Can someone please help me with these essay questions?

May 2016
Santa Monica
I have to type an essay up for one of my classes and it's due to tomorrow night. I already typed a rough draft, showed it to my teacher, and she gave me a lot of criticisms that I'm practically clueless on how to fix. So I can on here to get help. Below is the prompt for my essay, and I would very grateful if you guys could just push me in the right direction. You don't to address all the questions, but I would be very grateful if you could explain the ones you do know how to answer. Here's the prompt:

"Identify, and explain the significance of, the main tenets of the Ancient-Modern debate.

Compare and contrast the positions of Boethius and Machiavelli:

Specifically, what is Boethius's conception of human nature? How does he interpret Fortune and the role it plays in human affairs? How does his philosophy of politics, fortune, and human nature influence his understanding of happiness? What does Boethius mean by False Happiness? Why is it false?

Machiavelli intends The Prince to be useful to those who are interested in acquiring and keeping power. To this end, he redefines fortune, the purpose and ends of politics, and the nature of human beings.

What is his new conception of Virtu? Where does one learn this new way of thinking and acting? Why is this important? And, explain his conception of Fortune, and why it is important."

Also, the book I need to use for the question about Boethius is "The Consolation of Philosophy" by Boethius and the book I need to use for the question about Machiavelli is "The Prince" by Machiavelli. If you know where in these books I can find good quotes addressing the prompts, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much.


Forum Staff
May 2013
Albuquerque, NM
Prpin, I'm afraid on this one you're screwed, but there is a valuable lesson to be learned. Lesson: When you are assigned to read two classic texts from authors typically seen as holding differing views, read them both very carefully and thoughtfully. Your assigned essay questions will quickly reveal that you haven't done the work. Even if someone here were to write the essays, it would never pass as your own original work.

Advice: Do the best you can, and throw yourself on the teacher's mercy. Then, spend the time and effort to become intimate with Boethius and Machiavelli. These are two books whose importance to the development of Western history and philosophy make them important, even critical reading for any passably educated person. The Consolation of Philosophy, written while Baethius was awaiting execution, is not pablum to be understood easily by modern high school students. The Prince, on the other hand, is sort of a simplified summary for a lazy student of what Machiavelli had learned over a lifetime of study. The Prince is still rough sledding for many readers, and to truly get a handle on Machiavelli, you need to read his longer work, The Discourses.

There is no way to get away with faking this, you either have studied some important and complex works, or you haven't.
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