Machiavelli and Middle Ages Essay

1660 WordsMar 6, 20137 Pages
To Machiavelli, men are evil and selfish by nature. Men "are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous", as he asserts in “The Prince”. Therefore, the prince must be clever and devious, unfair and cruel. He says that men are only concerned about their safety and on how to increase their power over others. Only a strong state ruled by a smart prince with unscrupulous morals can ensure a social order. Machiavelli was the first to use the word “State” in its modern sense. His political ideas were practical and represented a realistic way to view the government. According to him, the prince must be a clever person, able to manipulate any kind of situation. He must possess skills, strength and intuition to overcome obstacles. He should be also able to react to unexpected changes by seeking support or by forcing betrayals depending in the circumstances. The prince might not possess any virtue but he must be able to pretend that he possesses them all. “The Prince” is like a manual giving advice to the rulers, and here it is where Machiavelli’s famous quote arises “The ends justify the means” A prince must maintain the power no matter what. A prince must know the art of war because this would be helpful for him to get the appreciation of his soldiers, to get to know his country and to understand how to defend it. Machiavelli highlights two attitudes of the people towards the ruler; love and fear. Most importantly, he should always avoid being hated. Machiavelli says that it is better to be feared than loved because men are less afraid of offending their loved ones since love is maintained by a link that could break as consequence of men’s nature of evil. By contrast, fear is maintained by the fear itself of punishment. A very important point Machiavelli makes is that a prince should keep his word. If he does, he would be praised by his people and they would be

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