The scholarly ambiguity over the proper understanding of Machiavelli’s political thought characterizes the scholarship in his literary works as well. The tragic interpretation of Machiavelli’s literary works posits that Machiavelli’s understanding of virtue fails to provide humanity the means by which fortune can be overcome. In contrast, the comic interpretation argues that man is virtuous and prudent enough to conquer fortune. To accomplish this, one must only follow Machiavelli’s political teaching. I address this tension through analysis of conspiracy in Machiavelli’s Clizia. Sofronia’s successful conspiracy attests to the utility of Machiavelli’s account of virtue in overcoming fortune and speaks to the comic quality of Machiavelli’s political and literary works. The argument advanced here also speaks to the conspiratorial quality of Machiavelli’s political and philosophic enterprise.
Machiavelli At Wits End: Virtue, Fortune and the Purpose of Comedy.
Undergraduate Review, 7, 87-92.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/undergrad_rev/vol7/iss1/18
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