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.
BibliographyMachiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. Trans. Peter Bondanella. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
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