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The Nature Of Power And Rule In A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court And The Prince

1087 words - 5 pages

Over the course of history, power in the hands of new leaders and how new leaders deal with power have been deeply analyzed topics; however, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” In the idealistic novel A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain, the nature of power and rule directly reflects many of the ideas presented in the philosophical and non-fiction novel The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli. These two writings intertwine authoritative concepts including new leaders taking up residence in the new state, defending the weak, rising to supremacy through fear, and never avoiding war to delay controversy.
One principal for becoming a successful leader is how one comes into power. In Machiavelli’s The Prince, it reads, “there are still two ways of becoming prince…[one of] these are when one becomes prince by some nefarious or villainous means” (Machiavelli 35). A leader can keep his rule if he familiarizes himself with the citizens yet still puts fear into them. In A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Hank, the main character, is known throughout Camelot for becoming a widely acclaimed and feared magician. After defeating Sir Sagramor and multiple other contenders, Hank is then challenged by multiple other knights all at once when he says, “I raised both revolvers and pointed them--the halted hosts stood their ground just about one good square moment, then broke and fled. The day was mine. Knight-errantry was a doomed institution” (Twain 317-18). Hank is not playing fair the knights or people of Camelot. He uses his modern knowledge to outsmart and frighten them into submission which ultimately is coming to his advantage. Through this fear, they remain loyal to Hank for the majority of the novel. The idea that fear drives loyalty is true and is depicted through Hank’s role as a leader in A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court and in the philosophies outlines in The Prince.
Another of the major ideas presented that makes a good leader is that the leader keeps close connections with the citizens of the state. In The Prince, Machiavelli writes, “but when states are acquired in a country differing in language, customs, or laws, there are difficulties, and good fortune and great energy are needed to hold them, and one of the greatest and most real helps would be that he who acquired them go reside there” (Machiavelli 10). A new ruler needs to be closer to the people so they can get to know the citizens and eventually understand the common problems and how to remedy them as they arise. In A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, when Hank is traveling around Camelot and comes upon the evil Morgan La Fay’s castle, he demands to see who is in her dungeons. Hank realizes that the “crimes” they have committed are nonsense and unjust and releases them. Upon meeting one of the prisoners, Hank thinks, “He said he believed that men were...

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