The Dimensions of Morality in The Prince and The Republic of Plato
1016 Words5 Pages
Morality is likely the most debated topic of all time, especially in regards to our moral responsibility for each other. Throughout history many writers and philosophers have taken different angles the concept of morality and have applied it in many ways. This includes: Niccolò Machiavelli with The Prince (we will be looking at The Qualities of the Prince) and Plato with The Republic (we will be looking at the section The Allegory of the Cave. The Prince (1513) essentially lays out a how-to guide of how to obtain power and how to keep it; The Qualities of the Prince contains a list of qualities that one should appear to have while in power; this work will be used to represent the case against moral responsibility for others. The Republic (approximately 380 BCE) is detailed description of the ideal society; The Allegory of the Cave is an explanation of how we should choose the servants of our state; this will be used to represent the case for moral responsibility for others. Plato’s The Allegory of the Cave and Machiavelli’s The Qualities of the Prince both contain concepts that contend whether or not we have a moral responsibility for each other, but Plato’s ideas are the ones that we should try to apply.
The Allegory of the Cave is a Socratic dialogue between Socrates and his student Glaucon explaining how the statesmen of an ideal society should be chosen. The allegory begins with a group of people kept prisoner in a cave (or den) who are only able to look forward and face a wall. The only things they are able to see are shadows illuminated by a fire behind them. They are incapable of seeing each other or those behind them, so they believe that the shadows are everything. At some point one of these prisoners is thrown out of th...
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...Plato and Machiavelli have written down concepts that can be applied strongly to the debate over whether we have a moral responsibility for each other, but Plato’s are the most hopeful and the one’s we should strive to follow. As Machiavelli wrote “one can generally say this about men: that they are ungrateful, fickle, simulators and deceivers” (Machiavelli 228). Some people may be at fault for having some of these qualities but I would not say this is entirely so for everyone. It is possible some people may tend to be crueler at heart, if this is true it would also seem to be logical that some people would be good at heart.
Machiavelli, Niccolò. The Qualities of the Prince. A World of Ideas. Ed. Lee Jacobus. 9th e. Boston: Bedford, 2013. Print.
Plato. The Allegory of the Cave. A World of Ideas. Ed. Lee Jacobus. 9th e. Boston: Bedford, 2013. Print.