Virtu and Fortune in Prince

Topics: Pope Alexander VI, Cesare Borgia, Pope Julius II Pages: 3 (904 words) Published: March 24, 2007


The Prince, written by Machiavelli is concerned with the issues politics, ruling a state and how a ruler or a leader should be. The key properties of a ruler are represented by Machiavelli in details and the inner and outer effects of the success in ruling are mentioned. One of the most important topics in The Prince is about the relationship of skillfulness (virtù) of the ruler and his good or bad chance (fortune) and their effects on gaining and keeping the power. Virtù, which has the present meaning of manliness, is used by Machiavelli as having skills, strength, intelligence and prudence of a ruler. It is the inner ability to gain the power and not to lose it easily. Fortuna, with the present use, fortune is explained as the word of God and the luck and opportunity that is given to the ruler. A ruler by fortune is dependent to outer sources that has given him the power.

When a private individual becomes a ruler, he will need both his inner skills and a good chance to show them. The relationship of fortune and the virtù will bring him the success. Without a chance, the skills will not find a way to show them while gaining the power, and without the skills, given chance can not be used effectively for a long time. Machiavelli shows some examples from the history such as Moses, Cyrus, Romulus and Theseus. All of the mentioned rulers have their good chance once and they use this chance in their own way by showing all their skills and strength. These rulers do not depend on given opportunities but work to make their success long-lasting. As Machiavelli states that "the fortune determines one half of the actions", the other half is controlled by the person himself (pg.74). This is why the given examples are relevant and important to explain the relationship between fortune and virtù.

Moreover, Hiero of Syracuse who is the ruler of Syracuse is an example that explains the role of...
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