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Word Count: 1,186
Every one sees what you appear to be few really know what you are and those few darenot oppose themselves to the opinion of the many who have the majesty of the state to- Nicolo Machiavelli from The PrinceItalian political theorist Nicolo Machiavelli speculated that the strongest leadersare ones who are able to carefully balance appearances to his benefit strategically usingthem to strengthen his regime If Machiavelli was indeed correct then Claudius fromShakespeares Hamlet starts off as an ideal Machiavellian prince However as the playdevelops Claudius loses his previously immovable command and composure largely dueto his concern over the potential threat posed by his stepson Hamlet At the beginning of the play Claudius appears to have complete control overElsinore as evidenced by his imposing speech to the court Therefore our sometime sister now our queen Th imperial jointress to this warlike state Have we as twere with a defeated joy With an auspicious and a dropping eye With mirth in funeral and dirge in marriage
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