In an earlier work, I identified a five-year period in Shakespeare’s career (15951600) in which a series of political plays left behind the more moralistic framework of the early English histories in favour of a dispassionate, distanced analysis of political power in four history plays and in Hamlet.1 This framework can be called a Machiavellian one in that it draws on the humanist, secular worldview famously instantiated in Machiavelli’s The Prince and Discourses, which abandoned earlier Providential historiography in favour of a secular, analytic approach to politics. Of course, Machiavelli was a Janus-like cultural icon of the English Renaissance who had two competing (and sometimes combined) images. The first and the better known of these – Machiavelli as a conniving schemer and intriguer – was represented in the ‘machiavel’ figure of the English drama initiated by Marlowe and Kyd and continued by Shakespeare in Aaron of Titus Andronicus and Richard III early in his career and by Edmund of King Lear and Iago of Othello later. This figure lived on after Shakespeare in plays by Marston, Webster, and others. But the second face of Machiavelli in England – and the one I am primarily concerned with in this article – was the humanist Machiavelli who invented political science as such by taking a completely non-Providential, secular approach to history.