In his guide to rule, Machiavelli teaches that those who come to power through luck encounter difficulty when attempting to maintain that power (21). This statement irrefutably describes the situation of King Edward II. King Edward acquired power through succession and from Marlowe's portrayal of his rule it is apparent that Edward is confronted with obstacles that threaten to cause the collapse of his authority. These obstacles are not a result of the dissatisfaction of the military or populace. Rather these obstacles derive from the anger of Edward's subjects due to his lack of strength. Using Machiavelli's description of rulers, Edward's reign is one dominated by ""effeminacy and cowardice"" (48). Ultimately, the hostility displayed by the subjects in response to Edward's vulnerability lead to his death. Edward II would not have met opposition if he had implemented Machiavelli's suggestions concerning the elite, using cruelty properly, and changing policies as times change. Furthermore, if Edward had heeded the demands of the nobles and or taken corrective action on them for ridiculing his authority, his removal from the throne would not have occurred. .
As stated in the introduction, Edward's rule is primarily one of effeminacy and cowardice, instead of the prototypical ruler qualities of courage and strength. In fact, Machiavelli cites an example where such weak qualities are destructive to a ruler. Machiavelli tells of Alexander the Great's murder for appearing to be effeminate like Edward (60). The effeminacy of Edward can be seen by his passion with a character named Gaveston. Gaveston has such a profound impact on Edward that, Edward demonstrates more love for him than he does for the queen. In addition, Edward considers Gaveston an equal (1.141) and is more concerned with satisfying the needs of his minion than guarding his country from invaders. Edward fears living without Gaveston more than he fears being conquered by the French or Scots.