Compare And Contrast Socrates And Machiavelli

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Machiavelli’s The Prince could be used as a manual for navigating tough decisions that leaders face every day, or viewed as a defense of negligent and callous autocratic leadership. While Machiavelli encouraged a more coldhearted approach to leadership, Socrates pushed for an improvement in the morality of daily life including leadership. The prince is a very determined powerful leader, who by almost any means, desires to protect and preserve his nation as well as his position as the prince. He is not only a realistic being who prepares for challenges, but is an exceptionally intelligent individual who can conceal any truths about himself. Socrates would find him to be an utter failure. Socrates would advise the prince to work on improving …show more content…
Both Machiavelli and Socrates want to promote their version of a good state. To Socrates, this is a state where the leaders and citizens act with dignity and morality constantly challenging common thought. In contrast, the prince acts as the guardian of Machiavelli’s ideal state doing whatever he can to ensure prosperity in his nation. The prince may at times take actions that are not considered moral, but he does so to maintain order and stability. The value of a prince in Machiavelli’s society could not be understated, he was “to secure himself against enemies, to gain friends, to conquer by force or fraud, to make himself beloved and feared by the people, followed and revered by the soldiers, to destroy those who can and may injure him” (The Prince, 30). The prince’s strength is even important to neighboring nations. Machiavelli argues that the prince “should make himself the leader and defender of his less powerful neighbors” primarily to promote himself but also to please the citizens (The Prince, 9). Without this ideal prince, who would be there to stand up and protect the region? Socrates has a similar idea, “who could be pleased with a city without its laws” (Crito, 53a). While facing a death sentence, Socrates argues that breaking the law would do more harm than losing his life. As he explains to Crito why he will not escape prison, he personifies the law. The law …show more content…
Socrates favors a more idealist approach that people should try to be good and that being good is the way to get the most out of life. Socrates even goes as far as saying that if one cannot act morally then there is no point to acting or that life may not be worth living. Machiavelli tries to avoid taking about how people should be good, instead focusing on how people are (inherently immoral) and instructing a leader how to be successful despite people. Socrates would not appreciate the prince or the system of government he creates but would still argue to preserve the government, but to change the laws instead of breaking

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