- Granted that Machiavelli’s own historical context is remote, how far does his pattern of contrasts between political ideals and concrete realities apply today?
From my understanding, I think that Machiavelli understood the very unreal, yet favorable characteristics of an ideal prince, today we could maybe compare it to a political figure, or a renowned figure in a church, like a priest. I guess this is very apropo considering we are in the middle of an election… Every ad you hear on the radio is slandering the apposing candidate, there is never anything good said about anyone. It is hard to trust anything. “How praiseworthy it is for a prince to keep his word and live with integrity rather than by craftiness, everyone understands; yet we see from recent experience that those princes have accomplished most who paid little heed to keeping promises, but who knew how to manipulate the minds of men craftily’ (The Prince/1613). Take almost any political figure and you will see this in some way shape or form.
- 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?
What first came to mind for me was the Bible story of Samson and Delilah… Although this story the mans hair has the value. Samson had long hair, (I don’t know how beautiful it was, I’m thinking it was a little more on the unkempt side…) however it gave him power and strength. When Delilah cut it, he was helpless. I feel as if this story, even though with a man, portrays the emphasis pretty well. You could also go with the story of Rupunzel, when the evil witch cuts her long luscious locks it as if her womanhood was taken from her. I think that well adorned, beautiful hair portrayed not only a more feminine woman, but also power.
- 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.’
I think that the symbolic terms for the two may be that the flower is the captive, and the song is the story of the capturing. The more flowers that the Aztec brings home, the more successful he is considered and the longer his song is. It also reminds me of old folk tales sung about people, I think it could be safely assumed that the longer your story, the more impressive your life was.