The Prince

Topics: Political philosophy, Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince Pages: 4 (1544 words) Published: February 27, 2013
“The Prince”
Nicolo Machiavelli wrote The Prince, which has been used by many to learn and understand his realistic political theory. In the text, Machiavelli depicts his very flagrant and stark outlook of human nature. He also goes into explaining why he feels that most human beings are wretched, selfish creatures. Hence his political theory, being is for a prince to control his people is to have them fear him. With my own personal experiences in life, I would have to agree with Machiavelli’s opinion about people and their stingy, self-centered ways.

In chapter 17 of The Prince, Machiavelli’s famous question arises, “Whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but because it is difficult to unite them in one person, is much safer to be feared than loved, when of the two, either must be dispensed with.” (Machiavelli) It is impossible for people to love and fear their prince equally. Which makes it safer that a prince to control his people with fear. Even though he states that people should fear their leader, they should never hate him.

Machiavelli indicates that a number of traits are instinctive in human nature. For example, “In general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous and as long as you succeed they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life and children, as is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you.” (Machiavelli) Machiavelli sees people as deceptive, greedy and extremely unreliable. As noted in his advice about those who claim to be trustworthy in good times, but are always dishonest and will abandon you in times of distress. Said humans can be described as treacherous and not at all loyal.

Also no matter how strongly they might say they love their prince, people will not follow orders if it means sacrificing their own well-being. As most human beings primary...
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