GRE Reading Comprehension

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Source: Kaplan

Although The Prince is frequently criticized for what is commonly thought to be the author's advocacy of the admittedly harsh, unscrupulous methods of grabbing power and in ruling, in reality, Machiavelli portrays successful actions that must be taken and that have made for numerous great accomplishments. True, some critics condemn him for being na?ve or for promoting fraud, force, and immorality in politics. Yet these historians fail to praise his ability to separate moral from political issues and ignore that his writing supports a republican form of government by exposing the faults of princedoms. In The Prince, Machiavelli provides illustrations from the lives of legendary leaders such as Caesar, Borgia, and Pope Julius II. Historians have pointed out that it is probable Machiavelli exaggerated or distorted some details regarding various rulers. It is clear, nonetheless, that this 16th-century political scientist is not merely spouting his own philosophies, but had read and observed the most efficient governing tools of the great leaders.

Question List: 1 2 3

The author's primary purpose in the passage is to

  • A suggest that critics of Machiavelli may have mistaken his conclusions in The Prince for his own opinions, rather than his observations
  • B explain how Machiavelli came to the conclusions he did about the "faults of princedoms"
  • C affirm that historians have placed too great an emphasis on Machiavelli's advocacy of the admittedly harsh, unscrupulous methods of grabbing power and in ruling
  • D analyze the thematic coherence underlying Machiavelli's The Prince
  • E produce proof that, in The Prince, Machiavelli satirizes actions that made for numerous great accomplishments

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