Virtue and Prince

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The Prince is concerned with autocratic regimes
Autocracy regime
Regime autocracy
a mode or system of rule or government of or relating to an absolute and unrestricted ruler a ruling or prevailing system. domineering or dictatorial a government in power.
Wikipedia
The Qualities of a Prince (Chapters 14-19)
Each of the following chapters presents a discussion about a particular virtue or vice that a prince might have, and is therefore structured in a way which appears like traditional advice for a prince. However the advice is far from traditional. [edit] A Prince's Duty Concerning Military Matters (Chapter 14) Machiavelli believes that a prince's main focus should be on perfecting the art of war. He believes that by taking this profession a ruler will be able to protect his kingdom. He claims that "being disarmed makes you despised." He believes that the only way to ensure loyalty from one's soldiers is to understand military matters. The two activities Machiavelli recommends practicing to prepare for war are physical and mental. Physically, he believes rulers should learn the landscape of their territories. Mentally, he encouraged the study of past military events. He also warns against idleness. [edit] Reputation of a prince (Chapter 15)

Because, says Machiavelli, he wants to write something useful to those who understand, he thought it more fitting "to go directly to the effectual truth ("verità effettuale") of the thing than to the imagination of it". This section is one where Machiavelli’s pragmatic ideal can be seen most clearly. The prince should, ideally, be virtuous, but he should be willing and able to abandon those virtues if it becomes necessary. Concerning the behavior of a prince toward his subjects, Machiavelli announces that he will depart from what other writers say, and writes: Men have imagined republics and principalities that never really existed at all. Yet the way men live is so far removed from the way they ought to live that anyone who abandons what is for what should be pursues his downfall rather than his preservation; for a man who strives after goodness in all his acts is sure to come to ruin, since there are so many men who are not good. Since there are many possible qualities that a prince can be said to possess, he must not be overly concerned about having all the good ones. Also, a prince may be perceived to be merciful, faithful, humane, frank, and religious, but most important is only to seem to have these qualities. A prince cannot truly have these qualities because at times it is necessary to act against them. In fact, he must sometimes deliberately choose evil. Although a bad reputation should be avoided, it is sometimes necessary to have one. [edit] Generosity vs. parsimony (Chapter 16)

If a prince is overly generous to his subjects, Machiavelli asserts he will not be appreciated, and will only cause greed for more. Additionally, being overly generous is not economical, because eventually all resources will be exhausted. This results in higher taxes, and will bring grief upon the prince. Then, if he decides to discontinue or limit his generosity, he will be labeled as a miser. Thus, Machiavelli summarizes that guarding against the people’s hatred is more important than building up a reputation for generosity. A wise prince should be willing to be more reputed a miser than be hated for trying to be too generous. On the other hand: "of what is not yours or your subjects' one can be a bigger giver, as were Cyrus, Caesar, and Alexander, because spending what is someone else's does not take reputation from you but adds it to you; only spending your own hurts you".

[edit] Cruelty vs. mercy (Chapter 17)
Hannibal meeting Scipio Africanus. Machiavelli describes Hannibal as having the "virtue" of "inhuman cruelty". But he lost to someone, Scipio Africanus, who showed the weakness of "excessive mercy" and who could therefore only have had...
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