With a clear and direct authorial voice, Machiavelli employs ancient and contemporary examples to illustrate the pragmatic tactics of successful leaders. Contradicting conventional morality, Machiavelli advises wise princes to use violence and cunning to safeguard their states. The Prince explores the careful balance between contrasts, comparing virtue and vice, prowess and fortune, and subjects and rulers.
An interactive data visualization of The Prince's plot and themes. Machiavelli's political fortune changed in when the Spanish invaded Florence and helped to reinstate the Medici, the ruling family of Florence prior to As a consequence Machiavelli, who worked for the same government that deposed the Medici inwas tried for conspiracy, imprisoned, and tortured.
After years of political exile, during which he wrote The Prince, Machiavelli reentered public life in the s. Machiavelli died at the age of Historical Context of The Prince The Prince is the product of the political turmoil that ravaged Italy during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Within a divided Italy, the states of Florence, Venice, Naples, and Milan ruthlessly fought for control of the Italian peninsula.
Meanwhile, the Roman papacy sought to enhance its earthly power through war and conquest. To make matters worse, the foreign powers of France, Spain, and the Holy Roman Empire took advantage of the divisiveness and joined the Italian conflict, shifting alliances and pitting states against one another in an effort to gain valuable territory for themselves.
As a statesman and diplomat, Machiavelli possessed an insider's knowledge of these conflicts.
After observing years of fratricidal conflict, Machiavelli called for a unified Italy in The Prince and described the type of leader who could make that unification a reality.
Indeed, the Italian Renaissance centered on the rediscovery of ancient thinkers. Among the ancient works that influenced The Prince, Plato's The Republic discusses the structure and character of states and their citizens.
The Roman philosopher Cicero's works of political history, such as De re publica, shaped Machiavelli's own political philosophy.
Similarly, the Ancient Greek historian Xenophon, particularly in Cryopaedia, impacted Machiavelli's understanding of princely governance. In Machiavelli's own era, the English statesman Sir Thomas More's Utopia likewise pondered the balance between political pragmatism and high ideals; however, unlike The Prince, Utopia presents the hope of a peaceful, socialistic — and hence, "utopian" — society.
The Prince When Written: Manuscript copies of The Prince began to circulate in and around Florence circa ; printed versions first appeared in The "malice" of fortune; inept rulers Point of View: The adjective "Machiavellian" derives from Machiavelli's name, referring to a person who uses cunning tricks and dishonesty to achieve his ends.
First appearing in the Oxford English Dictionary inthe word came into use following the widespread circulation of The Prince. The Machiavelli Fan Club.
Cite This Page Jumper, Alexandra. Retrieved November 26, Lesson Summary. From the beginning of the political treatise, The Prince, the Italian writer Niccolo Machiavelli admits that no one has ever written a book like this before.
of their prince, than new ones. The reason is that in such states it is sufficient only for the prince to maintain the customs of those who ruled before him, and to deal carefully with circumstances as they arise.
In this way a prince of average powers can maintain himself in his state unless he loses it by some extraordinary and excessive force. In The Prince Niccolò Machiavelli shrewdly outlines the strategies that a ruler must follow to maintain his position and govern his state.
With a clear and direct authorial voice, Machiavelli employs ancient and contemporary examples to illustrate the pragmatic tactics of successful leaders.
Machiavelli, Niccolò (), "The Prince", Machiavelli:The Chief Works and Others, 1. Translated by Allan Gilbert Translated by Allan Gilbert Machiavelli, Niccolò (), The Prince, London: Penguin, ISBN The Prince study guide contains a biography of Niccolo Machiavelli, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
The Prince study guide contains a biography of Niccolo Machiavelli, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. About The Prince The Prince Summary.