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Themes in Machiavelli's The Mandrake include:

1) Deception is a valid option if it achieves positive or favored results. This is by far, the main theme of the play. In the story, Callimaco lusts after another man's wife. Callimaco wants to bed Lucrezia badly. Unfortunately for Callimaco, Lucrezia is not only beautiful but quite the virtuous soul; she would never willingly sleep with another man. He enlists the aid of one Ligurio, a shrewd but dishonest marriage broker. Callimaco is willing to try anything

...even if it is grandiose, or dangerous, or harmful, or infamous. It’s better to die than to live like this...

Both convince the gullible Nicia that the remedy for Lucrezia's supposed infertility is the mandragola. Callimaco, disguised as a doctor, tells Nicia that if it weren't for the mandragola, any number of French princesses and even the Queen of France would be barren. However, he also warns Nicia that the first man to sleep with Lucrezia after she has ingested the potion would...

(The entire section contains 819 words.)

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