Insights to Shakespeare's Hamlet from Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince

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Insights to Shakespeare's Hamlet from Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince A prince is a title of the highest rank of the nobility. The word prince comes from the Latin word princeps, meaning first. The title prince can be used in many ways. In 1513, Niccolo Machiavelli wrote The Prince in which he wrote his ideas on how a strong ruler might gain and keep power. Many people have offered their views on how a prince or ruler should behave and govern. However many people today consider Machiavelli the father of modern political science. Machiavelli was born in Florence, Italy in 1469 (Encarta). Not much else is known about his early years. He was appointed secretary of the second highest governing body in the Florentine republic in 1498 (Encarta). His duties consisted of mainly of conducting diplomatic missions (Encarta). He also organized a militia for the republic (Encarta). In 1512, the republic collapsed (Encarta). The Medici family, which had ruled Florence earlier, was then restored to power (Encarta). Machiavelli was arrested, tortured, and imprisoned on suspicion of plotting against the Medici rule, but he was released after less than a year (Encarta). In 1513, he wrote The Prince and in 1532, it was published (Encarta). This book describes the methods by which a strong ruler might gain power and keep power. The experience he acquired as a government official and his study of history led him to view politics in a new way. The political writers of the Middle Ages treated politics plainly, within the framework of religion. However, Machiavelli sought to explain politics realistically, based on his view of human nature within the framework of history. Machiavelli died in Florence on June 21, 1527 (Encarta). His political writings became more widely known in the second half of the 16th century (Encarta). Ultimately considered dangerous, in 1564 they were placed on the Church Index of officially banned books (Encarta). Medieval feudalism accepted that God had vested earthly power in the members of noble families, the kings and lords who owed loyalty to Him and to whom in turn their social dependents were expected to entrust themselves. However, the bloody history and complicated political arrangements of the Italian states, where feudalism never took root, contradicted the medieval ideal. Lacking a framework that placed a premium on loyalty and cooperation, dukes and princes instead competed fiercely with each other. Machiavelli wrote two major books that forced people to reconsider how states really were governed.

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