How can I discuss reputation and honor by exploring the texts The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli and Julius Caesar by Shakespeare?

In The Prince, Machiavelli argues that a leader's reputation and honor are all important. Perception is reality. A prince doesn't have to be virtuous, but must appear virtuous to the people he is leading. The most effective prince, won't, in reality, possess the qualities that the common people admire and expect, such as mercy, kindness, loyalty and religious faith. On the contrary, he will need to be able to violate those virtues in order to survive: the best prince is, in fact, a pragmatist, who must have the cunning of a lion in avoiding traps. However his reputation with the common people must remain strong so that it will more difficult for his enemies to plot successfully against him.

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In The Prince Machiavelli argues that a leader's reputation and honor are all important. Perception is reality. A prince doesn't have to be virtuous, but must appear virtuous to the people he is leading. The most effective prince, won't, in reality, possess the qualities that the common people admire...

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In The PrinceMachiavelli argues that a leader's reputation and honor are all important. Perception is reality. A prince doesn't have to be virtuous, but must appear virtuous to the people he is leading. The most effective prince, won't, in reality, possess the qualities that the common people admire and expect, such as mercy, kindness, loyalty and religious faith. On the contrary, he will need to be able to violate those virtues in order to survive: the best prince is, in fact, a pragmatist, who must have the cunning of a lion in avoiding traps. However, his reputation with the common people must remain strong, so that it will more difficult for his enemies to plot successfully against him.

This pragmatism or realism flies in the face of Shakespeare's more conventional notions of good kingship, in which a leader, ideally, possesses the virtues he claims.  In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Antony, therefore, is not portrayed as the most admirable character, but he is the most Machiavellian figure in the play. He is the master of rhetoric, of appearing virtuous while not actually being virtuous. Although he characterizes himself as a "plain, blunt man," he is anything but that: he will do whatever he needs to do to get ahead, such as using his skills as a speaker to sway the crowd against Brutus or, on a personal level, using Lepidus as a "creature" or tool. 

In exploring both texts, it is important to look at what ultimately happens to Antony--he loses--and how this might be a way Shakespeare is commenting on the Machiavellian prince figure. 

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Machiavelli claims that reputation is gained as a Prince by committing great deeds that keep the populace entertained. These great deeds show "proof of his capacity" as a Prince. Not only does the Prince need to perform great deeds, but he also has to be successful in completing those deeds. As an example, Machiavelli uses the King of Spain, Ferdinand of Aragon, to show how his constant expansion of his country through war kept allowed him to keep a good reputation with his citizens. He deceived his followers under the guise of a "cloak of religion" to gain and keep their approval. Because Ferdinand was constantly seeking more and more land in the name of Christianity, he was able to fully supply his armies with money from the church and his people, ensuring his success. Of all the things a Prince must possess to be successful, the reputation he has with his people is the most important, for if a Prince is thought of as being cruel or a liar, he will surely be overthrown.

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