Response to the Prince by Machiavelli

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Your friend insists that Machiavelli believed that gaining power was the ultimate goal, regardless of human morality. Analyze the following passage from The Prince and use this passage to help your friend understand Machiavelli in a different light: “

Yet it cannot be called prowess to kill fellow citizens, to betray friends, to be treacherous, pitiless, irreligious. These ways can win a prince power but not glory”

(The Prince, 29). While you must base your rebuttal to your friend’s position on the above passage, you may quote one secondary example from The Prince (not the lecture) to support your point.

Therefore, when a prince decides to seize a state, he must determine how much injury to inflict. He needs to strike all at once and then refrain from further atrocities. In this way, his subjects will eventually forget the violence and cruelty. Gradually, resentment will fade, and the people will come to appreciate the resulting benefits of the prince’s rule. Most important, a prince should be consistent in the way he treats his subjects. The other way a prince can come to power is through the favor of his fellow citizens. Princes who rise through this route are heads of what Machiavelli calls constitutional principalities.

A prince created by the people must retain the people’s friendship, a fairly easy task. A prince created by the nobles must still try to win over the people’s affection, because they can serve as protection from hostile nobles. Benevolence is the best way to maintain the mandate of the people. If people expect hostility from a prince but instead receive kindness and favors, they feel a great obligation to their prince.

hese chapters describe how different types of princes should establish power, within a state’s environment of fluctuating power dynamics. Machiavelli makes an eloquent argument for the importance of a domestic power base. He does not hesitate to acknowledge the necessity of cruelty and crime in establishing this...
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