Machiavelli 's The Prince By Niccolo Machiavelli

1943 Words8 Pages
Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince is a book that examines the qualities and strategies required for a ruler in order to maintain power. Despite being composed in the 16th century, the ideas presented are applicable even to mythical kings from texts over a thousand years ago. Throughout the story of Seneca’s Oedipus, substantial connections could be made between Oedipus and The Prince’s ideas of rule, such as methods in acquiring principalities, channeling subjects’ fear, the use of cruelty and controlling circumstance. In this essay, I will first talk about these ideas presented in The Prince, then suggest how Machiavelli might evaluate the character, strategies, leadership, and fortunes of Seneca’s Oedipus. Based on these four factors, I…show more content…
But I did unlash the knot of her enigma’s webbed deceit, the grimly riddling song of the winged beast. Jocasta: …. Thebes’ scepter was your prize for glorious deeds, your payment for destruction of the Sphinx. (Seneca 203)
Machiavelli might assess that Oedipus obtains his kingship of Thebes by solving the Sphinx’s riddle with his wits and wisdom. In spite of the danger he faces, he does not shy away from the opportunity of saving the city. Although Oedipus experiences great difficulty in attaining power, Machiavelli would have faith in his ability to maintain it, because Oedipus acquires his principality through his own arms and ability.
Furthermore, Machiavelli presents ideas about the qualities that rulers should have in order to avoid contempt in Chapter XIX:
What will make him despised is being considered inconstant, frivolous, effeminate, pusillanimous and irresolute… He should contrive that that his actions should display grandeur, courage, seriousness and strength. (Machiavelli 64)
In fact, Jocasta echoes these ideas in her advice to Oedipus as he is confronted with the plague:
Being king, I think, means this: coming to grips with what confronts you. The harder it is to stand, the more power’s burden slips and slides, the more determinedly you must take your stand. Be brave!

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