Princely Power Essay

1617 words - 6 pages

Princely Power

Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince contains a very unique section entitled "Princely Virtues" in which Machiavelli takes on a how-to approach in regards to becoming a prince. The instructional qualities of the novel lead its reader to create in themselves an image of not the most virtuous, but in Machiavelli's eyes, the most effective prince. In the selections found in chapters 15-26, Machiavelli teaches his intended princely students the necessary political skills that a prince must possess in order to maintain his position on top. Machiavelli paints the illusionary portrait of the perfect prince. The prince must take great pains to keep up this virtuous front in order to maintain command as well as respect of his people. Even if the prince does not have a desired virtue, Machiavelli reasons that he must only appear to have certain virtues, and more importantly know when it is appropriate to display such virtues to benefit himself. The prince is obligated to put on the necessary front in order to disguise himself as the most effective prince in an effort to maintain control. Machiavelli may on the surface seem to argue that a ruler must focus on the positive end and employ whatever means necessary to achieve his desired result, maintaining power and control; however, he only argues this to a point, there are limitations on a prince’s power.

Machiavelli begins his section on princely virtues by emphasizing why a prince must in actuality depart from being virtuous or good in order to avoid coming to ruin among other men who are evil; seeming to be good is more important than being so. To emphasize this point, he says:

For there is such a difference between the way men live and the way they ought to live, that anybody who abandons what is for what ought to be will learn something that will ruin rather than preserve him, because anyone who determines to act in all circumstances the part of a good man must come to ruin among so many who are not so good. Hence, if a prince wishes to maintain himself, he must learn how to be not good, and to use that ability or not as is required (1491).

The key to achieving success by Machiavelli's reasoning lies in the prince's ability to deceive his people, to be good when it is best to be, and to not be when deemed necessary, but principally to be wise enough to know when to be which.

Machiavelli asserts that a prince must take care to avoid getting a bad name in order to maintain power, however, he mustn't always observe virtuous qualities although they seem to be praiseworthy, observance of vises may sometimes lead to a virtuous appearance. "[I]t will be seen that some things seem to be virtuous, but if they are put into practice will be ruinous to him; other things seem to be vises, yet if put into practice will bring the prince security and well-being" this statement becomes the foundation upon which Machiavelli's reasoning for allowing such vast flexibility in the prince's...

Find Another Essay On Princely Power

The Relationship Between National Identity and State-building

1750 words - 7 pages propaganda. Both the culture and the struggle for freedom goes hand in hand (Fanon 1963) and these changes in the cultural aspects and the struggle for freedom boosted the “National Identity” and this was one major factor that resulted in Independence in 1947. The new nation, India faced similar problems as that of Africa namely democratization and poor socioeconomic status (Mamdani 1996). There were more than five hundred princely states at the

Issues of power and control are evident from the start of the play. To what extent do you find the truth of this statement reflected in Acts I & II of 'The Tempest'?

1076 words - 4 pages his brother as “The ivy which had hid my princely trunk,” depicts Prospero’s hate towards him, seeing him as a weed, destroying his command and power over Milan. Interestingly power in the form of terriroty appears regularly throughout acts I and II. Initially Prospero naturally appears to have control of the island, however it is discovered later in act I that he is not the true owner of the land. Caliban claims; “This island’s mine, by Sycorax my

cinderella complex-my view and analysis of it-with backing by various Cinderella stories-and cultural norms.

825 words - 3 pages a man of princely matter and helped by outwardly forces to achieve recognition and respect. Its story revolves around the assumption that women should be "beautiful, polite, graceful, industrious, obedient, and passive" (Karol Kelley 649). Cinderella operates as a patriarchal instrument, producing and nurturing a psychological dependence in women.Providing cultural and socio-historical information, fairy tales have helped perpetuate stereotypical

Should we have started the Iraq War?

907 words - 4 pages America put out the fires of September the 11th, and mourned our dead, and went to war, history has taken a different turn. We have carried the fight to the enemy. We are rolling back the terrorist threat to civilization, not on the fringes of its influence, but at the heart of its power.” He is saying that for years the terrorists attacked our country after they attacked and killed their own people. They believed that free nations like

What can the study of grave-goods tell us about the nature of society? Europe From Late Antiquity to Early Middle Ages

1622 words - 6 pages silver bowls with their design in the form of a cross.Ultimately, the study of grave-goods informs us about a vast diverse section of the nature of one's society. The materials from the site can tell us not only a great deal about the everyday belongings of Anglo-Saxon people, but they also document more intangible belongings such as wealth, power, stratification of society, social and cultural identity, religious beliefs, geography, levels of

