Question and Answers on Shakespeare’s “King Lear” and Machiavelli’s “The Prince”

Question and Answers on Shakespeare’s “King Lear” and Machiavelli’s “The Prince”

Question 1

King Lear is a mediation on human nature. When you look at the major characters, what do you learn about who or what humans are from their actions? Do the characters seem to support or reject Machiavelli’s view of human nature? Pick three characters and describe them.


Cordelia, Regan, and Goneril are some of the significant characters in the play. Cordelia is loving and caring. She receives his father Lear after being humiliated and his all wealth taken away by her two eldest sisters. She also receives his father warmly into her place despite what he did to her. Regan and Goneril, on the other hand, were deceitful and all paid prices for their action. Goneril had a plan to kill her husband, Albany, for his “weakness” when he prevented her from treating her father inhumanly. She also embarrasses Lear in the presence of his Knights. Because of these, she stabs herself and dies. Regan is on the class of Goneril. She is described as a cruel individual because of sending off his father into a “stormy night” with an absence of shelter. She was finally killed after threatening to expose Goneril’s intentions to kill Albany.

From the above description, both Goneril and Regan seem to reject Machiavelli’s view of human nature because of their cruelty and practice of intense deception. Only Cordelia seems to support Machiavelli’s view of human nature. She made sure her father attained and retained his power back by employing the best strategies of his knowledge. Finally, after learning of their characters, their actions originated from different aspects when compared. For the eldest sister, their acts were inhumane unlike for Cordelia.

Question 2

What is due to Lear? Does he need a retinue of knights? How about a Boy Scout with a rubber band? How does one determine what one needs? What does it mean to “reason” needs? What do you, personally, need? How do your needs compare with those of Lear?


Due Lear is a period when his royal wealth was stripped off by her daughter through deceitful acts. King Lear needs an entourage of Knights. He needs protection from the husbands of her daughters because they had evil plans against him. They wanted all the wealth and took over the reign because they had all that it would have to cost them. Also, after being transformed by Cordelia, there was for having Knights to offer protection thus giving people confidence rather than despair. Besides, a Boy Scout with a rubber band requires security to smooth deliverance of his services. There are various ways of determining what one need, for instance, by being keen and observing his character at that moment. Another way is to ask him questions regarding his presence in the venue. “Reason” needs merely means giving concrete reasons for what one is after. Personally, am in need of equity and fair treatment to all characters, people. This is much different from what King Lear was because he did not practice equality and mistreated Cordelia by not giving her a portion of his estate as her daughter. His say on equality suggests suffering with the inclusion of mortality which opposite to my point of view.




Question 3

What do you think of Lear’s daughters? Do you admire any of them? Why or why not? Describe each daughter to answer this question. If you were Cordelia, What would you have done?


King Lear had three daughters; Cordelia who was the youngest, Goneril together with Regan was the oldest. Regan and Goneril are deceitful. They play a game of hollow flattering to him to get what they needed that is the portion of the estate which was given to their husbands respectively. On the other hand, Cordelia is sincere, loving, and generous. She kept herself away from the game of hollow flattering which cost her the portion. Also, when her elder sister visits her, she welcomes her warmly despite what they did to their father. Also, her loving character is ascertained by his father after she goes mad and finds that Cordelia is the only who loves him while others are liars. In this regard, I admire Cordelia for her warm heart and truthiness she portrayed. If I were her, Cordelia, I would have exposed their intentions to King Lear so that the truth can be known early enough thereby preventing what occurred in the end, Regan and Goneril, turned against him leading to his downfall.

Question 4

Lear lives in a world of difference: dignity resides in rank, title and privilege. What is “due” Lear is determined by his station. Equality for Lear means the body, suffering, and mortality. It confers no human dignity. What is “right” about Lear’s world? What is wrong? Which world do you prefer, one of difference or one of equality? Why?

First, Lear is determined by his powers; after its deterioration, he changes from being healthy to mad. Lea’s “right” about the world he was living is that it confers no human understanding. What is wrong is his perception of equality because it does not bring the aspects he has stated — for instance, suffering together with the mortality. On my side, I prefer the world full of equality. The reason behind my stand is because it relieves the social struggles and brings peace among the people and in the entire nation.

Question 5

Describe what happens out on the heath. Who is mad and why? What do you think that madness means? What do you think the heath symbolizes in the play?


Outside of the heath is where the arrangement of taking King Lear into the Dover, where Cordelia forces are located, is taking place.  In this, King Lear is the one who is mad. The reason for being mad is because he received humiliation from the two oldest daughters. This was after flattering him to get the portion of the estate, but after getting it, they turn against him leaving him a poor man. In my point of view, the madness means deprivation of what he has been used to before being switched to rags. Heath is symbolism of what is happening or going through the King’s head.

Question 7

How is this play about the rapidly emerging modern world? What parts of the “old” or traditional world are under attack? What is attacking them? Be specific and discuss at least two.


The play depicts what is really happening and how the worldly materials easily deceive the leaders. Ancient England and Spain are some of the traditional worlds which are under attack. Social injustices and political affairs are attacking the two. First, social injustices have led to class struggles; in turn, have caused the boundary between the poor and rich. Therefore, equality has lost its meaning because of that division and looking upon the poor who are disadvantaged in society. The aspect of political affairs have widened the gap and significant differences being accrued in today’s modern world. This has accelerated social evolution in two ancient countries.

Question 8

What do you think of Lear as a man? As a King? Do you like him, admire him, and respect him? Why or Why not? What advice would Machiavelli give Lear?


Lear as a man he recognizes the lies his daughter taught him to get the estate he was about to share to his daughters. As a king, he rules the people wisely, and he always had a retinue of knights around him. Final deeds determine the character of oneself, and for this reason, I do not like, admire nor respect King Lear. This is because he squandered his estate to people and he did not listen to her younger daughter. In addition, he regrets what he did to her young daughter and admits her love to him. Machiavelli would have given King Lear strategy(ies) on how to acquire and retain his powers after letting it to her daughters. For instance, by discovering the laws of nature and then manipulating them for his gain.