Machiavelli and the Elizabethan drama - Edward Stockton Meyer - PDF ebook

Machiavelli and the Elizabethan drama

Machiavelli and the Elizabethan drama

One word by way of the preface is necessary for the understanding of this dissertation. Four years ago when first making the acquaintance of Kyd, Marlowe, Greene, Peele, Jonson, Chapman, Marston, Dekker, Middleton, Webster, Massinger, Ford, and other of Shakspere's great contemporaries.

I was struck by the number of times Machiavelli and Aretino were referred to, and the reckless manner in which, what I then supposed to be the former's political principles, were cited and put into practice by the villains of dramatic literature. Having determined to investigate to what extent this had been done, a careful study was first made of Machiavelli: then the drama was reread. 

To my surprise, I found that what the Elizabethans reverted to so often as the maxims of the Florentine statesman, were, in four cases out of^five, not to be found in his writings at all; but were perverted from the same in a manner in- finitely unjust. 

The natural conclusion was, that they could not have been taken directly from the works of the great politician.

publication date: ( 1897 ) 

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