Among the three, Machiavelli takes a unique position, writing from a purely secular point of view. Throughout his book The Prince, he champions human ability, describing how a would-be conqueror can use his skills, talents, and cunning to gain and keep power. Since each chapter in the book focuses almost exclusively on strategies and qualities that aspiring princes should use and develop, it is obvious that Machiavelli believes that human will, used carefully, is powerful enough to conquer something as significant as an empire. In Machiavelli’s view, no higher power—whether it be fate or God—has complete control over who governs. His shrewd, analytical, and completely irreligious point of view was actually rather radical for his time, since many people still believed in the divine right of kings.
Machiavelli, however, does acknowledge that it would be naïve to assume th...
... middle of paper ...
... average ones, are unlikely do good, and the former two writers compliment elite men while condemning the impotent commoners. Luther, on the other hand, ventured to say that God chooses the elite—to him, man is doomed to wait for destiny. Is the Renaissance really a time emerging humanism, individualism, and secularism? If it were that simple, it seems that Machiavelli, Erasmus, and Luther each present views on human nature and free will that are half-stuck in the Middle Ages.
Erasmus, Desiderius. “On Free Will.” J. Willard Marriott Library Electronic Reserve Course Materials. University of Utah. 1982. Web. 5 April 2014.
Luther, Martin. “The Enslaved Will.” J. Willard Marriott Library Electronic Reserve Course Materials. University of Utah. 1982. Web. 5 April 2014.
Machiavelli, Niccolό. The Prince. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988. Print.
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