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Titill

The Prince and Utopia: The influential dialogue

Útdráttur

In this essay, I examine the extent of the contextual and terminological connection between Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince and Thomas More’s Utopia and the significant influence of these works on later literature. I discuss the connection between the books by comparing what I believe is the focus of each authors’ philosophy. I furthermore compare each work with later works of literature, in order to establish their literature influence. Considering The Prince, I compare the elements of Barabas in Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta, as well as the Prologue character Machiavel. I also examine the Machiavellian characteristics of Richard (III) of Gloucester as he is represented in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, part III. In the case of Utopia, I compare Swift’s utopian vision in Gulliver’s Travels, which deals largely with key elements of More’s Utopia, as well as referring to him directly. Machiavelli wrote The Prince (Il principe) in his native Italian and Thomas More wrote Utopia in Latin. For this reason, my examination of the authors’ use of language and terminology is largely dependent on the scholarship of J.H. Hexter and his essay “The Loom of Language”. Furthermore, the discussion on the contextual connection between The Prince and Utopia relies somewhat on the scholarship of R.W. Chambers. Although both works deal extensively with governmental affairs, neither author was aware of the others work when composing their own. This is quite interesting as the similarities between the two books have to be regarded as more than coincidental. However, it would be impossible, without further research in the contemporary political and literature landscape of England and Italy, to establish why the authors dealt in such detail with the same topics. As a result, this will not be determined in this essay, although possible factors are suggested.

Birting
28.4.2009


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