Machiavelli Chapter Summary

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PSA 1: Machiavelli Q1 Response: What, per Machiavelli, is the basis of political authority? Machiavelli has multiple political principles: 1. He discusses the need for a prince to be both good and feared, depending on the circumstances. He talks about making examples of individuals to control the populace rather than allowing chaos to reign which permits widespread murder and looting. 2. He writes about the importance of national unity which comes about with a common language, culture and economy. 3. He discusses the necessity of maintaining national unity through the state’s focus on and exercise of power. Machiavelli suggests that a successful prince will maintain his power from within and take an offensive military posture rather than…show more content…
Laws may be sufficient in peace time but in time of war, force must prevail. He compares the capable leader to two beasts: the fox and the lion. The fox using his wiles to avoid being caught in a trap while the lion, due to his size, can overpower his natural enemies. Machiavelli posits that keeping one’s word is not a necessity when it is not in one’s best interest or when circumstances no longer apply. He references the treachery of men who do not keep their word as justification for doing the same. Q5: What might Machiavelli’s prince have in common with Castiglione’s courtier? Both suggest that a leader must be active and eschew laziness and idleness. Castiglione writes that the courtier who is not perfectly endowed can, with ‘study and toil’, polish his natural defects. Machiavelli cautions the prince to stand on his own two feet and work to keep his cities strong. A second comparison is that both authors call out the importance of education. Machiavelli’s prince should “read histories” and “consider the actions of excellent men” referring to ancients like Alexander and Julius Caesar. Castiglione’s courtier should be “more than passably accomplished in letters, at least the humanities, and conversant with Latin and
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