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The Dark Lord and The Prince: Machiavellian Elements in Harry Potter Todd J. Ide Michigan State University and Albion College

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Presentation on theme: "The Dark Lord and The Prince: Machiavellian Elements in Harry Potter Todd J. Ide Michigan State University and Albion College"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Dark Lord and The Prince: Machiavellian Elements in Harry Potter Todd J. Ide Michigan State University and Albion College

2 Who is Machiavelli? Really Brief Background Niccolò Machiavelli was a 16 th century statesman, author and philosopher. Served in the republican government of Florence, Italy beginning in 1498.

3 Who is Machiavelli? Really Brief Background That government was overthrown by the Medici family in He was subsequently out of office, imprisoned and tortured for his role in the republic and accusations that he was trying to overthrow the Medici.

4 Who is Machiavelli? Really Brief Background Wrote his political treatise The Prince which takes a practical look at power, its acquisition and retention without consideration of ethical or moral principles. Was an attempt to gain office and favor dedicated The Prince to Lorenzo di Piero de' Medici, ruler of Florence at the time.it

5 Why is Machiavelli Relevant to us and in the study of Harry Potter? His name has since passed into common dialect, referring to any political move that is devious or cunning in nature. Machiavelli wrote it as a practical guide on state craft. It’s application is apparent through a close reading of both texts.

6 “Men change rulers willingly, hoping to better their lot, and this belief makes them take arms against their ruler, but in this they are deceived, as their experience shows that things become worse. This is the result of another very natural and ordinary necessity, which is that a new prince must always inflict harm on those over whom he rules.” – The Prince, Ch. 3 Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

7 Acknowledgement that many in the Wizarding world initially supported Voldemort’s ideas, but lost support as his methods become apparent The selection of Scrimjaw as Minister is the result of the fear of Voldemort. Want appearance of strong leader (HPOP) Kreacher’s betrayal of Sirus because his loyalty was to those who were kind to him. His transformation w/ kindness. (HPDH) Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

8 Umbridge’s allowing extreme punishments (Educational Decree 29) in an effort to gain Filtch as an ally. (HPOP) Umbridege Educational decrees – banning groups, vicious punishment Also the idea of cruelty and cementing ones new leadership. Scrimjaw’s insistence that dangerous times call for extraordinary measures to be taken (HPHBP) Voldemort creating his worst enemy. Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

9 “ For in these instances the Romans did what all wise princes do: they have to look not only to present dangers but also the future ones, and make every effort to forestall them. For, if they are seen from afar, they can easily be remedied, but if you wait until they present themselves, there is no longer time to use medicine, since the malady has become incurable… but when they have not been diagnosed and are allowed to grow so that everyone recognizes them, then there is no longer any remedy for them.” - The Prince, Ch. 3, Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

10 Fudge’s failure to act and believe that Voldemort had returned (HPGF, HPOP) The Dementor’s kiss of Barty Crouch Jr. (HPGF) Percy’s promotion (HPOP) The publishing in the Daily Prophet of the running joke about Harry (let’s hope he doesn’t have a scar, or a tale worthy of Harry Potter) as a way of discrediting him. (HPOP) Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

11 The discrediting of the Dumbledore (HPOP) Umbridege Educational decrees in efforts to cement control and stop opposition (Educational decree 24, etc.) Voldemort’s murder of James and Lily, as well as other actions to secure his power and kill Harry The wizarding war against Voldemort Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

12 At this point one may note that men must be either pampered or annihilated. They avenge light offenses; they cannot avenge severe ones; hence, the harm one does to a man must be such as to obviate any fear of revenge. - The Prince, Ch. 3 Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

13 Failure by MoM to follow advice - Fudge’s efforts to discredit Harry (HPOP), Umbridge (HPOP), Scrimjaw Voldemort opts to destroy. (HPOP, HPHBP, HPDH) Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

14 Machiavelli begins elaborating on the theme of ability versus circumstances in determining a leader’s success or failure. He implies that the leader’s talents are less important than the situation he finds himself in. Machiavelli does this by using the historical examples of Turkey and France and the problems with conquering in maintaining control of either. - The Prince, Ch. 4, p Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

15 Fudge initially gained power at a time of peace and prosperity, but could not maintain his grip on power when circumstances changed. He had very little ability. Scrimjaw succeeded Fudge as Minister of Magic because of his status as an auror and the changed circumstances. (HPHBP) (continued) Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

16 Harry’s selection by Voldemort despite the absence of extraordinary ability and his position as leader of the resistance. (HPHBP) Percy’s promotion despite his failure in his first job Voldemort’s followers – Crabbe, Goyle, etc. Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

17 Like these men, those who become princes through their prowess, obtain their principality with difficulty, or hold onto it with ease, and the difficulties they have in acquiring the principality arrives in part from the new rules and measures that they are forced to introduce in order to found their state and make themselves secure. It should be borne in mind that there is nothing more difficult to manage, or more doubtful success, or more dangerous to handle them to take the lead in inducing a new order of things. - The Prince, Ch. 6, p. 25 Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

