To understand a renaissance machiavel as portrayed in The Spanish Tragedy and Hamlet, it is necessary to find characters from both works that exhibit the characteristics of a machiavel (Plotting, secrecy and eventually murder). This is the difficult part, as most of the major characters in both plays exhibit some, if not all of these characteristics – while neither Heironimo nor Hamlet are villains, they both rely upon machiavellian tactics; they both feign madness to seem unthreatening, then proceed to strike when least expected:
I will revenge his death!
But how? Not as the vulgar wits of men,
With open, but inevitable ills,
As by secret, yet certain mean,
Which under kindship will be cloaked best.
The Spanish Tragedy III xiii 20-24
This behaviour is echoed by Hamlet following his meeting with his father’s ghost. This insanity, this posturing and preparation for revenge, though for a good reason, is undoubtedly machiavellian. It is arguably the case that the insanity that both characters experience is not entirely faked, as both undergo extreme mental stress. This very real insanity is reflected by the disjointed and heavily end-stopped verse both Hamlet and Heironimo use when delivering soliloquies:
O most pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling damned villain!
My tables. Meet it is I set it down
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain –
At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.
So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word.
It is “adieu, adieu, remember me.”
I have sworn’t
Hamlet I v 105-112
It is not the case, however, that machiavellian behaviour is restricted to the l…
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…ave done better, in the eyes of Hamlet at least, to wait for longer before doing so.
To conclude, it would seem that a renaissance machiavel is anyone who uses machiavellian ideas to effect others, whether it be for good or for ill. These machiavellian ideas and strategies range from subtlety and concealment, to murder and witness eradication. In essence, then, machiavellianism, in terms of the renaissance, is the process by which one person attempts to influence others by diverse means. Machiavellianism is not restricted to villains, as the heroic characters also make use of it. The definition of a renaissance machiavel ranges from the scheming evil of Lorenzo to the anti-heroic Heironimo.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. Cyrus Hoy. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 1992.
Kyd, Thomas. The Spanish Tragedy. Ed. Philip Edwards. London: Methuen, 1959.
Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Oedipus the King – Free Will or Fate?
Fate in Oedipus Rex
Do you think that fate controls the lives of everyday people, or do you think someone’s actions control their lives? In the play, Oedipus Rex, fate played an important role in the lives of the characters. . In order to avoid their predestined fate, the main characters took every precaution to avoid their predetermined destinies. The queen, Iocasta, and her son, Oedipus, both tried to escape what Teriresias, the oracle, told them, however, it would eventually come back to haunt them. [Fate controlled the lives of the characters in this play…] NEW THESIS
When queen Iocasta found that she and king Laius were to have child, she went to consult an oracle for guidance. However, Teriresias had a devastating prophecy that their first born son would kill the king his father, and marry his mother. In order to prevent the prophecy from being fulfilled, the king upon the birth of his son pierced the baby’s feet with an iron pin to prevent the baby from using his feet. The king ordered a shepherd to abandon the child in the mountains, to be left to die. [The shepherd, in spite of his order from the king, gave the baby, instead, to one of his friends, a herdsman from Corinth. The herdsman gave the baby to his master, the king of Corinth. It was with this family that Oedipus grew up not knowing his real family or the fate that awaited him.] AVOID SUMMARY!!!
As Oedipus became a young man, he went to consult the same oracle that his biological mother queen Iocasta did. Teriresias the oracle told Oedipus the same prophecy that he had previously revealed to queen Iocasta, his mother.
Oedipus, in order to escape his prophesized fate, fled Corinth never to return. He was unaware that he was adopted. During his journey, Oedipus came across an old vile tempered man who insulted him. Oedipus, in defense of his honor, slayed the old man and all of his servants. Upon reaching Thebes, Oedipus was asked a riddle by the Sphinx of Thebes. The Sphinx is a monster that is part lion, part eagle, and part human female and like to ask riddles. [ The question she asked was what walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon and three legs at night. Oedipus answered the question correctly, and the Sphinx left.