Machiavellianism is “the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct”. The word describes a person’s tendency to be unemotional, and detach from conventional morality. Hence, they’re more apt to deceive and manipulate others. In Final Fantasy XII, two characters come to mind to fir this description, Vayne Solidor, and Princess Ashe.
First, let’s discuss Vayne:
Driven by the desire to become a new Dynast King, Vayne is lauded by friend and foe alike as a devious politician, skillful leader and administrator, and a military genius. Vayne is ruthless, manipulative, and obsessed with power. He allows no distractions or obstacles to his goals, removing them by whatever means needed. Vayne is not a brute, however, and is intelligent and pragmatic in his pursuits, recognizing the value of political pawns he can hold over others by keeping enemies alive or manipulating their actions. Vayne values the legacy and stability of Archadia and House Solidor and will use any means to safeguard them. Though he is stated to have executed two of his brothers for treason, Vayne holds a soft spot for his younger brother, Larsa.
Now, let’s discuss Ashe:
Ashe is fiercely independent and driven and will stop at nothing to restore her family to its rightful place. She is proud, indignant, determined and loyal. Her façade can be broken by memories of Lord Rasler, reminding her of the joyful and easier times of her youth. Ashe’s true strength is the ability to turn down great power even while being faced with that same power backing her adversary, realizing it would corrupt the ideals she has lived her life by.
They’re both politicians. They do whatever they can to secure power. Both are intelligent. They each find other methods to achieve their goals.
But Ashe reigns in the end. Vayne’s plans lead to his downfall.