Nicollo Machiavelli

Machiavelli is often referred to in discussions of politics, ethics, and philosophy through the use of the adjective form of his name: Machiavellian. This word is usually not used as a compliment! People might refer to a “Machiavellian” plan, idea, or act when they’re noting something unscrupulous, cynical, devious, or immoral. This is one way to interpret Machiavelli’s message. Choose one or two sections of this text to analyze carefully. Your thesis should answer these questions: To what extent does the usual interpretation of Machiavelli’s advice seem accurate? Do you find anything in his statements in your chosen section that can be justified from a moral perspective? Or should his thinking be condemned? Or something in between? There is no “right” answer to this question; your analysis just needs to be logical. Your essay should show that you’ve thought about the text (you may use “I” if you wish). Be sure that you clearly present each step in your logical thinking. Choose just one or two sections to analyze in depth; don’t try to cover the whole excerpt. You should be as specific as possible, and you’re welcome to use examples from your own experience and observations. However, the essay should also be grounded in this text. Please be sure that each of your major points is linked back to Machiavelli in some way, either through a quote or paraphrase from his text. Part of the goal of the essay is to show that you have read and understood Machiavelli, though you should avoid summarizing. If you need to summarize as you’re making a point, keep the summary to just 1-2 sentences at most. Each paragraph should consist mainly of your own analysis of Machiavelli’s ideas. Remember not to begin a paragraph with a quotation, since the reader doesn’t yet know why it’s there. Each paragraph should function as a unit of thought, built around one main idea. First introduce a concept in your own words, and then use the quotation as illustration. After the quotation, return to your own analysis. An easy way to remember this pattern is to think of “saying hello” to your quote, then giving the quote, and then “saying goodbye” to it. Limit quotations to just a sentence or two, or even a phrase if possible. How to use MLA style documentation All quotations must be identified in two ways: (a) The author’s words must appear inside quotation marks, even if you’ve borrowed just a few words; (b) The author’s name must appear either in your sentence or inside parentheses at the end of the quotation. The page number on which you found the quotation should also appear in parentheses at the end of the quote. For example, you may begin your sentence by mentioning the author you’ll quote: As Machiavelli writes: “………” In this case, you would need only the page number in parentheses after the quote: (299). Alternatively, you can quote Machiavelli without mentioning his name in your sentence, if you think it’s clear to the reader who is speaking, and you can place his name inside the parenthetical citation after the sentence: “………” (Machiavelli 299). In addition to quotations, an author’s ideas must be attributed to that author. This means that if you’re paraphrasing an idea from Machiavelli (explaining it in your own words), you must still mention that the concept comes from Machiavelli. Either use his name in your sentence or place it in a parenthetical citation, along with the page number, after the borrowed idea. Your essay should also contain a Works Cited page with the texts you’ve used listed in MLA documentation style. At the top of the list, center these words: Works Cited. To list an essay from World of Ideas, use the MLA format for a text collected in an anthology: Machiavelli, Niccolo. “The Qualities of the Prince.” A World of Ideas, 11th Edition. Ed. Lee A. Jacobus. Boston: Bedford/St.Martin’s, 2020. 73-86. If you have any questions about all this, please ask, or send me a partial draft of your paper in a message and I’ll clarify what you need to do. For more explanation about MLA in-text citations and the Works Cited page, visit the OWL at Purdue website: (Links to an external site.) (citations) (Links to an external site.) (works cited) This essay should be based on your own analysis of this text, and I prefer that you do not use outside sources. If you do use outside sources, though, you are responsible for documenting them properly, using one of the standard documentation styles (MLA, APA, etc.). Also, you’re not permitted to use non-academic sites like Wikipedia or Spark Notes, or “cheat” sites like Save-My-Grade. Use only quality sites, preferably those ending with .edu which are posted by a university.

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