The Power in Human Nature
Machiavelli’s The Prince captures human nature in a more accurate perception than More’s Utopia. The visual given through More’s Utopia portrays society an optimist’s view. More believes that when given all equal opportunities and provisions, people will lead a virtuous, unselfish life. People will work for the benefit of other people in order to create an equal and pleasant society. In More’s belief, people only turn to corruption when faced with shortages or vanity in believing some deserve more than others. Machiavelli, however, envisions society as one that turns to power and satisfaction of vices as seen through The Prince. Machiavelli advises that to keep power one must learn to be corrupt. This advice is given due to the idea that one who knows not corruption and believes in honesty is faced with those who use manipulation as part of the job. In order to understand and handle corruption, first hand experience is necessary in order to recognize it and switch the situation into a self serving outcome. Machiavelli also sees pursuing virtue as an act that leads to ruin, while serving vice will fortify life.
Human nature is one that tends to be drawn to pleasant, satisfactory things. If there is no benefit to the self for actions performed, motivation to perform such actions will be low or nonexistent. As seen throughout history, many actions have been taken in order for people to gain power, even if that action is genocide. Men are willing to step over men in order to have power and make an enjoyable life for the self. Such occurrences can be seen multiple times throughout history, being unprompted and completely by choice of the power hungry. Such actions come from the actions of single men. If there were even a few men who acted in such a way in More’s Utopia, then the balance and equality found would soon be destroyed through the actions of a power hungry individual. It only takes one to destroy peace. As such, Machiavelli’s...
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