Explore how the choice of form can influence the perspectives gained from studying two texts in tandem.
The Prince (1513) by Niccolo Machiavelli, and Julius Caesar (1599) by William Shakespeare each explore the delicate interplay between power and morality with appropriate textual forms to engage and appeal to their target audiences within their respective socio-political contexts. Machiavelli’s concise, didactic treatise augments the validity of his perspective that pragmatism is essential to power acquisition and moral considerations should be disregarded to effectively maintain it, ingratiating him with his narrow political audience. Alternatively, Shakespeare employs the form of an allegorical five-act tragedy, to engagingly convey his perspective on leadership to a broad-based Christian audience. Like Machiavelli, he posits the necessity of judicious governance, but insists that moral integrity cannot be divorced from leadership. Thus, in considering each composer’s choice of form in the context of each intended audience and purpose, its influence on the perspective conveyed is revealed.
The treatise constructed by Machiavelli asserts validity that pragmatic governance needed in order to maintain power. Distinctive ideas are separated into different chapters which detail important leadership traits needed in an attempt by Machiavelli to regain employment as a diplomat and to instruct de Medici, on the process of maintaining and stabilising power within the Italian states. “Play the fox to see the sabres and the lion to see the wolves” this is an instruction given by Machiavelli to Medici in the form of a zoomorphic analogy, meaning to not only maintain a strong military, but to also practise vigilance in precaution to any threats to leadership which are recognised and can be swiftly dealt with. Furthermore, Machiavelli also advises that it is “much safer to be feared than loved” due to love being able to be manipulated and persuade, but fear can be controlled and managed. However Machiavelli also suggest to be weary arousing hatred through fear as “your best fortress is not to be hated by the people.” This metaphors suggests that it is important to have the support and love from the public in order to achieve physical defences and a strong foundation, reflecting the shift of alliance in Machiavelli's context. Therefore, Machiavelli's choice of form addressed to de Medici in concise instructions presents his regard for keeping a pragmatic governance.
Shakespeare similarly conveys a pragmatic governance, through dramatic mediums Shakespeare is able to permit inferences made through state directions and character development through dialogue and soliloquy. This speculation is understand by his civilian audience, who, without power, naturally desire an empathetic ruler. Subtle allegory is used to in the play to reflect the angst of a potentially drastic induction of power upon Elizabeth’s heirless throne. Shakespeare portrays caesar as loved by...