Jan 25, 2018 in Analysis

"The Prince" by Machiavelli

The notion of moral in Machiavelli’s The Prince takes up one of the central places

When it comes to ruling the country, the author himself considers moral as an excessive and unnecessary phenomenon. In his opinion, it is unwise for the governor to use moral predispositions as a compass for actions and decisions. Thus, the whole concept put forward in The Prince cannot be called immoral or moral, but rather amoral as it denies any morality as a trustworthy basis for state deeds.

The governor who exercises his power in an unrestricted manner is beyond the notions of morality to Machiavelli

According to him, there exists an  ideal ruler and, apparently, the technology of his ruling. Cesare Borgia comes forward as the prototype of such a ruler. He was almost a telltale villain, in which the author wanted to see a great governor, who would be capable of uniting Italy. The noted discord of Machiavelli with humanism theories results not from the original personal preferences and antipathies of the Florentine. The deep sources of this dissonance lie in the tragic lack of coincidence (and frequently in the opened conflict) of the two strictly different phenomena, two different methods of social life: ethics and political rationality. Each of them has their own criteria, namely: “good” - “evil” at the first sight and a benefit –harm duality (“winning” and a “loss”, respectively) at the second. The merit of Machiavelli lies in the fact in that he sharpened and fearlessly expressed this objectively existent correlation of policy and moral.

Machiavelli writes that in stranger countries where the customs and the language are different compared to the conqueror country the prince should also try to become the defender  of more weak neighbors and to weaken the strong. In addition a new sovereign must look out so that the country is not invaded by an outlandish ruler. "Such are always called by the countries dissatisfied inwardly on surplus of ambition or from fear". Because when a mighty sovereign is included in a country, the less strong states at once join him.


Related essays