The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

During the Renaissance period, Italy used to be undergoing many unsettling events politically. As such, there were works produced through various humanists and philosophers with the one standing out amongst them being Niccolo Machiavelli. He was a philosopher, humanist, and a politician who later got here to write his book entitled, “The Prince,” a dedication to Lorenzo de’ Medici, Prince of Florence. The intended purpose for writing the e book was to create a guide for leaders and rulers on how to rule effectively though some critics viewed it in quite the opposite fashion, as a information on how not to govern. The theme of human nature as captured in the book is very central to his work and the advice he gives the prince.

First Thesis
Human nature as an idea is a characteristic exhibited by all persons. Machiavelli’s observations are paved with a pessimistic opinion on human behavior. As such, human beings tend to be fickle and dishonest in their dealings and self-centered when the situation is to their favor. According to Machiavelli, “Related to this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved when only one is possible. The reason for this is that in general men are ungrateful, inconstant, false, cowardly, and greedy” (Machiavelli, 1532).

Second Thesis
According to Machiavelli, a prince ought not to depend solely on the opinion of those around him but listen to all viewpoints, consider them, then come up with his own decisions. He asserts that the prince might lose the respect of his citizens if he keeps changing his choices because of varied opinions from those around him. As such, Machiavelli reiterates that people will give their advice according to their selfish self-interests. He observes that “Therefore a wise prince ought to follow the third course by choosing the wise men in his state, and giving to them alone the liberty of speaking the truth to him, and then only of those things of which he inquires and of none others” (Machiavelli, 1532).

Third Thesis
Thirdly, Machiavelli touches on the human trait of keeping their word. According to him, past successful rulers have held on to their kingdoms for long through cheating. He further goes on to say that the prince should not be inclined to be true to their word if the conditions that necessitated it or brought about the promise no longer exist. In this chapter, he quips, “People are so simple, and so subject to present necessities, that anyone who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived” (Machiavelli, 1532). This interesting observation of human nature is conceived on the bed of people being self-absorbed and caught up with their present needs.

Although Italy was evolving into a hub of intellectual and cultural discourse, Machiavelli felt that such attributes wouldn’t do much for the betterment of Italy and securing its political future. His radical view was based on the premise that, for a leader to rule for long and in an efficient manner, he needs to have total control over his subjects and manipulate them. One of the ways he pushes for such a kind of rule is the instituting of a secular form of government, meaning the prince would not be tied down by moral, social norms. Machiavelli felt that people mostly tended to look after their self-interests which were in contrast to the views held by humanists.

Works cited
Machiavelli, N., & Viroli, M. (2008). The prince (Vol. 43). Oxford University Press.
Machiavelli, N., & Viroli, M. (2008). The prince (Vol. 43). Oxford University Press.
Machiavelli, N., & Viroli, M. (2008). The prince (Vol. 43). Oxford University Press.

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