Analysis Of Machiavelli's The Prince

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“Although one should not reason about Moses, as he was a mere executor of things that had been ordered for him by God, nonetheless he should be admired if only for that grace which made him so deserving of speaking with God” (22). In the context of The Prince, this statement proves to be duplicitous because Machiavelli claims that he will not reason about Moses, but then uses the following pages to do precisely that. Furthermore, Machiavelli draws extensively from the actions of Moses and the Old Testament God, although Machiavelli is often regarded as an antagonist of the Church. Machiavelli’s handbook for princes consists of concrete advice for rulers that directly reflect the more abstracted stories in Exodus. For instance, Machiavelli’s description of human nature in The Prince mirrors Moses’ experiences as the leader of the Israelites in Exodus. Furthermore, Machiavelli models his guidelines for controlling the fundamentally difficult nature of humanity off of Moses.
Machiavelli’s bleak assessment of humans, that they are generally “ungrateful, fickle, pretenders and dissemblers,” articulates the experiences of Moses in leading the Israelites (66). While the Old Testament never objectively declares anything about human nature, its depiction of God’s “chosen ones” reveals its perspective on people. For example, after Moses rescues the Israelites from centuries of slavery, a lack of water causes them to “quarrel” with Moses, asking: “‘Why did you bring us up out of
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