Niccolo Machiavelli » The Prince

For sheer volume and intensity, studies of have far exceeded those directed at Machiavelli's though the latter work has been acknowledged an essential companion piece to the former. All of the author's subsequent studies treating history, political science, and military theory stem from this voluminous dissertation containing the most original thought of Machiavelli. Less flamboyant than and narrower in its margin for interpretation, the contains Machiavelli's undisguised admiration for ancient governmental forms, and his most eloquent, thoroughly explicated republicanism. Commentators have noted the presence of a gravity and skillful rhetoric that at times punctuate but are in full evidence only in that work's final chapter, a memorable exhortation to the Medicis to resist foreign tyranny. The also presents that methodical extrapolation of political theory from historical documentation which is intermittent in Max Lerner has observed that "if is great because it gives us the grammar of power for a government, are great because they give us the philosophy of organic unity not in a government but in a state, and the conditions under which alone a culture can survive."It has been deemed not at all incongruous that an intellect immersed in historical circumstance and political impetus should so naturally embrace comedy as well. For Machiavelli regarded comedy exactly as he conceived history: an interplay of forces leading unavoidably to a given result. Machiavelli's his only work in the comedic genre, clearly reflected this parallel. De Sanctis has remarked that "under the frivolous surface [of ] are hidden the profoundest complexities of the inner life, and the action is propelled by spiritual forces as inevitable as fate. It is enough to know the characters to guess the end." The drama's scenario concerns Callimaco's desire to bed Lucrezia, the beautiful young wife of a doddering fool, Nicia, who is obsessed with begetting a son. Masquerading as a doctor, Callimaco advises Nicia to administer a potion of mandrake to Lucrezia to render her fertile, but also warns that the drug will have fatal implications for the first man to have intercourse with her. He slyly suggests to Nicio that a dupe be found for this purpose. Persuaded by her confessor, a knavish cleric, to comply with her husband's wishes, the virtuous Lucrezia at last allows Callimaco into her bed, where he has no difficulty convincing her to accept him as her lover on a more permanent basis. Tales of this sort" replete with transparent devices, mistaken identities, and cynical, often anticlerical overtones" were already commonplace throughout Europe by the Middle Ages, though critics have remarked that Machiavelli lent freshness to even this hackneyed material. Sydney Anglo has commended his "clear, crisp repartee" and ability "to nudge our ribs at improprieties and double-meanings," despite characterization that is "rudimentary, haphazard, and inconsistent, with even protagonists going through their motions like automata." Macaulay, on the other hand, has applauded the play's "correct and vigorous delineation of human nature."

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-ESSAY : Machiavelli and the Moral Dilemma of Statecraft

Critics have found it ironic that the fiercely republican Machiavelli should have written a handbook advising an autocratic leader how best to acquire and maintain power and security. Machiavelli was acutely aware, however, of foreign threats to Italian autonomy and thus deemed it necessary for a strong prince to thwart French and Spanish hegemony. Hence addressed to the ruling Medici. He believed that a shrewd head of state, exemplified by Borgia, was essential to sublimating self-interest to common welfare. Since handbooks of conduct meeting monarchal needs had become immensely popular by the 1400s, the external form of was neither startling nor particularly remarkable to Machiavelli's contemporaries. Yet, from its initial appearance, proved no mere manual of protocol nor, for that matter, of even conventional strategy. In its chapters, Machiavelli delineated a typology of sovereignties and the deployment of available forces military, political, or psychological to acquire and retain them. is the first political treatise to divorce statecraft from ethics; as Machiavelli wrote: How one lives is so far removed from how one ought to live that he who abandons what one does for what one ought to do, learns rather his own ruin than his preservation. Adding to his unflinching realism the common Renaissance belief in humanity's capacity for determining its own destiny, Machiavelli posited two fundamentals necessary for effective political leadership: and refers to the prince's own abilities (ideally a combination of leonine force and vulpine cunning); to the unpredictable influence of fortune. In a significant departure from previous political thought, the designs of Providence play no part in Machiavelli's scheme. On issues of leadership hitherto masked by other political theorists in vague diplomatic terms, Machiavelli presented his theses in direct, candid, and often passionate speech, employing easily grasped metaphors and structuring the whole in an aphoristic vein which lends it a compelling authority.

