The Qualities Of The Prince Essay, Research Paper
Essay on Niccolo Machiavelli
Niccolo Machiavelli recommends a very practical course of action for the prince: obtain power by direct and effective means, which is necessary. In the story "The Qualities of the Prince" by Niccoli Machiavelli, the concept "The ends justify the means" is saying that a prince should hold absolute control of their territories, and they should use any means of resort necessary to accomplish this end, including violence and deception.
In this chapter, "On Those Things for Which Men, and Particularly Princes, Are Praised or Blamed,"(Machiavelli 37) he proposes to describe the truth about surviving as a monarch, rather than recommending high moral ideals. He describes those moralities, which, on today?s value, we believe a prince should possess. He also emphasizes that his treatment is meant to be useful for a prince. Thus it pursues "the real truth of the matter," not the many "imagined republics and principalities such as have never been known to exist in reality." A prince should be good or bad as circumstances command. He ends up saying that some "virtues" will lead to a prince?s destruction, whereas some "vices" allow him to survive.
After reading, "On Generosity and Miserliness" he is stating that we commonly think that it is best for a prince to have a reputation of being generous. However, if his generosity is done in secret, no one will know about it and he will be thought to be greedy. If it is done openly, then he risks going broke to maintain his reputation. He will then squeeze more money from his subjects and thus be hated. For Machiavelli, it is best for a prince to have a reputation for being stingy. .
After reading, "On Cruelty and Mercy and Whether It Is Better to Be Loved Than to Be Feared or the Contrary"(Machiavelli 41) he?s arguing that it?s better for a prince to be severe when punishing people rather than merciful. Severity through death sentences affects only a few, but it prevents crimes, which affects many. Further, he argues, it is better to be feared than to be loved, since men cannot be trusted. However, the prince should avoid being hated, which he can easily accomplish by not confiscating the property of his people. A prince should only use capitol punishment only when it?s clearly justified. Only in the army, where strict discipline is essential, is cruelty necessary.
The next chapter, "How a Prince Should Keep His Word" perhaps the most controversial section of "The Prince," Machiavelli argues that the prince should know how to be deceitful when it suits his purpose. When the prince needs to be dishonest, though, he must not appear that way. Good faith and integrity are clearly more praiseworthy then "craft and deceit." However crafty and deceitful princes have historically defeated the faithful princes.
A prince can compete by law or force, as a man or an animal. When competing as an animal, he should be "fox" and "lion," making a show of strength, or cunningly escaping a difficult situation. He also argues that men who commit evil acts achieve political success because they commit those acts properly. He should cheat and break promises when they are against his interest, "as men are naturally bad" and will break their promises to him.
In this section, "On Avoiding Being Despised and Hated"(Machiavelli 46) He indicates that the prince must avoid doing things, which will cause him to be hated. Not confiscating property, and not appearing greedy can accomplish this. On the other hand, good works can sometimes cause hatred, if the people, nobles, or soldiery is corrupt. Thus, there are some instances where doing good is not advisable.