Essay on 3 absolute monarchs: Louis XIV, Peter the Great, Frederick the Great

806 words - 3 pages From 1638-1786, there were three absolute monarchs. Louis XIV, the sun king, built a splendid court at Versailles where he looked over the nobles. Peter the Great, the westernizer, changed Russia from a backward country into a great power. Finally, Frederick the Great, the enlightened despot, was full of tolerance and restraint and had good views on government. He improved Prussia many ways.Louis XIV increased his revenue by taxing, improving

Industrial

713 words - 3 pages princely states. By now the european have got stronghold over it's subject population. Also, Science and technology was thriving in the European states. The philosophical debates were common, Enlightenment was discussed and propagated by state. The filed was set, and the major shift can be observed in the eighteent century, in the way of harnessing the energy and getting hold over newer and newer sources of energy, even non renewable sources such

A persuasive essay on why Feiry Tales are a negative influence on children.

909 words - 4 pages belief that "it's a man's world". Cinderella for example focuses on archetypes of women- she passively cries out for help, instead of taking action into her own hands. These heroines give the message to young females that the way to accomplish things is not to do it actively, but to wait, with patience and virtue for a princely man to rescue you from your position. Does this mean that if one is a mother and has a career that she will not live

Power Struggles in Shakespeare

1580 words - 6 pages The struggle for power is a key theme in Shakespeare’s plays King Henry IV part I and Measure for Measure. Within both plays there are characters that try to make their way through the social hierarchy and gain as much power as possible. In King Henry IV part I, King Henry is having a hard time keeping control of the power he has. Before Henry was king, he overthrew King Richard II. In the beginning of the play, he has to balance feeling guilt

Economic Success and Political Influence of the Fuggers and Medicis

1230 words - 5 pages In the late fifteenth, and early sixteenth centuries the first economic Golden Age began. Two families, the Fugger's and Medici's were of immense wealth and power. Both helped to finance projects for certain people and institutions of power, like the Pope, English Monarchy and the Holy Roman Empire. Their economic success and political influence caused much turmoil then, and even more in the future. Because of the Fuggers' and Medici's wealth

Discuss Machiavelli's view on morals and politics in the Prince

2480 words - 10 pages traditional politics.Having determined the republican idea of politics in the quattrocento, it is important to look at the humanist ideals of princely government and how far Machiavelli agreed with them, before the Prince can be fully understood. To humanists in the late fourteenth century the ideal ruler was the vir virtutis, the virtuous man. For them virtuosity was having the combined qualities of honour, glory and fame obtained through one's own deeds

Similar Essays

The Downfall Of The Middle Ages. The Decline Of The Feudal System, And The Declination Of The Church's Power Over The Nation States

608 words - 2 pages There were many reasons for the downfall for the Middle Ages, but the most crucial ones were the decline of the feudal system, and the declination of the Church's power over the nation-states. In feudal society, everyone had a definite place and a definite role, with the power resting in the hands of the local lords (instead of a central government). The lords, or nobles, lost power after the Crusades, when the Europeans came into contact with

Two Acts Of Evil, Two Crazy Lands

645 words - 3 pages bossy and shout orders. As Hook captures Wendy and the lost boys in order to force Wendy to be his mother, he bossily commands the other pirates: “Quiet, you scugs, or I’ll cast anchor in you;” and at once the din was hushed. “Are all the children chained, so that they cannot fly away?” (James M. Barrie page 232) The Queen and Captain Hook have lots of power, but sometimes they take advantage of what they can do. They know that since they are the

Gender Roles In Cinderella Essay

1611 words - 6 pages beautiful, vulnerable, passive, and obedient. Furthermore, Cinderella provides another example in fairy tales where the heroine of the story must be "rescued" by a man of princely ways and helped by the forces of nature. Using examples from Cinderella, it is evident that women's portrayals in fairy tales have placed gender expectations on the ideals and characteristics of heroines throughout history.In numerous versions, Cinderella essentially

Q: European Monarchs Of The Late Fifteenth And Early Sixteenth Centuri

845 words - 3 pages . Instead, the New Monarchs turned to Roman law. Nations that were run by the New Monarchs include England, France, Spain, and the Holy Roman Empire. The New Monarchy began in England after the end of civil wars (1485), the Wars of the Roses, when Henry VII acquired the throne by force, thus instituting the dynasty of the Tudors. Henry VII passed laws to increase his power such as laws against “livery and maintenance”, which is when a lord maintained a