Machiavelli and Morality

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  • Topic: Morality, The Prince, Political philosophy
  • Pages : 4 (1563 words )
  • Download(s) : 802
  • Published : March 4, 2001
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When reading Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince, one can't help but grasp Machiavelli's argument that morality and politics can not exist in the same forum. However, when examining Machiavelli's various concepts in depth, one can conclude that perhaps his suggested violence and evil is fueled by a moral end of sorts. First and foremost, one must have the understanding that this book is aimed solely at the Prince or Emperor with the express purpose of aiding him in maintaining power. Therefore, it is essential to grasp his concepts of fortune and virtue. These two contrary concepts reflect the manner in which a Prince should govern while minimizing all chance and uncertainty. This kind of governing demands violence to be taken, however this is only done for the strict purpose of maintaining his throne, and generating both fear and admiration from his people. In all cases of violence, Machiavelli limits the amount of violence that needs to be taken down to the minimum, and most cases the victims of these acts are enemies of the people. Behind the violence, the prince is essentially taking the role of the villain and assuming all "bad" acts so that his people do not have to suffer and commit the acts themselves. In addition, all the Prince asks for is to not threaten his power and to respect it. In the 16th Century, this request is feeble compared to those of other hierarchical Monarchies. In the end, Machiavelli's Prince assumes all the burden of violence while leaving his noble people to act as they feel accordingly without worry of their lively hood. This is Machiavelli's ultimate stroke of morality.

Before examining how the interaction of violence and politics lead to morality in the end, it is important to analyze exactly what Machiavelli demands of his Prince. First and foremost, Machiavelli harps upon the concept of fortune and virtue. By fortune, he means that everything is left to chance, while nothing will guarantee that a certain event will...
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