Analysis Of Niccólo Machiavelli's The Prince

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Renaissance means rebirth. The Renaissance was a time of renewal as well as of chaos in Europe since it was still recovering. More and more ideas of the ideal prince emerged, as there are many different city-states. One of the most noteworthy political philosophers of the sixteenth century was Niccólo Machiavelli whose book, The Prince, a political handbook for rulers, has brought him recognition. It can be seen that his ideas on politics and overall inspiration for the book mainly came from his views of the political problems that were taking place. However, three years later, in 1516, Erasmus wrote The Education of a Christian Prince, a less popular yet conveys another aspect to the genres of the princes. The Education of a Christian Prince…show more content…
Hence, he uses personal pronouns like “you” and “I” as well as phrases like “My reply is.” This makes it seem like The Prince becoming famous was neither Machiavelli’s first priority nor real purpose; he simply wanted to express his knowledge on the western government and gives advice on how to be a strong leader. Also, some of his words sound like he was in grief. For instance, the sentence that says “But as soon as you need help, they turn against you.” It could be that he was disappointed or was betrayed that he decided to put together The Prince. In the book, Machiavelli believes in the idea of having a strong dominant leader, in order to preserve the benefits to the citizens as a group instead of individually. This strategy clearly shows in chapter seventeen where Machiavelli points out that every prince would prefer to be loved than to be feared. However, the two rarely co-existed. If one had to choose, it is not only better to be feared than to be loved but it is also much “safer” looking at it realistically. By safer, it means that you will not have to worry and watch out as much since people will be less likely to conspire against someone they fear than someone they love. Furthermore, Machiavelli thinks that fear works best because you can’t trust people to always be loyal through affection: “In general men are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly,…show more content…
Both were prescriptive in the sense they attempt to solve the conflicts of their era by providing advice along with reasons on how a good and strong ruler should act with hopes of a better future. They were descriptive of the historical development. By that, it means that since both pieces are opinionated, good portions of their works must be inspired by the deeper truth of what had happened. Unfortunately, we do not know enough of the authors’ background and what encouraged them to create these pieces. Though the writings come from primary sources, I think they are too inherently limited in their scope in the way that they present only one viewpoint, one clarification of what happened. At the same time, they truly reveal the point of view of the author that could be biased towards something. Some of my unanswered questions were: Was there a significant political situation that prompted Machiavelli to write The Prince? Why did Machiavelli write the book, whom did it concern? What made Erasmus so disgusted by war and violence? Sadly, the texts do not provide additional information on their backgrounds. As for a comparison between the two texts of all that were given, we could take a look at the text Renaissance Humanist Values and the difference between Machiavelli’s ideologies to that of Pico Della Mirandola 's Oration on the Dignity of Man. According to Machiavelli, human nature is
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