Hamlet compared with Civil Disobedience

Topics: Niccolò Machiavelli, Political philosophy, Hamlet Pages: 3 (757 words) Published: May 28, 2014
Grace File

Mr. Dainty

AP English 11

13 March 2014

Hamlet - To Be the Prince..or Not To Be the Prince

“It is essential, therefore, for a Prince who desires to maintain his position, to have

learned how to be other than good and to use or not use his goodness as necessity requires” (40

Prince). There are many views on what a good leader may be. In Hamlet, written by William

Shakespeare, there is a loss of a great leader who is replaced by a not so great leader. Niccolo

Machiavelli’s text, The Prince, includes a list of traits that he thought a Prince should possess. An

argument made is whether Claudius or Hamlet would make a better Prince. Both of which, use

their power to try and make a better good; however, Claudius uses his by murder and Hamlet

uses his to get revenge. By following the Machiavellian traits, one can inquire that Hamlet would

be a rightful Prince. Hamlet succeeds in fulfilling the qualities by being noble, having overall

wisdom, and bravery along with strength. These make him fit to rule as a Prince over Claudius.

Machiavelli believed a Prince should possess certain qualities to be successful. He

thought that every Prince should aim to be merciful and not cruel or evil. However, he believed

that the end to a situation would justify the means. Even if it is a bad situation, a Prince must do

what is needed to keep his title. Whether it is being wise about war or being noble for the cause

of others, a Prince should keep in mind to do what is best for him and his Princedom. This is why

Machiavelli said that a Prince must obtain wisdom. A wise Prince will know what to do in almost

every situation, and will be able to handle it. Although a Prince may not possess every quality,

Machiavelli stated in his work, “it is most essential that he should seem to have them” (46

Prince).

Claudius, who replaced the late King Hamlet, made everyone believe that he was a good...
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