The Virtue Of Power In Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince

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Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, written in the sixteenth century, describes princedoms as well as preserving political power within those states. Machiavelli’s work not only had the intentions to inform but to please the ruler of Florence, Lorenzo de’ Medici, to whom the book was dedicated (39). With The Prince, Machiavelli had hopes to regain a position within the government. While he failed in reclaiming power, Machiavelli’s book became one of the most influential works on politics. Machiavelli focuses on one main quality of a prince, virtu, which he defines as, but not limited to, a drive to achieve a goal. More so, virtu is the ability and the determination of a prince whose self-reliance and opportunity supersedes authority (55). While …show more content…
Machiavelli should however only enable those who attain power through modesty rather than opportunity. In chapters seven and eight, Machiavelli refines his original definition of virtu through his descriptions of Cesare Borgia (or Duke Valentino), who is unnecessarily glorified by Machiavelli, versus the history of Agothacles the Sicilian. Duke Valentino rose to power only through opportunity but Agothocles rose to power through opportunity and ability. In the life of Duke Valentino, born the son of Pope Alexander VI, he was made duke Romagna through the good fortune of his father. In his time of power, the duke made tactical attempts to keep his power by disposing of disloyal troops and creating a new army, conquering …show more content…
Virtu is described as a means of obtaining and a means of maintaining. However, Machiavelli never claimed that success would continue for all princes who strived for it. For Duke Valentino, his political power within the government did not persevere after the death of his father. Although the duke made himself loved and feared by his people -- another important quality in a prince according to Machiavelli – he lost all resources that come with being born into power (59). For Agothocles the Sicilian, the love and fear of his subjects endured despite instances of upheaval by enemies (65). In both cases, Duke Valentino and Agothocles achieved a state of power and influence within their government by taking advantage of the opportunities to claim

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