Machiavelli And Gossip Girl Essay

1772 words - 8 pages

Machiavelli’s The Prince is a guide written for the ruling class on how to maintain power, however, royalty is no longer a characteristic that belongs only to a monarch. In The Prince, Machiavelli targets the prince and all other royalty, but today his work may be used as a social critique of upper class society. Thus, a popular television show depicting Manhattan’s elite governed by social media blasts, is no coincidence. It is evident that the creators of the popular television show Gossip Girl had Machiavelli in mind. Machiavelli and the character of Gossip Girl complement each other in their focus on man’s lack of morals, and their ability to create paranoia as well as manipulate those ...view middle of the document...

8). Even though Machiavelli’s work is most often classified as political philosophy, the idea of being Machiavellian has become synonymous with villainy today. The television show Gossip Girl creates a parody of Machiavelli’s The Prince, as the character of Gossip Girl is a Machiavellian villain who achieves his ends by any means necessary. Gossip Girl, an all-knowing blogger and the show’s narrator, targets a select group of privileged young adults who reside on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. He blogs and sends out anonymous social media blasts that inform everyone of the elites’ scandalous behavior. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize how the character of Gossip Girl is a modern day parody of Machiavelli. Many consider Machiavelli to have been a practical man, even though today’s society may classify him as villainous. Machiavelli’s plan is to teach the prince how to know when to be virtuous and when to resort to non-virtuous behaviors. While the writers of Gossip Girl, use the Gossip Girl character to parody Machiavelli, it is not a complete representation of Machiavelli. The character of Gossip Girl is a distorted version of Machiavelli, and the ultimate Machiavellian villain. Even so, however, both The Prince and the Gossip Girl blog ultimately serve as guidebooks for how to maintain power.
Human nature is greedy and self-interested, at least that is what Machiavelli might have said. When speaking of war-like behaviors Machiavelli states, “a prince who lacks this ability lacks the most important quality in a leader; because this skill teaches you to find the enemy… and besiege towns to your own advantage” (“The Qualities of the Prince” para. 3). The successful ruler must know his enemies and how to defeat anyone who threatens his power. Through the publication of The Prince, commoners were led to believe that Machiavelli’s instructions were in fact how the royals were acting. It exposed the apparent trickery of the royal class and created tension among the people. Many may argue that Gossip Girl partakes in a similar tactic. The television show Gossip Girl, plays on this imperfection of man through revealing the scandals of New York City’s royalty. “Gossip Girl here, your one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan's elite” (“Pilot” 1.1). Each character is solely self-interested in their actions and the character of Gossip Girl feeds on all of their drama. The characters rarely worry about whom they must manipulate in order to get their way, which ultimately shows an overwhelming amount of immoral behavior. If these immoral behaviors are truly based on Machiavellian ideas, then these behaviors are for the necessities of self-preservation and maintaining power, since the wholly virtuous and moral man ends in destruction. Additionally making others see the flaws of Manhattan’s elite through this immoral behavior evokes feelings of vanity. This raises up the common people by making them feel that they have a higher level...

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