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Word Count: 260
Machiavellis ideas influence some of Shakespeares characters in the play King Lear To use the critic A P Rossiters phrase Shakespeares plays are about the survival of the slickest The characters in King Lear that reflect the Machiavellian philosophy are the two sisters Goneril and Regan and the son of Gloucester Edmund Machiavellis had a very cold appraisal of government and power He asserted that the achievement of political power necessitated unscrupulous methods and that the ethical man was an ineffectual ruler It did not matter what a person did behind the scenes a person only had to make sure that he appeared honorable In politics honor was a sham and morality was irrelevant Machiavellian principles which emphasized policy the prudent and underhanded management of affairs subverted everything the Elizabethans believed about the divinity of their rulers To them policy and political were tainted words and whenever they are used in Elizabethan literature they signal that something is rotten in the state During the Renaissance the Machiavel a smooth-tongued villain with a genius for intrigue replaced the medieval image of the devil According to one count the Machiavel appeared more than four hundred times on the Elizabethan stage and the figure inspired Shakespeares greatest villains Machiavellis ideas influence almost every ruler Shakespeare created Goneril was one of the characters that show how Machiavellian philosophy was evident in King Lear Goneril is the most vicious sister It is she who suggests gouging out Gloucesters eyes and she who plots her husbands death so that she may fulfill her lust for Edmund
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