What is a Machiavellian character?

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NeonIndian
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#1
Report Thread starter 11 years ago
#1
Doing some english coursework on King Lear, struggling to write about anything in particular, but was wondering what a Machiavellian character is and whether Edmond is one or not?

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marcusmerehay
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#2
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Someone who attempts to achieve their goals "by cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous methods".

I personally haven't read King Lear though, so I wouldn't know the answer to your second question.
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amsie/
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#3
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#3
It comes from Machiavelli. He wrote 'the prince' and 'discourses'.The royals read it & obvs didn't like it. It's kinda like sneaky and shrewd http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niccol%C3%B2_Machiavelli
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evantej
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#4
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#4
(Original post by RosieRayner)
Doing some english coursework on King Lear, struggling to write about anything in particular, but was wondering what a Machiavellian character is and whether Edmond is one or not?

Thanks
If you have not read Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince (1532), and perhaps Baldassare Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier (1528) as a contrast, then I would avoid mentioned Machiavellian characters altogether. Judging from the replies so far, it seems both users are relying on assumptions about what the text is about.

If you suggested that character x was Machiavellian, and I was your teacher, I would immediately ask for a definition of Machiavellianism. If you provided a definition like marcusmerehay's then it would be clear not only that you have not read any of his works, but that you were plagiarising someone else's commentary of Shakespeare's King Lear too.

Penguin have a 128-page edition of the work as part of their great ideas series (series one; red spines) that you might be able to find second hand or, on the other hand, your local library should have plenty of copies (I have just checked mine and they do).

If you did read either of the texts I mentioned, were able to integrate them into your essay and referenced your work properly your marks would go through the roof. The workload at A level is fairly low so there is no reason why you could not read either of the texts, especially The Prince.
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NeonIndian
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#5
Report Thread starter 11 years ago
#5
(Original post by evantej)
If you have not read Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince (1532), and perhaps Baldassare Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier (1528) as a contrast, then I would avoid mentioned Machiavellian characters altogether. Judging from the replies so far, it seems both users are relying on assumptions about what the text is about.

If you suggested that character x was Machiavellian, and I was your teacher, I would immediately ask for a definition of Machiavellianism. If you provided a definition like marcusmerehay's then it would be clear not only that you have not read any of his works, but that you were plagiarising someone else's commentary of Shakespeare's King Lear too.

Penguin have a 128-page edition of the work as part of their great ideas series (series one; red spines) that you might be able to find second hand or, on the other hand, your local library should have plenty of copies (I have just checked mine and they do).

If you did read either of the texts I mentioned, were able to integrate them into your essay and referenced your work properly your marks would go through the roof. The workload at A level is fairly low so there is no reason why you could not read either of the texts, especially The Prince.
Hmm. No, unfortunately I haven't read The Prince, although I researched it and I wrote a definition of a Machiavellian character in my essay from Machiavelli himself; ‘A man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous. Therefore if a prince wants to maintain his rule he must be prepared not to be virtuous.’

I then wrote: ’ Edmond certainly embraces this principle, and the critic Ian Johnston argues that being non-virtuous is not a bad thing...' and sort of developed from there in debating Edmond's success as a Machiavellian villain in the play. It was just something I thought I should include.

I would read the play if I had the time, but the deadline for this essay is tomorrow unfortunately!

I was wondering, seeing as you seem to know your stuff, if you could help me out a little further with this essay? I'm almost struggling to find things to write about, although I've written 1000 words, I'm not sure if its up to much! I could email you the essay if you had the time to have a read, and judge. If not I completely understand, just say if you really don't want to!

Thanks.
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evantej
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#6
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#6
(Original post by RosieRayner)
Hmm. No, unfortunately I haven't read The Prince, although I researched it and I wrote a definition of a Machiavellian character in my essay from Machiavelli himself; ‘A man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous. Therefore if a prince wants to maintain his rule he must be prepared not to be virtuous.’

I then wrote: ’ Edmond certainly embraces this principle, and the critic Ian Johnston argues that being non-virtuous is not a bad thing...' and sort of developed from there in debating Edmond's success as a Machiavellian villain in the play. It was just something I thought I should include.
I would read the play if I had the time, but the deadline for this essay is tomorrow unfortunately!

I was wondering, seeing as you seem to know your stuff, if you could help me out a little further with this essay? I'm almost struggling to find things to write about, although I've written 1000 words, I'm not sure if its up to much! I could email you the essay if you had the time to have a read, and judge. If not I completely understand, just say if you really don't want to!
Thanks.
Unfortunately, I have lots of reading to do tonight, which means I cannot help you too much now. But if this is just a first draft then feel free to contact me again when your teacher has read it and I will help you then.

Nevertheless, if you want to expand upon the quotation you have used and remain consistent with the argument that you have put forward then it would be useful in terms of balance to highlight examples of courtiers or servants who act dishonestly, thus Edmond has to become the Machiavellian villain in the play in order to maintain or extend his power. I have not got a copy of King Lear with me so I cannot pick out any specific examples, though it must be said that it would have been easier to discuss Lear’s daughters in terms of behaviour in relation to their father so you might get credit for looking at something different.
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NeonIndian
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#7
Report Thread starter 11 years ago
#7
(Original post by evantej)
Unfortunately, I have lots of reading to do tonight, which means I cannot help you too much now. But if this is just a first draft then feel free to contact me again when your teacher has read it and I will help you then.

Nevertheless, if you want to expand upon the quotation you have used and remain consistent with the argument that you have put forward then it would be useful in terms of balance to highlight examples of courtiers or servants who act dishonestly, thus Edmond has to become the Machiavellian villain in the play in order to maintain or extend his power. I have not got a copy of King Lear with me so I cannot pick out any specific examples, though it must be said that it would have been easier to discuss Lear’s daughters in terms of behaviour in relation to their father so you might get credit for looking at something different.
Okay, well I handed the draft in yesterday, and hopefully it should be marked and back to me either by this Friday or after half term. I'll keep you posted.

Thank you very much!
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Tania Rich
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#8
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#8
If u don't mind ... would u please mention to me three or four American Modern plays that have Machiavellian character as a protagonist.... i really appreciate ur response
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DD14
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#9
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#9
A person who practises expediency in preference to morality
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R231
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#10
Report 6 years ago
#10
Edmund is yes, a Machiavellian character (often a villain) manipulates others for personal gain. Iago in Othello is another example
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