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Reading Machiavelli$
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John P. McCormick

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691183503

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691183503.001.0001

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The Passion of Duke Valentino

The Passion of Duke Valentino

Cesare Borgia, Biblical Allegory, and The Prince

Chapter:
(p.21) 1 The Passion of Duke Valentino
Source:
Reading Machiavelli
Author(s):

John P. McCormick

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691183503.003.0002

This chapter demonstrates how Machiavelli's narrative of Cesare Borgia's career—to which he devotes more space than any other in The Prince—is presented as a story in which a holy father sends his son to redeem, and to bring peace to, his people. All of a sudden, religious tropes or images jump out and impose themselves on the reader in potentially subversive ways: one begins to discern the presence of the crucifixion, the transfiguration, a circumcision, a bloody sacrifice that atones for political sins, an empty tomb, even St. Paul—all of which signify Machiavelli's beliefs concerning the appropriate covenants that should characterize prince-people relationships.

Keywords:   Niccolò Machiavelli, Cesare Borgia, The Prince, religious tropes, crucifixion, transfiguration

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