Analyzing Dante And Machiavelli´S Characteristics Of A Good Leader

2115 words - 8 pages

Dante and Machiavelli were both writers who felt that society and leaders were greatly mislead in their approach of operating the state. Yet even they had very contrasting beliefs in their view of what was ideal for a society to function properly. Machiavelli judges religious or political leaders is based there’s ability to maintain order and unity, regardless of whether one or not need these leaders put there morality and ethics aside for this greater benefit of one’s state. This differs greatly from Dante because his evaluation of the leaders of his time is based solely on how true they stay to moral and ethical virtues. He judges the political. Their ideas of human excellence are revealed through these judgments are very different. While Dante idea of human excellence lies merely on morality and achieving unity with God, Machiavelli put more emphasis on practicality which is necessary for the greater good of the state and how to be an effective politician.
One way in which Dante and Machiavelli have opposing views, which are revealed through their evaluation of the leaders of their time, is that Dante belief it is wrong for leaders to use religion as a way to gain power that it is hypocritical and greedy. On the other hand Machiavelli believes that leaders must do what is necessary to be political effective and run the state efficiently. This once again illustrates there overall basic difference in way of view human excellence, that is morality versus administrative success. One example that demonstrates this point is Machiavelli’s commentary on the political success of Ferdinand of Aragon. Although Machiavelli admits that Ferdinand is cunning because he does many unmoral deeds to become an accomplished but he still describes him as an ideal prince because he succeeds in expanding his territory from just Spain to Naples and parts of France. He raves about the prestige Ferdinand has acquired in Chapter twenty one of the prince, “Nothing makes a prince so esteemed as when he personally accomplishes things rare and exemplary. In our times we have Ferdinand of Aragon, the present king of Spain. He may also be called a new prince, because from being a weak king he has become through the fame and glory he has achieved, the first king among Christians, and if you consider his actions you will find them great and some even extraordinary.”(Quote from the prince page 94) Even though Machiavelli realizes that it is wrong to use religion to attain power he still commends Ferdinand for doing so because appearing to be religious can give one a very noble perception. Machiavelli believes it is more important create a public image of being trustworthy and sincere than trying to live by those principles in reality. This is because in reality it is very difficult to get a head and stand by moral principles at the same time. He states clearly while explaining why he applauds Ferdinand for his actions, “When it happens that someone does something extraordinary,...

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