Niccolo Machiavelli

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According to legend, just before his death, Niccolo Machiavelli told his friends that had remained faithful to him up until the very end about a dream he had had. In his dream, he had seen a group of peasants, wretched and decrepit in appearance. He asked them who they were. They replied, ‘We are the saintly and the blessed; we are on our way to heaven.’ Then he saw a crowd of formally attired men, aristocratic and grim in appearance, speaking solemnly of important political matters. Again, he asked them who they were and where they were going. ‘We are the damned of Hell’ was their answer. Machiavelli later remarked that he would be far happier in Hell. This story was from Viroli’s Niccolo’s Smile (“The Mask and The Face”). The crowd of noble people from his dream included philosophers like Plato, Plutarch, and Tacitus. His conclusion was that he would rather be in Hell, an unpleasant place, and be with other political theorists like him than in Heaven, a beautiful utopian society, with no one to talk to and to be alone. Machiavelli, the Italian philosopher, and his political views may seem harsh and unrealistic in today’s world, but they also support some realities in modern government and business.

As a child during the Italian Renaissance life was very interesting. The Medici, the ruling family in Florence at the time, greatly influenced Machiavelli. The Medici had a weak military and no political strength in Europe and because of this Italy was invaded by France and Spain. Before and during Machiavelli’s life, his country was engaged in war and involved in cultural revolution, both impacting his way of thinking.

There is not much recorded about Machiavelli’s childhood, but his early life seemed to influence his later work...

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Viroli, Maurizio, and Antony Shugaar. "The Mask and the Face." Introduction. Niccolo's Smile. 1-8. Print.
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