Macchiavellian theories in "King Lear".

Essay by joonwooHigh School, 12th gradeA, July 2003

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William Shakespeare's "King Lear" has within it many Machiavellian theories. This is evident once we examine the characters of Edmund, Goneril, and Regan. The Machiavellian principles relating to politics, ethics, and virtue are exemplified throughout "King Lear" play by these three characters. Machiavellian politics deal with acquiring power and forming very strong governments. For Machiavelli, power meant politics. Ethics can be best described as a branch of knowledge concerned with moral principles. The Theme of morality and ethics keeps evolving throughout "King Lear" and is demonstrated by these three characters. Virtue is the final principle highlighted by this Shakespeare play. By examining each of the three characters in more depth, we can better understand how Machiavellian theories apply to the play "King Lear"

Edmund is the most Machiavellian character in "King Lear" for many reasons. Edmund was born as illegitimated son of Gloucester.

He had elder brother named Edgar who was legitimated son of Gloucester and beloved suitable heir. Edmund shows his avarice, greed, and envy towards Edger. Edmund states soliloquy "Thou, Nature, art my goddess; to thy law, ... now, gods, stand up for bastards."(I, ii, 1-22) This shows that he blame the nature that he never meant to born as an illegitimated, such as bastard son. He also decides that as concern everything think as a bastard, he will act as a bastard, the way of being Machiavellian as manipulating and taking advantage of others. Especially from the part of soliloquy, "legitimate Edgar, I must have your land." (I, ii, 16) He is showing his jealousy towards Edgar, and all that he has. Back in Shakespeare's time, land ownership was a form of wealth. Wealth equaled political power. Acquiring political power is a Machiavellian trait.

Edmund also criticized...