Summary Of Machiavelli's The Prince

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Chapter nineteen of The Prince deals with the idea that princes should complete actions that would make his subjects believe that he is outstanding. The concept behind this idea is the striking intended image that they want their subjects to see and make their decisions based on that intended image in order to keep power. As stated in chapter eighteen, “Everyone sees what you appear to be, few really know who you are…” (95). As long as the prince is able to make his subjects believe that he is outstanding then he will be able to keep his power. At the beginning of the chapter Machiavelli states that, “Nothing makes a prince so greatly esteemed as do great campaigns and giving rare examples of himself,” (108). The concept created by this statement…show more content…
His reasoning behind this is, “For if two powerful neighbors of yours come to blows either they are of a quality that if one of them wins you have to fear the victor or not,” (110). The concept behind this statement is that the prince should make a decision based on which of the two will more significantly improve his intended public image. The flaw in this is that he uses the impersonal tu, indicating that his target audience for this concept is not the prince but instead the common people. He wants the subjects to know of the false rhetoric that rulers use to deceive them. Machiavelli uses Antiochus as an example of this concept but instead he ends up being an antithesis to the concept because, “Antiochus sent orators to the Achaeans…to encourage them to remain neutral,” (110). The step that Machiavelli skips in this concept is that he assumes that the prince can tolerate being on the losing side. Just earlier in this chapter, Machiavelli spoke of how, “Nothing makes a prince so greatly esteemed as do great campaigns…” (108). There is no reason that a prince should have to risk his public image by making a hurried or rash decision. Taking the time to weigh which side has the advantages helps the prince in the long run because he will probably be on the winning side, thus giving him something else to add on his resume of conquests. The concept…show more content…
No matter which side the prince chooses he will have something to gain out of the partnership. The concept that the decision between two brings up is that princes make decisions based on how they will affect his public image. If the side the prince adheres with emerges victorious, “…He is obliged to you, and there is a contract of love,” (110). This means that in the future, the prince will have the advantage of having a country indebted to him, which only serves to create a gain for him. This partnership will help his image because it offers the prince another grand conquest that will improve his public image. On the other hand, he must give up some his authority in order to join ranks with the winning side, which will damage his public image because even though he joined a winning crusade, he was not the driving force behind it. On the other hand, if he joins with the losing side, “You become a partner in a fortune that can rise again,” (110). As opposed to the joining the winning side, the prince will have to give up some of his esteemed public image in order to join the losing side. His gain from this partnership may be even greater because by helping bringing a fallen state back to old heights, he shows his subjects that his presence is so dominating that he can help even the weakest causes. In
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