The Principles of Machiavelli : a book review of The Prince


Principles of Machiavelli : a book review of The Prince

Machiavelli's views have been misinterpreted
since his book was first written, people take him in the wrong way, and
are offended by what he says. Careless readers take him in a completely
wrong way, such as they think that he believes that the end justifies the
means, that a leader should lie to the people, and that a ruler has to
rule with force. In actuality, Machiavelli means no such thing, he says
that there are times when the common good outweighs the means, and the
morality of a rulers actions. He also says that you cannot be loved by
everyone, so try to be loved and feared at the same time, but of the two,
choose to be feared. The Prince is considered to be one of the most important
of nonfiction literature written in the history of mankind. It gave an
accurate and truthful description of the method of governing. Machiavelli
understands the importance of a military force, and that a country has
to be kept in order, even if that means lying to the people to get them
to fight against a common foe. In Europe, the church was entangled in politics,
and everything else, but Machiavelli suggests a secular state, which would
allow the leader to do that which is necessary for the country and for
his continued reign, though not necessarily moral.

The ends do not justify the means, yet
sometimes if the end is necessary for the continuation of a society, then
the means do not have to be morally bound. A ruler cannot please everybody
all the time, so therefore, he has to be cunning in order to maintain control.

There are times when a ruler needs to lie to the populace, in order to
reach a goal that is better in some way for the nation. By tying the church
to the government, people expected the government to behave morally, but
often times, an entirely moral ruler will be overthrown. A ruler cannot
show any weakness, or else he will no longer be feared enough to keep him
in power, and he will be overthrown.

In The Prince, Machiavelli asserts that
it is best for a ruler to be both feared and loved, but if he cannot be
both, it is much better to be feared. People are unlikely to overthrow
a ruler that they fear, because they fear the punishments for failure.

If the ruler is not feared by the people, he will eventually upset enough
of them that they will rise up against him, and they will overthrow him
because of his perceived weakness.

He believes that the state is completely
separate from the rulers private life. No matter how immoral the ruler
may be in private, only his public image is important. A ruler can be a
sleazy person on their own time, and when not involved with matters of
the state, but at any time when the leader is involved in politics and
the state, you can not afford to injure the image of the ruler or else
anarchy will develop.