Machiavelli states that "it is necessary for a prince, who wishes to maintain himself, to learn how not to be good, and use this knowledge and not use it, according to the necessity of the case." Machiavelli's ideas both compare and contrast to the methods used by Hamlet. Hamlet's desire to drive the king mad and eventually kill him, is what he thinks he must do in order to set things right. Hamlet struggles to maintain his position as prince. Perhaps he lacks the essential qualities of a prince outlined by Machiavelli.
According to Machiavelli, the pursuit of all things regarded as virtuous and praiseworthy will only lead to the prince's ruin. This is completely true in the case of Hamlet, because he is on a quest to avenge his father's death. The battle between good and evil is constantly in the forefront of Hamlet's mind, as he wavers between acting civil or getting revenge outright. In the beginning, Hamlet struggles to remain good at all times, but this causes him extreme anguish. Hamlet is an honest man, who grieves for his father. He suffers because of the dishonesty of the others in the court, especially his mother and his uncle, and later, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Hamlet is able to see through them all, and realize that they're dishonest. He speaks these words to Guildenstern: "Anything but to th' purpose. You were sent for, and there is a kind of confession in your looks, which your modesties have not craft enough to colour. I know the good King and Queen have sent for you." (Hamlet, II, ii., 278-280)
Hamlet's honesty is also seen when he is speaking with his mother. In act I, scene ii, Gertrude asks him why the de...
... middle of paper ...
...e his goal was to get and retain power. He wanted to prove Claudius to be an unfit king, and he did so, but only as Hamlet himself was about to die. Hamlet had to cause grief by killing the king, but in the end, he is seen as a hero, because he unmasked his father's killer.
Sources Cited and Consulted:
Gray, Terry A. "Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet." http://www.palomar.edu/Library/shake.htm.
Jones, W. T. Masters of Political Thought. Ed. Edward, McChesner, and Sait. Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1947.
Lee A. Jacobus. A World of Ideas: Essential Readings for College Writers. 5th edition. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1998.
Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. Trans. Hill Thompson. Norwalk: The Easton Press, 1980.
Shakespeare, William. The Three-Text Hamlet. Eds. Paul Bertram and Bernice Kliman. New York: AMS Press, 1991.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Hamlet as a Living Death in the Midst of Life in Hamlet by Wlliam Shakespeare In claiming that Hamlet is 'a living death in the midst of life', Knight depicts Hamlet as a character who is entirely a corrupting force in the lives of others, rather than a morally superior character attempting to orchestrate justice. In that Hamlet is secluded and absolutely isolated from those who experience 'life', Knight condemns Hamlet to the title of being an emotionless element of malevolence.... [tags: Papers]
1930 words (5.5 pages)
- Leadership in Milton’s Paradise Lost, Cavendish’s Blazing World, and Shakespeare’s Othello and Hamlet Critical thinkers are the strongest people in the world—not only are they able to form their own opinions, but these individuals are also versatile enough to listen to their counsel for the best advice. They have learned when to be flexible and when to be stubborn—and they’ve realized who’s a snake in the grass and who deserves paramount respect. To live happily ever after, or even just to survive, a person must learn from the best.... [tags: Comparison Compare Contrast Essays]
5220 words (14.9 pages)
- Prince Hamlet Versus Machiavelli's Prince The Prince is a celebrated and highly controversial piece of work by the Italian aristocrat Niccolo Machiavelli. His work is a summation of all the qualities a prince must have in order to remain in his position. Machiavelli supports the idea that a prince use his power for the ultimate benefit of all, but he also does not condemn the use of any unpleasant means in order for the prince to maintain his power. His ideas both compare and contrast to the methods used by Prince Hamlet of Denmark in Shakespeare's Hamlet.... [tags: Niccolo Machiavelli, Shakespeare]
1006 words (2.9 pages)
