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How to approach a Machiavellian Analysis

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Bea Hoxie

on 17 September 2014

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Transcript of How to approach a Machiavellian Analysis

How is your character a prince?
Is your character a successful or unsuccessful prince?
What princely attributes does your character possess?
At what cost is your character a prince, successful or unsuccessful?

Doing a Machiavellian literary analysis is simply examining and explaining the power structures in any work of literature. Through exploration and understanding of how power plays in the parts of characters, situations, and settings, the Machiavellian maxims can be applied to determine who is a (un)successful prince, why he/she a (un)successful prince, and what factors have lead to that prince's success or failure. Singular or multiple maxims may be applied to the argument. Since the maxims themselves area part of popular culture, they do not need citation; however, if you to reference THE PRINCE directly, please cite accordingly.
How to approach a Machiavellian Analysis
Powerfully Princely Characters
Pay attention to the small details that will help characterize your character as successful/unsuccessful, or even determine what degree of success or failure. In terms of THE PRINCE, this is all related to end objectives, how those objectives are attained, and a cost ratio examination of attainment and maintenance of power to satisfaction, happiness, morality, etc...
When examining character...
Do the situations present in the work of literature provide opportunities to gain advantage? If so, what kind of advantage is gained and what effect does it have throughput the work?
Powerfully Princely situations
Remember, the situations in the novel exist to move the story forward to the author's conclusion, so in this regard, consider how the situations in the story cause power to be gained or lost. What situations benefit what characters; do the means (i.e. situation) justify the ends?
It depends on the situation...
How does the landscape contribute to the gain or loss of power?
Does a change of setting indicate a change of power?
In what setting is the power scheme of the novel most apparent and why?
Powerfully Princely Settings
What questions do you have?

Movement equals power
In considering the landscape, understand that the power to initiate or stop movement of any kind, whether it be from room to room, or country to country, it in and of itself is a form of power. How does this relate to Machiavelli's work?
Just a reminder:
The maxims
1. A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise.
2. A wise ruler ought never to keep faith when by doing so it would be against his interests.
3. Before all else, be armed.
4. Benefits should be conferred gradually; and in that way they will taste better.
5. Hatred is gained as much by good works as by evil.
6. I'm not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.
7. It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.
8. It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles.
9. Politics have no relation to morals.
10. A prince also wins prestige for being a true friend or a true enemy
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