Part a pre-reading Notes

Download 35.27 Kb.
Size35.27 Kb.

English 12
Unit 6 – The Renaissance- Lesson 1 Worksheet- (25 marks)
from “The Prince” by Niccolò Machiavelli translated by Luigi Ricci/revised by E.R.P. Vincent

PART A - Pre-reading Notes

Renaissance means to be “reborn”, and this was certainly a time of growth. However, Renaissance Italy was divided into small states, each with its own form of government and its own laws. Machiavelli’s Florence was one of the most accomplished of these states. It had prospered from its trade, production of cloth, and banking. However, it was weakened by internal rivalries and by the tendency of political groups to bring in outsiders to support their bids for power. This made Florence easy prey to the aggression of other Italian states, and France and Spain.

Machiavelli’s work develops a tradition of political philosophy revived from the ancient world and works of Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle as well as Romans like Cicero, Livy and Tacitus. Machiavelli believed, however, he was different from his predecessors because he dealt with how things were and not how they ought to be.

The Prince” is a treatise on the education of a prince, discussing the qualities that a good prince possesses and the education necessary to create those qualities. Usually, a prince’s education would involve the need for the prince to act like a kindly father to his subjects, but Machiavelli focused on how the prince is to survive in a dangerous and uncertain world with people who are motivated by their basest instincts.

PART B - Pre-reading Focus

There is no pre-reading focus assignment for this lesson.

PART C - Responding to the Selection Questions (20 marks)

Answer the following questions using complete and descriptive sentences. Be sure to make reference to the question in the answer. Do not feel compelled to stick to the spacing limitations below.

1. According to Machiavelli’s writing, why is it necessary for a prince to learn how to do evil?
2. (a) According to Machiavelli, what are the disadvantages of a generous personality for a prince? (b) On the other hand, when is it necessary for a prince to show generosity, and why is it necessary at those times?
3. Machiavelli stated, “There is nothing which destroys itself so much as liberality, for by using it you lose the power of using it…” Explain what Machiavelli meant.

4. The word tough-minded used as an adjective means “shrewd and unsentimental.” Would you agree that Machiavelli constantly urges rulers to be tough-minded? Explain your response.

5. Does Machiavelli provide appropriate and relevant advice for a modern head of state or government leader? Why or why not?

Analyzing Literature: Understanding Machiavelli’s Purpose:
Machiavelli had a definite purpose in writing “The Prince.” He wanted to provide practical advice to a competent leader who would unite Italy and drive out foreigners who had victimized its people. He rejects the traditional notion of a good king and dismisses the Christian virtues of mercy, charity, and kindness.

In addition, Machiavelli stresses the qualities that will enable a prince to survive and to conquer. As Machiavelli initiates his program, he is concerned with human beings as they really are, not as they are imagined to be.

6. Through Machiavelli’s eyes, what views of human nature represent the “real truth” and what notions are imaginary?

7. How does Machiavelli attempt to persuade the reader that he is discussing things as they really are?

8. After reading “The Prince,” explain the ways that Machiavelli suggests that the prince must not consider conventional Christian morality.

Part D- Worksheets 1 and 2 (5 marks)

Worksheet 1- Developing and Supporting a Topic

A composition, whether it is a few paragraphs or a long paper, will be more effective when its topic is well developed and supported. Once the topic has been identified and narrowed, it can be developed further. Three factors to consider in developing a topic are your intended audience, your purpose, and your main idea. The following chart lists some questions that can help you to identify these three major factors in focusing and developing your topic.


Whom am I addressing?
How much do they already know about the topic?
What about my topic might interest them?
What approach might be most effective with them?


Do I want to inform, persuade, entertain, or some combination of these?


Do I have a point to make about my topic?
What do I want to communicate to my audience?
Is my purpose clear from my main idea?
Does my main idea adequately reflect my topic?

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.

1. Audience:

2. Purpose:

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.


objectives, provable statements


usually concrete, specific aspects of the subject


particular instances, both fact and opinion, that illustrate a larger idea, including incidents and analogies; analogies are used to draw parallels between the unknown and something familiar.


logical arguments, including cause and effect, that support an idea or opinion

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.




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.

  1. "A prince, therefore, not being able to exercise this virtue of liberality without risk if it be known, must not, if he be prudent, object to be called miserly."

  1. "The liberality is very necessary to a prince who marches with his armies, and lives by plunder, sack and ransom, and is dealing with the wealth of others, for without it he would not be followed by his soldiers."

  1. "It is, therefore, wiser to have the name of a miser, which produces disgrace without hatred, than to incur of necessity the name of being rapacious, which produces both disgrace and hatred."

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2020
send message

    Main page