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Macbeth And Machiavelli's The Prince Essay

888 words - 4 pages

In Machiavelli’s The Prince, he stats that it is better to be feared than loved, but that one should avoid being despised and hated. With these concepts at hand we can compare these philosophies to one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays Macbeth. This play can be analyzed through two important characters Macbeth and Duncan. They both have their own tragic flaws and how they came to power. But Macbeth had gained his title illegitimately.
Before comparing the two characters to Machiavelli’s Prince, we must understand Machiavelli’s views on the subject. In chapter XVII Machiavelli stats that it is good to be both loved and feared but that combination is rare to exist in one person. ...view middle of the document...

He was viewed as a loyal subject of the king and no one would object to him. This was the ideal fear Machiavelli was talking about. However, Macbeth had become to overzealous and ambitious that he eventually killed his king to take his crown. This is where Macbeth falls short and out of grace. Because of Macbeth’s ambition he had broken the great chain of beings and the world was flung into chaos. Also in the play Macbeth, before Macbeth was convinced to murder Duncan he told Lady Macbeth that “If it were done when ‘tis done, then ‘twere well it were done quickly. If th’ assassination could trammel up the consequence and catch with his surcease success…”( I, 7, 1-4). In this quote he is stating that if he could kill Duncan without any consequences he would do it. However Macbeth knows this is impossible.
Machiavelli also agrees with Macbeth for he states that “For whereas in general the conspirator has to fear, before the execution of his plot, in this case he has also to fear the sequel to the crime; because on account of it he has the people for an enemy, and thus cannot hope for any success.”(Machiavelli) This quote also helps supports Machiavelli’s ideas on the thin line of being feared and hated. After Macbeth killed Duncan he started to lose himself and started to become extremely paranoid to the point that he could no longer trust anyone. Even his wife that helped convince him to kill Duncan in the first place. This eventually leads over...

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