The Characteristics Of Machiavelli And William Shakespeare's 'Othello'

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Machiavelli’s Prince seeks to recruit and educate a ruler in the art of ruling. His ideal rulers are founders, men who created a fatherland and were not afraid to sacrifice lives and their self-interests for the common good. Machiavelli stresses that a ruler needs to appear virtuous while using vices when necessary to achieve positive results. Machiavelli teaches the ruler to divide his self. “It is essential, therefore, for a Prince […] to have learned how to be other than good, and to use or not use his goodness as necessity requires” (Machiavelli, 40). The ruler must decipher when it is necessary to use evil for “the glory and prosperity of their country” (13). In contrast, self-division ruins Othello. He experiences self-division by …show more content…
Desdemona reflects Othello’s good qualities including his bravery, strength, and intelligence. Alternatively, Iago incites jealousy within Othello and watches him erupt. Iago reveals Othello’s insecurities, and prior to Iago’s interference, Othello could control any situation. In Act 1, Othello diffuses a situation in which multiple combatants had already unsheathed their weapons. “Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them” (1.2 59). His discourse immediately calms the tension. Similarly, Desdemona reflects many of Othello’s positive qualities. She falls in love with Othello, the War Hero – a hero who is no stranger to danger. After Iago starts to interfere with Othello’s relationship with Desdemona, Iago has control of Othello, since Othello regards the word of Iago as gospel. Iago exposes Othello’s jealousy and naïveté and easily convinces him that Cassio slept with Desdemona. Even though Iago tells Othello it is a dream, Othello believes that his wife cheated on him proclaiming, “O monstrous! Monstrous! […] this denoted a foregone conclusion” (3.3 427-429). Othello turns from calm to a raging cauldron of jealousy. Othello experiences mixed feelings between these two characters. Iago represents vice; Desdemona represents virtue, and Othello is easily tempted by the vice of …show more content…
He states that a prince must create a divided self. He says that the only way to create a long lasting fatherland is to be taught evil qualities and display them when beneficial for the state. For example, Machiavelli states that it is well documented that liberality is a good thing, but at times it is far better to seem liberal, but actually be miserly. “A Prince […] ought to care little though he incur the reproach of miserliness, for this is one of those vices which enable him to reign” (Machiavelli, 42). Even though being a penny pincher is not favorable, it enables the ruler to reign and make decisions that are difficult to make. It will pain the state more to give away their assets than to be conservative. Machiavelli expands further on self-division through the idea of the man and the beast. He states, “A prince should, therefore, understand how to use both the man and the beast” (45). Machiavelli describes how the man represents being in accordance with the laws, but that being in accordance with the laws does not always work. Therefore, a prince must resort to ulterior methods in order achieve results. Those methods Machiavelli defines those methods as the beast: using force to get what one wants. One must harness the beast’s nature wisely, in order to see results. Furthermore, Machiavelli divides the beast tactics into even more detail, namely, the lion and the fox. A prince

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