The Importance Of Machiavelli's The Prince

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The reputation of Niccolo Machiavelli has reigned infamous for centuries, not least as a result of his most noted work ‘The Prince’ (1532) resulting in the term "Machiavellian’ being used today for anyone who is seen slyly to manipulate a given situation to their own advantage by means of shrewd political insight" (Barnett, 2006). Although Machiavelli is often regarded as a pioneer, of sorts, of political thought by contemporaries and historians alike, the direction and content of his work on ‘The Prince’ was not without contextual historical motivation. A growing trend around the sixteenth century was the ‘Principis’ genre of literature, translating literally as “mirror of the prince”. This essay will explore the contextual setting for Machiavelli’s development of ‘The Prince’ and evaluate whether a knowledge of Machiavelli’s life and times is really necessary to understand and interpret the text for either what many believe to be it’s intended purpose or solely the purpose of political guidance.

The intention behind Machiavelli 's 'The Prince ' was to provide an advice text, true to the ‘Principis’ style of the time, detailing how to a Prince might go about appearing learned and legitimate of his position in the event that he may not actually be so (Bobbitt;2013). The career of Machiavelli and his political experiences brought him into contact with many prominent figures whom equate to the opinions and direction of 'The Prince '. This included Pope Julius II, whom
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