In Machiavellis The Prince readers are provided
with powerful insights to becoming a successful
ruler. Niccolo breaks down into steps what a ruler
must take into account in order to control the
masses. The character of Lago in Shakespeares
Othello seems to have studied and acted through
Machiavellis teachings. Throughout the entire play
his intentions towards empowerment are shown. Lago
would have prevailed to be a top student in
Machiavellis class with all his cunning and
deception. For the paper, I will dig into
Machiavellis teachings a little deeper to the real
motives behind the man with power.
0, sir, content
you. I follow him to serve my turn upon him. We
cannot all be masters, nor all masters cannot be
truly followed (Shakespeare 5). lago is telling it
how it is. There are those inclined to be leaders
and those destined to be followers. it is lead to
an individuals personal will to decide on what end
he or she shall stand.
It is such a hypocrisy how
Lago is given the name honest throughout the play
just as many rulers have been given that false
name. From the very beginning of Othello, readers
can see the fox in Lago His character is greedy
and his will to his goal is strong. He is strictly
doing things for himself. lago represents a
particular vision of Machiavellian ideology
stemming from a self-interested quest for power
and gain which directly ignores the limits of
social acceptance and traditional bonds. The only
time he does honor such bonds in when it is
benefiting his tactics for deception. An example
of this is how he convinces Roderigo to kill
Cassio for the love of Desdemonia Machiavelli
gives us the Lion and the fox to relate on the
issue of maintaining power.
These two animals are
the two ways of fighting and combat. A balance
must be reached between the two for success. The
lion and the fox are related with regards to the
attributes a prince must have to remain an
effective ruler. The fox has the cunning while the
lion maintains the strength. The strength of the
lion is there to guard off enemies and the fox is
the manipulator. I believe they are both mental
aspects of our minds.
These two thought processes
enable anyone to achieve what it is they want. It
all depends on how bad we want something and what
we are willing to do for it. The emphasis on the
strength of an individuals will to accomplish what
he desires adds a third force to the two usually
claimed to affect the outcome of events. Lago has
small but strong motivation for his plans against
Othello and Cassio. His cruelty is harsh with his
deception of the honest people. This is an example
of how Lago is willing to do whatever it takes to
satisfy his own will.
Machiavelli states that men
are so simple and yield so much to the present
necessities that he who hath a mind to deceive
shall always find another that will be deceived.
In harsh terms, Brabantio and Roderigo are the
perfect suckers for Lago’s plan. lago manipulates
the honesty of these two men to his advantage. I
have no great devotion to the deed, And yet he
hath given me satisfying reason. Tis a man gone.
Forth my sword! He dies (Shakespeare 108)! Readers
can see that Lago abuses the gullible aspect of
Roderigo even up to the point of murdering another
human being. The prince in Othello is clearly
Lago. According to Machiavelli, morality, honesty,
and fidelity are in fact related to the success of
a ruler in that the ruler must know how to utilize
these qualities and talents to his advantage.
this alone we can see a direct link to the
relationship between citizens and politicians. The
masses are given words of morality and justice in
order to keep a sense of belief in our superiors
but are kept blind to the reality that lies
beneath. Rulers set up beliefs as a smoke screen
for people to be kept in darkness. The ignorance
in the honest is abused to the rulers advantage.
The honest cannot know what is happening behind
the scenes or else a revolution can take place.
Two brief but yet in depth examples are slave
owners and the police system. Slaves were told
that their purpose was to be slaves and serve the
white man. This is what was systematically set up
and blacks were supposed to believe this.
Stereotypes are slapped down to keep the ignorant
stable under their rulers position.
the words courtesy, professionalism, and respect
on the side door of their vehicle. This slogan is
being sold for the publics eye to buy. The larger
force of people is kept controlled by believing
this idea but the reality is different. There is
not really an absolute standard to which a monarch
can be held, as the ability to lead would be
undermined if he had to be held to a standard by
which his subjects may not be. In the face of the
public the ruler must seem to have all these
virtues and from time to time must use them in
order to restore faith in him. The police must
catch a couple of bad guys right after they are
caught beating an innocent victim.
must be maintained. Virtue? A fig! Tis in
ourselves that we are thus or thus (Shakespeare
25). It is a mere illusion all the fancy talk of
morals and values. For Lago there is no standard
of virtue that determines the value of one life.
