Machiavelli clearly explains how there’s a difference between the misuse of mercy and cruelty. “Every prince must desire to be considered merciful and not cruel; nevertheless, he must take care not to misuse this mercy.” This implies that there’s a fine line between what is considered cruel and the “misuse of mercy” according to Machiavelli. He then gives an example of Cesare Borgia, who was seen as cruel but at the same time “brought order to Romagna, united it, restored it to peace and obedience” – he points out the good things that cruelty brings, even if the modern reader doesn’t parallelize his views. Some measure of cruelty is necessary to maintain order. Men will be scared to be punished if the prince is feared, therefore they will maintain their respects toward the pri...
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... “inhuman cruelty…made him always respected and terrifying in the eyes of his soldiers”, and this is also evidence that being feared brings a prince respect and maintains his dignity.
In conclusion, the idea of fear overcoming love in a prince is supported by evidence and examples that Machiavelli suggested. Furthermore, cruelty is a key to respect, and to be feared is a key to loyalty and order, even though compassion is an integral part since it may bring some benefits too. Machiavelli boldly warned us that men are not to be trusted, and that a prince should always set his own rules based on human morality and not what others contemplate. The modern reader will not always approve of Machiavelli’s point of view because of the word “cruelty” since it has the effect of violence, harm, destruction and cold-bloodedness.
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
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