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Broadcaster: BBC 1
Year: 2013
Genre: Renaissance Drama, Renaissance Literature, Documentary
URL: http://bobnational.net/record/290922

Review by: Lerah Mae Barcenilla

This programme is particularly relevant to the modules EN1050: Shakespeare and His Contemporaries and EN2020: Renaissance Literature. Renaissance literature echoes of Niccolò Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’ and the principles discussed in this book can be seen through certain characters in Renaissance drama. These Machiavellian characters, as they are frequently referred to (such as Shakespeare’s Richard III and Marlowe’s Barabas, to name a few), believe it is ‘better to be feared than loved’.

With the haunting voice of Peter Capaldi reading sections of the book and the applications of ‘The Prince’ in a contemporary setting, this programme may aid students in understanding what it means to be a ‘Machiavellian’ character.

It is worth watching the whole episode, but here are particular scenes of note:

  • 0:08:40 – introduction, “Machiavellian” and its implications
  • 0:07:05 – context: at the time of Machiavelli’s writing, what may have driven him to write ‘The Prince’
  • 0:14:00 – 0:15:10 – Peter Capaldi reads a section of ‘The Prince’
  • 0:23:13 – Richard III
  • 0:26:30 – ‘Game of Thrones’: “Yet we who presume to rule must sometimes do vile things – for the good of the realm.”
  • 0:29:10 – corporate, modern day Machiavellians, google and other companies.
  • 0:31:20 – concept of ‘Fortuna’, luck
  • 1:00:50 – what happened to Machiavelli?