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In this paper, I explore the recursive nature of cultural commentary as it is informed by evolution of the monster. As one culture rises to prominence, so does the monster which comments upon it. I specifically examine the cultural monstrosity of the Machiavellian archetype as it is portrayed across time, first placing Machiavelli's theory in its original context, then branching out to the cultural context surrounding its appearance in both the literature of Renaissance England and the stories of today. Once I set up the broader theoretical context, I probe more deeply into two literary depictions of the Machiavel: Iago from Othello (1603) and Negan from The Walking Dead (2003-2019). I first investigate each character within the limitations of Machiavelli’s actual musings then within the contextual (mis)understanding of Machiavelli’s statutes. I ask three questions: Is the Machiavel a monster? What is the Machiavel trying to tell us? Why should we listen?


Course: ENG 493, Senior Capstone (Dr. Lorne Mook)

Faculty Project Advisor: Dr. Aaron Housholder