Machiavelli's Immorality Analysis

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Dedicated to the Florentine ruler Lorenzo II de’ Medici, Machiavelli’s Prince is a guidebook on how to acquire power and stabilize your state. Inscribed in a tradition of political advice books , what sets it apart from those that came before him are the radical and obviously wicked guidelines it puts forwards. However, before establishing whether or not The Prince is truly a handbook of wickedness, this term must be elucidated. Wickedness, synonym of evilness, is commonly interpreted as either immorality or being morally wrong. My analysis will follow both of these definitions. In the first part, I shall highlight the book’s immorality by exposing its lack of virtues. I will continue on by arguing that the Prince’s political priorities are …show more content…
Virtues are universal. Once you accept them, they must not be altered or disrespected. Attaching yourself to such morals poses a radical problem for Machiavelli: the Prince will be subject to Fortuna. This concept represents the blind strength of nature, good or ill luck. She is the ultimate threat to the stability of the state as she is unpredictable. The Prince should be wary of her and so Machiavelli gives the keys to control Fortuna: cruelty, deception and violence. However, if the Prince were to be truly virtuous, none of these elements would be accessible to him. Thus, he would perish at her hands. In chapter eighteen, Machiavelli warns the Prince of the disadvantages of being compassionate: it leads to chaos . As it is a virtue, it means that the Prince would have to be compassionate with both criminals and ordinary people. Nonetheless, in order to ensure the security of the state, criminals have to be punished brutally but compassion prevents such punishment. Since Fortuna will inevitably bring him criminals he cannot deal with, the state will crumble. Thus, The Prince dissuades the adherence to virtues. It encourages flexibility and thus, immorality.

We assert that virtues do not play a privileged part in The Prince. They can make the Prince inflexible and thus are subject to virtù that weighs their use. However, a life with malleable morals is inevitably wicked. We now
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The incompatibility between glory and cruelty does not make Machiavelli dismiss the use of cruelty. Instead, he simply shares with the Prince the smart way to be both cruel and glorious. In fact, chapter eight of the book says: “Injuries ought to be done all at one time, so that, being tasted less, they offend less” . The Prince is advised to be cruel in one go at the outset in order for the people to process it only once and so to be less hurt. In this way, the Prince would not be known as a cruel ruler but rather as a ruler who had to be very cruel once. Thus, our hope for the reinstatement of morality in Machiavelli’s treatise disappears. Glory just makes the Prince more careful with the specificities of the injuries he inflicts. He is still wicked, just less

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