- During the late sixteenth century, the Renaissance movement was in full swing with many scholars, musicians, and artists studying the classical period. Many European scholars looked to the Greeks and Romans for inspiration. A lot of famous works from the Renaissance were inspired by Greek and Roman art. Shakespeare was no exception; he embedded a lot of classical references into most of his plays. In fact, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar was just a reenactment of Julius Caesar’s death. In Hamlet however, Shakespeare’s classical allusions have a deeper meaning in the play than just going along with the trend of the time.... [tags: Hamlet, William Shakespeare, Characters in Hamlet]
1272 words (3.6 pages)
- In act IV, scene III, Shakespeare addresses the play’s themes and messages; those being ambivalence and how people are one and the same in the end of life. Hamlet speaks in an eccentric riddle form but there are underlying messages communicated through Hamlet’s craziness and Claudius’ confusion. The ideas are conversed through Claudius and Hamlet and convey the morals of the drama, Hamlet. Shakespeare also takes the liberty in this section to show how diverse and opposite the characters of Claudius and Hamlet are by differentiating their literary devices.... [tags: Death, Shakespeare, Hamlet, ]
1213 words (3.5 pages)
- ... His moral dilemma unravels a peripetia followed by anagnorisis and consequently leading to the irrational annihilation. Through the coherent use of form and language, the relevance with the elements of human condition exposed by the relationships allows an integrated structure to hold a unifying concept and thus its textual integrity. Throughout the play, the existentialist discourse proposed in Hamlet’s soliloquies display a tragic hero suspended between faith and reason, with the integral concerns on fate and mortality.... [tags: Hamlet, Tragedy, William Shakespeare]
1257 words (3.6 pages)
- Character of Hamlet in Shakespeare's Hamlet Hamlet is a man of many discoveries. The tragic hero in Shakespeare's Hamlet undergoes many changes throughout the play. His mindset is set deep and far away from the physical world that both helps him and hinders him in his plight for revenge against his uncle, Claudius, and his mother. When Hamlet is first introduced in Act I, Scene II, the reader is shown the depths of his sorrow. The King asks Hamlet "How is it that the clouds still hang on you" and the Queen tells him to "Cast thy nighted color off." By these comments one can envision Hamlet as someone who appears and radiates out his sorrow over his father's death.... [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet]
1339 words (3.8 pages)
- Hamlet -- Comparison of Gertrude and Ophelia Gertrude and Ophelia occupy the leading roles for females in the Shakespearean drama Hamlet. As women they share many things in common: attitudes from others, shallow or simple minds and outlooks, etc. This essay will delve into what they have in common. The protagonist’s negative attitude toward both women is an obvious starting point. John Dover Wilson explains in What Happens in Hamlet how the prince holds both of the women in disgust: The difficulty is not that, having once loved Ophelia, Hamlet ceases to do so.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
3020 words (8.6 pages)
- Fortinbras as Foil for Hamlet In the play, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the character of Fortinbras, has been used as a foil for the main character, Hamlet. Hamlet and Fortinbras have lost their fathers to untimely deaths. Claudius killed Hamlet's father, King Hamlet, and King Hamlet killed Fortinbras' father. Both Hamlet and Fortinbras have vowed to seek revenge for the deaths of their fathers. Since the revenge tactics of Hamlet and Fortinbras are completely different, Hamlet perceives the actions of Fortinbras as better than his own and the actions of Fortinbras, then, encourage Hamlet to act without hesitating. Hamlet, after learning that his father's death was a murder an... [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]
1032 words (2.9 pages)
- William Shakespeare's Hamlet Shakespeare’s works are rife with metatheatrical self-references; as Polonius blathers on about madness early in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Gertrude ends the excessive bombast with the quip, “More matter with less art” (Hamlet, II.i.97). Shakespeare mocks his own poetic form and that of his classical influences with this line, yet his plays are full of lyricism. However, the Greek and Roman texts Shakespeare studied as a boy as well as those of his contemporaries are so full of “art,” (meaning that they emphasize form over content) that they are often considered by the masses as arcane.... [tags: William Shakespeare Hamlet Essays]
3617 words (10.3 pages)