The Morals of a Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

The intention of Morals of a Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli is to educate the rulers of this world in how to govern with guidelines that Niccolo uses to emphasize his point. He is brutal  in his ideals of what a truly good ruler needs to possess to have success. The goal of the essay is to secure and stay in power. To whatever means are necessary, power is the ultimate goal.

The arrangement of this essay is divided up into sections that have a different topic for each on the most effective way to have and keep the power a ruler has. Niccolo gives the views of why it is better to be feared than loved and gives points and reasoning for why this is the most effective way to rule.

Niccolo gives logos to the reasons of why being brutal and having people fear you is better than love. He writes short examples of how a ruler’s subjects would take advantage of a ruler who loves and is kind, to which all power would be lost under this kind of rule. Leaders and rulers have to control the kingdom with a fisted hand to keep the ultimate power.

A quote that really stuck out to me in the essay was,“People are less concerned with offending a man who makes himself loved than one who makes himself feared.” This quote emphasizes the need for power to be more important than love and kindness. If a king or leader is kind, people will take advantage of this and not feel remorse. If a king is feared, his subjects will not try and cross him.

–Addy Nichols

“Spending what belongs to other people does no harm to your reputation, rather enhances it,” This quote perhaps explains why building a wall and having Mexico pay for it is such a popular idea. If possible, such an action would save Americans money and serve as an effective display of diplomatic prowess.

“Returning to the question of being feared or loved, I conclude that since men love at their own inclination but can be made to fear at the inclination of the prince, a shrewd prince will lay his foundations on what is under his own control, not on what is controlled by others” This is the epitome of Machiavellian logic. It uses logos to make a morally reprehensible statement seem smart or even just.

This essay hinges on the assumption that men are not good, but “a sad lot”. Therefore, treating your constituents like dirt is justified because otherwise you would be kicked out of power by other immoral people. The argument begins to fall apart, however, when one considers that there are good people in the world who don’t deserve to be duped by their leaders.

— Hannah Doll


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