According to Machiavelli, justice is relative. Prospero on the other hand is a victim of injustice. He feels that he has been treated unfairly by his brother who took away his title and put him to the sea to die. However, the argument by Machiavelli would invalidate Prospero’s idea of injustice (Kee). This is because, Prospero took too much time reading about magic instead of playing his role as a Duke to protect his rightful place in the kingdom. According to Machiavelli’s idea of justice, Prospero failed as a Duke to protect his people from his brother’s desires (Gordon). Machiavelli would applaud Prospero’s brother for ousting Prospero and taking the responsibility that Prospero had abandoned. Justice for Machiavelli is doing whatever it takes to protect and exercise responsibility over what one should.
According to Prospero’s story, civilization causes the loss of humanity. This is evident in the instance where his brother ousts him so that he can inherit his possessions and title. Civilization in this case is a bad thing because people no longer feel obliged to protect other people when it is at the expense of their prosperity. Humanity by Machiavelli is also non-existent (Gordon). This is because, protecting a territory by whatever means could mean killing and imprisoning enemies. This is something Machiavelli seems to have no problem with (Kee). It is an indication that the humanity in his is relative. When people make the prince happy, they are rewarded, when they act contrary to his expectations, they get punished.
The two characters in this discussion have different points of view. Machiavelli is an advocate of acting on necessity while Prospero supports acting on cases as they dully should. Justice and humanity for Prospero is automatic even if at some point he acts against his advocacy by manipulating people using magic. For Machiavelli, they should be applied according to necessity.
Gordon, John. “Discovering Literature: Shakespeare and Renaissance Writers.” 20 July 2010. British Library. Article. 2 December 2017.
Kee, Tan Wei. “Amorality and Justice in Machiavelli’s Political Thought.” 10 May 2011. E-International Relations Students. Article. 2 December 2017.
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