Machiavelli: the Prince

Topics: Niccolò Machiavelli, Cesare Borgia, The Prince Pages: 10 (3633 words) Published: March 15, 2012
Lacey Fierro
AP Euro
12 October 2011

Analysis: The Prince

The ideal prince, for most people, would be one of which who show trustworthiness, mercy, religiousness, etc., all of which are good traits. On the contrary, according to Machiavelli, the ideal prince would at most show none of these traits and yet seem to possess them all at once. The ideal prince for Machiavelli would be one who is cruel and prudent and is more miserly than liberal.

Machiavelli feels that an ideal prince would be cruel enough to bestow enough fear upon his subjects that he would gain respect, while at the same time not gain their hate. A prince would have to be bad rather than good and avoid bad habits, although if it is impossible to avoid them, to at least avoids those that would harm the prince’s reputation more. Stinginess would allow a prince to reign greatly because he is using the money of his citizens instead of his own, allowing him to escape becoming poor, and also to be respected by his citizens because in their eyes, they’ll see him as liberal for being able to maintain and increase revenue which would help to defend himself, and his kingdom against those who seek to overtake him. A prince would do good to be considered feared, for a prince loved, would allow disorders to break out, putting his kingdom in chaos, while one who is feared, will avoid such instances because of his reputation for cruelty. An ideal prince, in Machiavelli’s eyes, would show the characteristics of the fox and the lion well balanced and will be able to deceive those willing to be deceived and get away with it. The ideal prince would be a great listener of advice, but will act independently and on his own accord. Although Machiavelli’s views in the ideal leader contradict with others, who would see it the other way, Machiavelli believes that seeming to obtain good qualities and not have them will help a prince in becoming successful.

Obtaining such qualities as cruelty, miserliness, cunning, and breaking his word, will help a prince greatly in running his kingdom because although he possesses the qualities of which would naturally receive blame by his subjects, he will, instead, be praised. Because his kingdom will be prosperous, his citizens will only expect that the king is doing great things and therefore blindly give him praise for them.

Lacey Fierro
AP Euro
12 October 2011

“The Prince” Questions

1.) Which qualities does Machiavelli say leaders will reap praise? Blame?
Leaders will be able to reap praise if he is trustworthy, merciful, humane, generous, shows a religious affiliation, etc., and if he is able to show all these characteristics, would gain an incredible amount of praise and respect by his people because these are all traits that show him a kind leader.

The qualities that leaders would reap blame from would be those of the opposite. If a leader showed the characteristics of being greedy and rapacious, cruel, arrogant, having no religion, and broke his word on a promise, to his citizens, he would gain a bad reputation and would not be praised at all.

The qualities above that give a leader praise and blame are all according to the words of other writers hoping to give an insight as to what you would need to have in order to become successful in power. Although it seems logical and reasonable to gain praise when you are trustworthy and blame when you are not, Machiavelli sees differently. 2.) Which kind of qualities does Machiavelli recommend rulers to follow?

The very things that would, as stated above, gain blame, Machiavelli recommends rulers to follow. He states that it would be a good thing to be bad, rather than good and that having prudence is necessary in maintaining the state.

Machiavelli states the fact that “many things that appear good will damage a prince‘s power while those that appear bad will enhance it.” In this, he tells rulers that, in being cruel, it...
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