The Nature of Political Power in Comparative Literature Comparison Essay by Research Group

The Nature of Political Power in Comparative Literature
The paper discusses the differences in the way power is portrayed in literary works from different historical eras.
# 27945 | 1,975 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Jun 19, 2003 in Literature (Comparative Literature)

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The main point of the paper is that the way power is portrayed is dependent on the historical era from which the literary work emerges. The paper examines how power is seen in stark terms in many works in which human beings act out power plays fueled by ambition, hatred, lust and similar basic emotions. It also analyzes how in ancient Greece, represented by "The Odyssey", Homer shows human beings not only as power brokers in their own right but as pawns in power struggles among the gods. The paper discusses how Jonathan Swift in "Gulliver's Travels" satirizes the operation of political power in his own era, while Machiavelli in "The Prince" suggests how political power should be taken, utilized, and maintained by the ruler.

From the Paper:

"Machiavelli in The Prince seems to suggest that vice may sometimes replace virtue if the ends can be said to justify the means. This applies to the Prince because for Machiavelli, human nature tends toward evil and needs to be controlled. The ruler is thus given the right to use immoral means to consolidate and preserve the power that is necessary to keep society from disintegrating. The protection of the state is of paramount importance, and the Prince is justified to use whatever means are necessary to see that this is accomplished. However, this does not mean that Machiavelli advocated widespread vice or that he did not understand the need for and the nature of virtue. A morally decadent society would not long stand, and the immorality of the Prince was indeed allowed to enforce the morality of the state itself and to promote morality among the people."

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