Machiavellian Advice from The Prince Essay

Machiavellian Advice from The Prince Essay

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Niccolo Machiavelli was a middle-class and humanist-educated Florentine diplomat, philosopher, and writer who lived during the Renaissance in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Although bestowed with the title of the father of modern political theory, Machiavelli has been, and continues to be widely misunderstood and misinterpreted (Kreis). The term “Machiavellian,” and it is in the dictionary, is defined as subtle or unscrupulous cunning, deception, expediency, or dishonesty (Dictionary). In acknowledgment of the enduring impact of Machiavelli on society, psychologists have identified a distinct personality style that is characterized by manipulativeness, cynicism about human nature, and shrewdness in interpersonal behavior, and named this syndrome after Machiavelli (“48”). Machiavellianism is described as a manipulative strategy of social interaction and personality style that uses other people as tools of personal gain (“48”). In this excerpt from The Prince, Machiavelli’s most recognized and popular discourse on morality and power, the author discusses and compares numerous aspects of the necessary attributes of a successful ruler. While he debates the pros and cons of vice and virtue, Machiavelli presents a compelling case for the adroit application of vice, in the event that princely virtues will threaten the sovereignty of authority.
Most of Machiavelli’s work, including the The Prince, was only formally published posthumously, and the assumption would be that his intention in writing The Prince was not to inform the general public, most of who had neither reading skills, the access to books, or held positions of leadership and government.
Machiavelli’s true intention in writing The Prince was to gain the att...


... middle of paper ...


...itics. That Machiavelli has become synonymous with treachery is ironic, for this essay unmistakably and definitely confirms that throughout the history of civilization, those leaders who persevered and gained recognition as icons of power, character, and intellect were those who understood the balance of virtue and vice.



Works Cited

Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com. Web. 12 March 2012.
Kirszner, Laurie G., and Mandell, Stephen R. Practical Argument. “From The Prince.” New York: Bedford-St. Martin’s. 2011. Print
Kreis, Steven. “Niccolo Machiavelli.” The History Guide. The History Guide. Web. 10 Mar. 2012.
SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on The Prince.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2002. Web. 6 Mar. 2012.
“48 Laws of Power and the Machiavellian Personality.” Psychology and Mental Health Forum. Psychology and Mental Health Forum. Web. Mar. 12 2012.

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