Machiavelli and Castiglione

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Machiavelli and Castiglione both present the epitome of perfection in their topics of leadership and the way a women should be, respectively. In the case of Castiglione's work, it is stated by signor Gaspare that " the way people sometimes hanker after things that are impossible and miraculous, rather then explain them you (Magnifico) have wished them into existence." This quote is true of both excerpts. Both have created idealisms that are of perfection; however, both do also allow for imperfection. Again in the excerpt from Castiglione's work where Magnifico states "...because man is more robust, more quickly agile and more able to endure toil..." shows the obvious imperfections of the female gender. Machiavelli, on the topic of leadership, also talks of imperfections: "The new prince - above all other princes - cannot escape being called cruel, since new governments about in dangers." Leaders therefore are left to the mercy of their own imperfections and the imperfections of the human spirit.

Perfection, even mixed in with a few imperfections, is very hard to meet. One would have to be of the offspring of God to meet some of the qualities mentioned. However, far from the offspring of God, there is another that comes close to many of the generalizations stated. She is a leader behind a leader and is probably one of the strongest women of her time. First, Mrs. Clinton as a leader possesses many of the qualities mentioned by Machiavelli; such as her toughness and appearance of good morals. In Castiglione's realm, she matches the qualities of dignity and strong virtues. Hillary Clinton clearly shows qualities mentioned in both excerpts regarding her position as a leader and as a woman.

First, Hillary Clinton as a leader possesses a great number of qualities mentioned by Machiavelli, one of which is represented in her handling of the Whitewater scandal. Machiavelli gives and example of how it is important to, "in order to keep his position, act contrary to the truth." Mrs. Clinton most likely lied about her involvement in the scandal in order to "keep her position" as a leader. Mrs. Clinton also fits true to what Machiavelli says about appearance: " is not necessary actually to have all the above-mentioned qualities, but it is very necessary to appear to have them"; the qualities being: merciful, trustworthy, humane, blameless, and religious. The first lady appears to be trustworthy, in that she holds true to her contract of marriage although her husband has made and abomination of the sacred agreement. The marriage now, however, may actually be more political, but Mrs. Clinton makes it seem that she is not giving up on the marriage, a strong virtue especially in today's society. Mrs. Clinton also is a great liberal and advocates many minority groups such as homosexuals. This appearance, whether it be true or false, appeals to the greater amount of her constituents who are increasingly liberal people. The appearances of being blameless is also apparent. In the recent sex scandal with her husband, President Clinton, and Monica Lewinsky, Mrs. Clinton came off looking like a victim of a broken heart. However true that may have been, she created the appearance that in no way was she involved in this matter when she must have been if her husband felt the need to turn to other women.

Next, in regard to her relationship to the descriptions in Castiglione's book, the first likeness is Mrs. Clinton's place as a woman. Magnifico said, "I do not want her to indulge in these robust and manly exertions...I should like her to practice very circumspectly and with the gentle delicacy we have said is appropriate for her." The First Lady is very careful not to get involved where it is "not her place". She will very rarely discuss such topics as war or of the actions of her husband. She does, however, touch on topics such as health care and women's rights, topics much more suited to her role. Castiglione's character Magnifico also states that "...her serene and modest behavior ...should be accompanied by a quick and vivacious spirit by which she shows her freedom from boorishness". Mrs. Clinton does not sit on the back burner while her husband handles the country, she takes an active role, in the country and internationally, as Magnifico says should be done. Although that has little to do with speech it still implies the same concept which is that women should not sit around and be boring.

In conclusion, is a great representation of qualities mention by both Castiglione and Machiavelli. She may not meet the high standards to exactness, but she shows many of the traits mentioned. Her strong will, appearance of morality, lack of involvement in "manly" matters (or at least the appearance of), and her "vivacious spirit" are all qualities shared by the words of the authors and Mrs. Clinton. She is a great example of a leader and a woman in terms of the two author's view on the subjects.