian qualities which are equally disruptive to relationships as others previously highlighted.

- These quality is essentially his tragic flaw and other characters such as Goneril and Regan are able to take advantage of it.

- The absence of this quality would result not only in the preservation of his relationship with all three of his daughters but also of society. Primary Quotations (1.1.115-118)

- Lear banishes Cordelia after she refuses to "heave her
heart into her mouth."

(1.1.174-181)

- Lear banishes Kent after he attempts to stand up for
Cordelia.
Discussion Question No. 3 In a group of 2-3 people, discuss the following Wexford, Albert. Thinking Cartoon. 2007. Photograph. N.p. The purpose of an audience is not only to enjoy ones work, but also to analyze and critic it. Do you believe that if Lear had not judged his daughters based on their ability to express affection and instead on their character the play would have developed in a different way? Works Cited
Kreis, Steven. "Niccolo Machiavelli." N. P.,11 Mar. 2007. Web. 19 Oct.
2012. Machiavelli, Niccolo. "The Prince." N. p., 1515. Web. 20 Oct. 2012. Shakespeare, William. "King Lear." N. p., 1616. Print. Discussion Question No. 2 In a group of 2-3 people, discuss the following. With you knowledge, can you apply this statement made by Machiavelli to another part of the play? Wexford, Albert. Thinking Cartoon. 2007. Photograph. N.p.
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