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Modern critics, noting these crucial distinctions, have engaged in a prolonged and animated discussion concerning Machiavelli's true intent in An anomalous seventeenth-century commentator, philosopher Pierre Bayle, found it "strange" that "there are so many people, who believe, that Machiavel teaches princes dangerous politics; for on the contrary princes have taught Machiavel what he has written." Since Bayle's time, further analysis has prompted the most prolonged and animated discussion relating to the work: the true intent of its creator. Was the treatise, as Bayle suggested, a faithful representation of princely conduct which might justifiably incriminate its subjects but not its chronicler? Or had Machiavelli, in his manner of presentation, devised the volume as a vehicle for his own commentary? Still more calculatedly, had the author superseded description in ably providing a legacy for despots? A single conclusion concerning the author's motive has not been drawn, though patterns of conjecture have certainly appeared within Machiavelli's critical heritage. Lord Macaulay, in emphasizing the writer's republican zeal and those privations he suffered in its behalf, has contended that it is "inconceivable that the martyr of freedom should have designedly acted as the apostle of tyranny," and that "the peculiar immorality which has rendered unpopular ... belonged rather to the age than to the man." Others have echoed this suggestion, examining the work in its historical context: John Addington Symonds has deemed it "simply a handbook of princecraft, as that art was commonly received in Italy, where the principles of public morality had been translated into terms of material aggrandisement, glory, gain, and greatness." Many have urged that Machiavelli intended the treatise as a veiled satiric attack on the methods of Italian tyranny or, by abstruse methods, its converse" a paean to patriotism and sensible government, grounded in a clear-sighted knowledge of the corrupt human condition. According to Harold J. Laski, "is a text-book for the house of Medici set out in the terms their own history would make them appreciate and, so set out, that its author might hope for their realization of his insight into the business of government." While ultimately unable to agree on the underlying purpose of nearly all critics have nonetheless been persuaded of its masterful composition, even when unwilling to endorse its precepts. Macaulay has affirmed that the "judicious and candid mind of Machiavelli shows itself in his luminous, manly, and polished language." And Francesco De Sanctis has determined that "where he was quite unconscious of form, he was a master of form. Without looking for Italian prose he found it."

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Essay on The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Machiavelli the prince summary essay

Machiavelli's advice on the treatment of one's citizens is the most revealing:

A prince...ought to encourage his citizens peaceably to pursue their affairs, whether in trade, in agriculture, or in any other human acitivity, so that no one will hesitate to improve his possessions for fear that they will be taken from him, and no one will hesitate to open a new avenue of trade for fear of taxes.

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The Art of War & The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Machiavelli was born in Florence to an established though not particularly affluent middle-class family whose members had traditionally filled responsible positions in local government. While little of the author's early life has been documented, it is known that as a boy he learned Latin and that he quickly became an assiduous reader of the ancient classics. Among these, he highly prized his copy of Livy's history of the Roman Republic. Machiavelli's first recorded involvement in the volatile Florentine political scene occurred in 1498, when he helped the political faction that deposed Girolamo Savonarola, then the dominant religious and political figure in Florence. In the same year Machiavelli was appointed to the second chancery of the republic. As chancellor and secretary to the Ten of Liberty and Peace, a sensitive government agency dealing chiefly with warfare and foreign affairs, Machiavelli participated both in domestic politics and in diplomatic missions to foreign governments. These posts afforded him innumerable opportunities over the next fourteen years to closely examine the inner workings of government and to meet prominent individuals, among them Cesare Borgia, who furnished the young diplomat with the major profile in leadership for Machiavelli quickly gained political prominence and influence; by 1502 he was a well-respected assistant to the republican or head of state, Piero Soderini.

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Machiavelli The Prince Chapter XVII

This must be examined in some detail, beginning with Machiavelli's advice to a prince:

For by arming your subjects, you make their arms your own [].