Discussion Questions 10 — Petrarch; Machiavelli; Native America; De La Cruz

  1. Granted that Machiavelli’s own historical context is remote, how far does his pattern of contrasts between political ideals and concrete realities apply today?

Machiavelli defines the word virtue to not be classified as goodness, temperance and clemency but as a set of forces or skills that may help a leader to efficiently manage and hold his powers as prince. The following paragraph demonstrates a clear view in my eyes of politicians and politics in our world today and through the past years. It seems that as if more rulers seek more fame and fortune than they want to actually do good, they just want their name to be preserved. Around election time (just recently in Alaska!) the politicians play so dirty. I was getting really tired of all the bashing taking place on the television and radio. When they play so dirty it makes you wonder why they really want to lead. To have their name preserved or to actually do some good for the people? Why do the people have to fear the government and there leaders would a leader that was classified as good, temperance and clemency really not do the job? That’s the million dollar question, I suppose.

  1. Sister Juana de la Cruz cuts off her hair to force herself to learn more quickly, although she knows that among young women, “the natural adornment of one’s hair is held in such high esteem.’ Finally, she enters the convent (where woman had their heads shorn). What other works have you read that emphasize the importance of a woman’s hair? Why does it seem to have so much symbolic value in such a range of cultures and times?

 The Disney movie Tangled comes to my mind. Rapunzel’s hair was used to heal wounds and keep her mother young. Her hair was long and beautiful. At the end of the movie when Flynn cut her hair it went short, turned brown and even lost its power!  Hair is a natural part of our body that holds a certain amount of symbolism in nearly all cultures. For instance, Monks shave their head for worship. In relation religious men such as the Nazarites in the Hebrew bible will keep their hair long. Where some cultures may frown upon men with long hair. Long hair can also be a symbol of artistic characteristics such as hippies. Hair is very diverse across the world and shares a great amount of symbolism.

  1. Bear in mind that the Aztec warrior’s highest duty is to bring home live captives for sacrifice. Give the Song for Admonishing a careful reading and decide–without researching the entire Cantares Mexicanos–what possible meaning might be assigned to the figurative terms “flower’ and “song.’

The flower is a symbol of the ever present, and ever near. It is not useless they hold a life of color in that present moment. Both the songs and flowers are beautiful and give the jaguars princes something to look forward too through their war experience. The song is a calling to the warriors to war, and the flowers could be there sign of honor or reward earned.

3 thoughts on “Discussion Questions 10 — Petrarch; Machiavelli; Native America; De La Cruz

  1. sxkristoffersen

    Good example of Tangled. I also came to think of the Game of Thrones series, which has a culture Dothraki that uses long male hair to symbolize power, because if they are ever defeated the victor cuts of the loser’s hair as a form of shame.

  2. megkwag

    I like your take on the what the “flower” and “song” symbolize. I never looked it in that light. I agree though, they could give the warriors something to look forward to!

  3. sehoyos

    I think fear of our own government is very different than in Machiavelli’s time. Today, people are given power, and our nation’s history pushes us to rebel against our government if they are no longer representing our interest. With Princes, however, the citizens are much more susceptible.

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