18 Voldemort’s self-reliance and lack of trust in others. The Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore’s Army. Umbridge and Snape’s ascension to Headmaster. (HPOP, HPDH) Fudge and Scrimjaw’s efforts with Dumbledore and Harry. (HPHBP, HPDH) Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

19 [P]eople are by nature changeable. It is easy to persuade them about some particular matter, but it is hard to hold them to that persuasion. Hence it is necessary to provide that when they no longer believe, they can be forced to believe. - The Prince, Ch. 6 Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

20 The failure of the MoM to provide satisfactory explanation. (HPOP) The wide acceptance of Harry’s version in The Quibbler. (HPOP) Voldemort’s punishments for Questioning. (HPOP, HPHBP, HPDH) Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

21 Cruel acts, though evil, may be justified when they are done all at once to establish a prince’s power (but not repeated) and turned to the benefit of his subjects. Cruel acts are done badly when they increase over time. A conqueror should decide how many injuries he must inflict up front and do them all at once to keep his subjects from constantly resenting them. But benefits should be handed out gradually, so that people savor them. - The Prince, Ch. 7 Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

22 Voldemort’s withholding of praise Voldemort and his followers increasing acts of violence undermine support Umbridge’s actions. (HPOP) Fudge and Scrimjaw’s actions as Minister of Magic Snape’s regime at Hogwarts. (HPDH) Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

23 And therefore, a wise prince must think of a way by which his subjects will always and in all circumstances have need of his state and of him, and then they will always he loyal to him. - The Prince, Ch. 9 Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

24 Voldemort’s handling of his Death Eaters. Fudge’s attempts to be seen in charge after Voldemort’s return. (HPOP) Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

25 Arms to defend the state are the prince’s own, mercenaries, auxiliaries, or a mix of the three. Mercenaries and auxiliaries are dangerous and unreliable. If a mercenary is talented, he will always be trying to increase his power at the prince’s expense. If he is incompetent, he will ruin the prince. Only princes and republics that can field their own armies can succeed, for mercenaries do nothing but lose. Those who are well armed can live free. - The Prince, Ch. 12 Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

26 Umbridge’s fear of Inquisitorial squad (mercenaries). (HPOP) Voldemort’s Death Eaters and his Dark Army Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore’s Army Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

27 A prince must have no other objective, no other thought, nor take up any profession but that of war, its methods and its discipline, for that is the only art expected of a ruler. And it is of such great value that it not only keeps hereditary princes in power, but often raises men of lowly condition to that rank. - The Prince, Ch. 14 Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

28 The reason the wizarding world opted for Scrimjaw over Fudge. (HPHBP) Voldemort’s study and use of the Dark Arts Dumbledore’s Army (HPOP) Madeye’s advice (HPGF) Defense Against the Dark Arts class Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

29 Therefore, it is necessary for a prince, if he wants to preserve himself, to learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge and not use it as necessity dictates. - The Prince, Ch. 15

30 Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter Fudge and Scrimjaw’s actions (HPOP, HPHBP) Lupin’s advice to Harry on his “signature move” (HPDH) Harry’s use of two out of three unforgivable curses (HPDH) Harry’s half lie to Griphook. (HPDH)

31 Here a question arises: whether it is better to be loved than feared, or the reverse. The answer is, of course, that it would be best to be both loved and feared. But since the two rarely come together, anyone compelled to choose will find greater security in being feared than in being loved.... Love endures by a bond which men, being scoundrels, may break whenever it serves their advantage to do so; but fear is supported by the dread of pain, which is ever present. - The Prince, Ch. 17 Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

32 Voldemort (‘nuff said) Fudge’s attempts to preserve himself (HPOP) Dumbledore (HPOP, HPHBP, HPDH) Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

33 [A prince] is rendered contemptible by being thought changeable, frivolous, effeminate, cowardly, irresolute, … [being seen as such will make him despised. All a prince’s actions should show seriousness, strength, and decisiveness.] - The Prince, Ch. 19 Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

34 Voldemort (‘nuff said) Fudge’s time in office Dumbledore (HPOP, HPHBP, HPDH) Harry’s actions Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

35 Princes, and especially those who are new, have found more loyalty and more usefulness in those men who at the beginning of their rule were considered suspect than those whom at the beginning they trusted. - The Prince, Ch. 19 Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

36 Snape. Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

37 Unless rulers are shrewd about choosing their advisors, they will find themselves surrounded by flatterers. The only way to guard against flattery is to show that you are not offended by the truth. But if anyone can speak their mind to you, you will not be respected. A wise prince will pick intelligent advisors and allow only them to speak frankly, and only when he asks for their opinions. He should listen carefully, but make his own decisions and stick to them. - The Prince, Ch. 23 and 24 Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

38 Failure to heed advice Voldemort Fudge Scrimjaw Succeeds in heeding advice Harry Dumbledore Advice in The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter

39 Machiavelli focused on the nature of man, rather than an idealized version. Within The Prince countless historical examples to support his contentions Man has not changed in 500 years, nor has the actions, desire, and schemes of those who want to gain and hold power. These are predictable, as is the liklihood of their success, using The Prince as a guide. Reflections on the appearance of Machiavellian elements within Harry Potter

40 Questions and/or Comments? The Prince and its manifestations in the canon of Harry Potter


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