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Machiavelli's The Prince Essay Example

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Machiavelli's The Prince

Machiavelli's The Prince. The present research has identified that morality is the main issue for most of the detractors of Machiavelli and The Prince.  In an age when official sanctions from the Church were viewed as the blessings of heaven and lordship was so closely associated with the Lord, leaders were expected to follow certain moral codes if they were to be considered good.  In one small book, Machiavelli stood this theory of governance on its head by suggesting that the effective leader must look beyond morality and at times cast it aside if he is to obtain or retain his position of power.  In Chapter XV, Machiavelli explains how princes need not worry about virtue and vice.  They must focus on what will keep them in power.

  He states, “And, moreover, he need not worry about incurring the bad reputation of those vices without which it would be difficult to hold his state; since carefully taking everything into account, he will discover that something which appears to be a virtue, if pursued, will end in his destruction; while some other thing which seems to be a vice, if pursued, will result in his safety and his well-being”. In other words, the prince needs to not worry about personal morals or ethics.  That is important is that he obtain or keep power any way he can.  The maxim, “The ends justify the means,” is probably the most famous example of this thought taken from The Prince.  The fact that Machiavelli never said this most famous of sayings is evidence to the fact that maybe there is much in The Prince beyond this maxim.  Is Machiavelli really as ruthless and single-minded about power as the churches, historians and others who have vilified him over the years suggest?  A close reading and knowledge of the historical context that surrounds the book is necessary to answer this question. In order to understand the real meaning of what Machiavelli was saying, we need to understand that he wasn’t just writing a book of advice.  He was trying to share his wisdom with the new ruler of Florence.
 . Machiavelli's The Prince.

Bibliography

Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. Trans. Peter Bondanella. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
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preview essay on Machiavelli's The Prince
  • Pages: 6 (1500 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Literature
  • Level: Undergraduate
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