Niccolo Machiavelli (2274 words)


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“I count religion but a childish toy, / And hold there is no sin but ignorance” (Marlowe, 1978: “Prologue”, 14-15). So speaks the stage villain “Machevil” in Christopher Marlowe's The Jew of Malta. Marlowe's tragedy is one of several English Renaissance plays featuring Machiavellian characters, such as Shakespeare's Iago, Richard III and Prince Hal, who contributed to the construction of Machiavelli's scandalous reputation. Today, the term Machiavellian is still synonymous with the deceit and ruthlessness deemed necessary for, or endemic to, effective politics. What was and still is shocking about Machiavellianism is its banishment of ethics from political life, a banishment which has the effect of instrumentalising …

Citation: Mousley, Andrew. "Niccolo Machiavelli". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 July 2001 [, accessed 19 June 2021.]

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