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All's fair in love and war: Machiavelli's Clizia

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In his play Clizia Machiavelli explores the nature of comedy, indicating the rhetorical difference between his political and his literary works. Comedy, a safe and decent medium that is at the same time subversive and appealing to the young, provides the means for instructing the future prince about the art of love. This education is necessary, according to Machiavelli, because the erotic desires and longings of the future prince guide his princely ambition while posing a danger to its successful accomplishment. The more subversive and indecent aspect to this education, however, is Machiavelli's attempt to undermine the piety of the future prince by raising profound questions about love and the Providence of the God of Love in order to replace it with his own teaching on virtu and Fortuna.
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Keywords: Clizia; Florence; Fortune; God of Love; Machiavelli; Providence; art of love; art of war; comedy; eros; friendship; love; plays; wisdom

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Griffith University, School of Politics and Public Policy, Nathan Campus, Queensland 4111, Australia. Email:[email protected]

Publication date: 1998-04-01

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