Part a pre-reading Notes
EXERCISE A: Analyzing the Development of a Topic.
Reread the first paragraph of the selection from The Prince. On the following lines, state the author's audience, purpose, and main idea.
3. Main Idea:
The main idea, purpose, and a sense of your audience all provide a focus for your composition. However, once a topic is developed, it must be supported; that is, you must cite particular facts and arguments that flesh out your main idea. The following chart includes the major types of supporting information.
Which method you use to support your topic depends largely on your purpose and your audience. Machiavelli's purpose in The Prince, for example, is to persuade the rulers of his choice (the Medicis) to behave in a way that he believes will assure their power. To support his argument, Machiavelli relies on a cause and effect line of reasoning, which he illustrates with a few details and examples drawn from history.
EXERCISE B: Identifying Supporting Information.
On the following lines, write passages from the selection that support Machiavelli's topic. Use your answers to Exercise A as a frame of reference.
1. CAUSE AND EFFECT LINE OF REASONING:
Worksheet 2 - Understanding Machiavelli's Purpose
Machiavelli's purpose in The Prince is to give useful advice to an Italian leader on how to maintain himself in power and thereby unite and serve his people. To that end, Machiavelli proposes that there are vices a leader, or prince, must indulge in and virtues he must not practice. Understanding the reasoning behind this particularly radical advice helps the reader to better appreciate Machiavelli's larger purpose. For example, Machiavelli advocates certain vices because he reasons that one who "makes a profession of goodness in everything" will not survive in a world where, he maintains, few people are good.
Read the following statements from the selection. On the lines that follow, briefly explain the reasoning behind each statement and also how it contributes to Machiavelli's greater purpose.
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