Nietzsche seems also share a similar belief system
to this way of thinking. To be direct and honest
is not safe (Shakespeare 71). Honesty is a vice
for a true ruler according to lago and
The only time it can be used is when
it accords to the advantage of the ruler. The
truth must be abandoned along with pre existing
traditions for a leader to advance. Being honest
and true leaves an opening for other manipulators.
Rulers to keep masses in a bubble of false belief
maneuver the truth. Diabolically evil and
politicians go hand in hand. There is not much
difference between the two. The only time a ruler
can be taken off of the throne is when the truth
is exposed to the public and then a change may
Fidel Castro, is a perfect representation
of The Prince. He keeps the whole island blank as
to what is going on in the outside world. He feeds
the people what he wants them to believe so that
he may remain in power. This is a purely evil deed
when it comes to making other lives suffer. Can
such a man be considered religious? Fortune and
chance appear to be Machiavellis god. A wise
Prince cannot keep his faith when circumstances
prove to turn to his disadvantage.
system is only set up to the individuals personal
advantage. How can a politician use the word god
with the knowledge he possesses of the truth? God
is mentioned only for the sake of the people.
Hopes and dreams are toyed with for the rulers
power. Society is prone to these beliefs for
centuries and will continue to be deceived by a
fox for a politician. Fortune, the goddess more or
less of luck, who spins the wheel of fortune.
Those on top will eventually find that she has
turned the table on them and recognize here to
seize an opportunity when presented to him.
Providence, is God working through a price to
divinely enable greatness in a ruler and lastly,
individual will. These are the three components of
human nature. The predominant factor believed by
Machiavelli is free will.
So it basically stands
that there is belief when the table is turned for
the ruler. Machiavelli is a merchant of illusions.
lago sold everyone the illusion of honesty. His
name was Honest lago where he lied throughout the
entire play. The cruelty of lago is witnessed from
beginning to end. The results were tragic for his
evil intentions. Machiavelli believes that
cruelty, at times, is a necessary tool for a price
to maintain his leadership.
It must be thrown down
to show authority. However, a ruler must not
reveal his ability to be cruel at all times. A
balance between pity and a strong head must be
achieved. It serves as a push a pull system. Feed
the public some good while you are truly doing
something evil behind their backs. Like, buy your
girlfriend some flowers tonight because last night
you didnt show up because you were cheating on
Spank your dog for not listening but then
throw him a biscuit. We can bomb lands overseas
but its okay because we send them food right
before we do it. A ruler must avoid hatred but
must never be thought of as weak. Fear must be an
element at all times. A prince therefore must take
the surest courses he can to maintain his life and
state. The means shall always be thought honorable
and commended by everyone.
Along with following
this rule a reputation is built that the ruler
must not allow to fall. A mans life can be
reflected by his reputation. The importance of
reputation can make or break a mans position and
pride. Reputation, reputation, reputation! 0, I
have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal
part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My
reputation, Lago, my reputation (Shakespeare 50).
Othello clearly gives readers the sense of
importance that reputation carries. Once a ruler
or enterprise loses its reputation, a major loss
of respect goes down with it.
A Prince must
maintain a good reputation throughout his state at
all times. A ruler must be headstrong and a
mastermind with words that appeal to people. He
has to be able to balance the thoughts of others
to agree with his personal intentions. Always
looking one way while actually being another. It
as if the ruler has to portray a mirage that
people cannot break. Pity cannot be a major issue
for a ruler because kindness is taken for
Cruelty must be enforced to reassure a
firm position. Rulers at all time hold the ball in
their court with an advantage to win. Absolute
truth can never be revealed to the public eye or
else the ruler will fall. It has been the story of
mankind repeated over and over. The strong being
controlled by the weak. The public must achieve
knowledge and learn to unify to gain actual power.
The masses must learn to not believe everything
they read, see, or hear.
The media plays a major
role in the deception of our lives in favor of
politicians. The lies spread out and are eaten by
those gullible enough to believe them. It is evil,
but it is the way it is..
Research essay sample on Analysis Of Machiavelli And Othelo In the Prince