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Did You Know

After leaving Florence, the banished Machiavelli wrote a letter to a friend in which he described his evening activities alone in the countryside: every night, apparently, he would take off his work clothes (remember, he was living on a farm), and would put on the "royal and curial robes" he used to wear at court. Only when he was so splendidly attired, Machiavelli told his friend, did he feel ready to join in the company of ancient kings and princes - in other words, to sit down and write about them in The Prince!

Renaissance dramatists frequently used a stock character in their plays when they needed a villain. This character, meant to exemplify the extreme of irreligious wickedness and immorality, was called the "machiavel." Shakespeare's cunning Iago in Othello is one of his most famous machiavels; the evil Richard III goes even further, declaring onstage that his villainy will "set the murderous Machiavel to school."

Machiavelli devotes a great deal of The Prince to praising powerful popes. Rather than appreciating such flattery, however, the Catholic Church considered Machiavelli's book an enemy to religion - from 1557 onwards, The Prince has been on the Catholic Church's Index Librorum Prohibitorum, or list of forbidden books!

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Important Persons
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Summary of the Argument
Prefatory Letter
Chapters 1 and 2
Chapter 3
Chapters 4 and 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapters 9 and 10
Chapters 11 and 12
Chapters 13 and 14
Chapters 15 and 16
Chapters 17 and 18
Chapters 19 and 20
Chapters 21, 22, and 23
Chapters 24, 25, and 26


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