The Prince

Personal Morality in Julius Caesar and The Prince 12th Grade

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli and Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare are prime examples of texts which address universal issues in politics that remain relevant throughout time. The distinctive contexts and perspectives of the authors are highlighted through the exploration of personal morality in different government systems. While Machiavelli critiques morality and deems it a hindrance to the achievement and maintenance of power, Shakespeare questions its significance within leaders. Comparing the amoral principles of Machiavelli’s treatise against Shakespeare’s dramatic play reinforces the distinct purpose of the texts, one to teach and the other to challenge whether morals have a place within power and politics. Ultimately, the perspective of morality portrayed through both texts reflect the values and attitudes of the authors’ historical and social contexts, two distinct time periods during the Renaissance shaped by great political change.

Born in 1469, Florence, Italy, Machiavelli grew up in a period of political instability, taking an interest in this subject from an early age. By the time he was twenty-eight, he had already held multiple positions of power including Secretary of the Second Chancery and Secretary...

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