Virtue And Fortune In Machiavelli's The Prince

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Virtue and Fortune in Machiavelli’s The Prince
Throughout The Prince, Machiavelli outlines the characteristics needed to be a strong and admirable leader. He explains that personal characteristics such as courage and compassion, both being aspects of virtue, will earn him praise. However, he feels that this expectation is unrealistic and a prince’s first job is to protect the state, and having “bad” characteristics is sometimes necessary to reach that goal. That being said, in order to protect the state a prince may have to act unscrupulously at times which he believes will bring good fortune in the long run. Machiavelli believes that no matter how a prince acts, whether moral or not, virtue and fortune are the two most influential forces in politics and he shows how, throughout history, they have affected different people in powerful positions. Using the lessons learned by previous people of great political power, Machiavelli points out virtues and fortunes present in the particular cases, while then explaining his beliefs and solutions to the examples from the past. Virtue and fortune go hand in hand throughout this guide. One
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On the other hand, because fortune is unreliable, no matter how virtuous the ruler, the power may be lost as in the case of Cesare Borgia. He was given the chance to be a ruler through inheriting the title from his father, Pope Alexander VI. From Machiavelli’s perspective, during his rule, Borgia portrays his virtue and becomes a good example for other to follow. However, with his father’s early death and his own sickness, fortune does not seem to be on his side and he begins to lose his control. With his final error of choosing the wrong Pope, he completely loses his power. Borgia shows the effects of having bad fortune which lead to bad decisions on his

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