Human Nature in The Prince by Machiavelli and Utopia by Thomas More
It is difficult to determine Niccolo Machiavelli?s and Thomas More?s view on human?s nature. Each took a different approach to the topic. Through Utopia, Thomas More attempted to change man?s thinking by creating an ideological society. Niccolo Machiavelli, through The Prince, attempted to teach man how to deal with human nature. With this in mind, Machiavelli?s concept is much more realistic than More?s; therefore Machiavelli better represents human nature. Machiavelli?s view of human nature in The Prince, presents, on the surface, a view of governing a state drastically different for his time. Machaivelli believed that the ruling Prince should be the sole authority determining every aspect of the state and put into effect a policy which would serve his best interests. With this, Machiavelli uses the prince as man, and the state as the man?s life. These interests were gaining, maintaining, and expanding his political power. Though in some cases Machiavelli may seem harsh and immoral, one must remember that his views were derived from concern of Italy?s unstable political condition in the 1500s. Machiavelli seems to be teaching the common man how to live his life so that their life is good and prosperous. Machiavelli generally distrusted citizens, stating that ??since men are a sorry lot and will not keep their promises to you, you likewise need not keep yours to them? (Machiavelli 651). Furthermore, ? a prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promises? when, ?such an observance of faith would be to his disadvantage; and when the reasons which made him promise are removed? (651). Machiavelli did not feel that a Prince should mistreat the citizens. This suggestion once again to serve the Prince?s best interests. If a Prince can not be both feared and loved, Machiavelli suggests, it would be better for him to be feared by the citizens within his own dogma. He makes the generalization that men are, ?? ungrateful, fickle, simulators and deceivers, avoiders of danger, greedy for gain; and while you work for their good they are yours? (649). He characterizes men as being self-centered and not willing to act in the best interest of the state,? and when it (danger) comes nearer to you they turn away? (649). Machiavelli reinforces the Prince?s need to be feared by stating: ??men are less hesitant about harming someone who makes himself loved than one who makes himself feared?