Machiavelli had a very dark ideal of politics and those who rule. It was better to be feared than loved, and you see this in the reality of politics today. Even though he was talking of princes, wars, and the common man the under lying thread of his ideals shines in the light of today’s political circus. How often have you heard someone say they fear what the government might do, or that they feel helpless when faced with authority? How often have you heard a kid say, ‘Act normal there’s a cop’? Why do so many honest people fear those in power? Why do they fear those people they elected to represent them? You see it in ads on the television for help if the IRS is harassing you, as if the government is the bad guy. Fear is a strong emotion and used in propaganda everyday to keep the masses in order and under control. The fear of aging, the fear of poverty, the fear of being different, and the list is endless. Like a surgeon, Machiavelli created his ideal ruler, cutting to the core of the vices and virtues and leaving only the ones which would serve for the betterment of the polis, not the betterment of the man. As he states “…masses are always impressed by the superficial appearance of things…’, and this rings true today. To me it seems his ideals and contrasting realities apply today as easily as they did in his own time.
Rapunzel comes to mind when thinking of long hair. It was her hair that saved her and gave her, her own happily ever after. In fact most folktales and fairy tales feature the girl with long locks. It is a sign of womanhood and beauty. The movie Yentl is similar to the Sister Juana and her passion for learning. It is story of a Jewish girl who cuts her hair, removes her womanhood, to enter religious training reserved for males in the disguise of a boy. Godiva clothed only in her long tresses astride a white horse also comes to mind. The image of a woman in all her glory with hair shining. It is power, it is a veil to hide behind, and it is magic to the poet and lover alike. Cultures around the world celebrate long hair and many to show respect or mourning shear the head or cut the long locks. In some cultures the women cover the hair or wear wigs to hide their hair so not to tempt men. Their hair is to be seen only by family or husbands as a treasured good. To shave your head can mean to remove what makes you a woman, to remove the temptation it causes to protect against the sin of vanity or protect others from sinning for want of you, or to show respect. But women are not alone in the symbolic value of hair, one just need to remember Samson and what pleasure and pain his great hair caused. Hair retains it great symbolic references because it is universal to all cultures and times. For as long as there are human’s heads will be covered in wondrous hair to fill the imagination with new symbols and meanings for the cultures to come.
It can be assigned in figurative terms that the ‘flower’ is the captives either brought back as a prize of great worth or left dead and of no use, and the ‘song’ as the dance of war the sacrifice of the prisoners to the Gods. The more flowers you have, the greater warrior you are and the bigger the sacrifice to the Gods.