Sunday, April 14, 2013

Why did Machiavelli think that a new prince 'cannot always act in ways that are considered good'?

We welcome not seen great things done in our age except by those who have been considered mean; the rest have failed (Chapter XVI, The Prince)

In this essay I shall be addressing the above stated question, for the first time I shall be analysing the usage of the term good in relation to the question. I will then discuss Machiavelli theories nearly public perception of a prince; whether its better to be hated, love or feared. Then the factor of comparative and variable moral philosophy within Machiavellis work, a passing significant feature when state the previously stated question. Finally I will discuss Machiavellis views on glory and whether a prince should be truly dependable or not, before finally concluding my arguments.

Good is a highly situational and contextually variable term, as such firstly I feel it is important to clarify the meaning or at the very least the principle connotations that it implies in this question. I would apply good to be directly linked to the conventional Christian, and more specifically catholic, morality which was the predominate theology prevalent in ordinal century Florence. This would define good, in the era Machiavelli was writing in, as telling the truth, keeping promises, not committing murder and so on.

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It is present that Machiavelli differed significantly from his contemporaries and ultimately why his books were banned on publication by the Catholic Church.

One of the most important chapters of The Prince when respondent this question is chapter 17 where Machiavelli discusses whether it is better to be loved, hated or feared by the public. Here much of his arguments about the behaviour of a prince being relatively justifiable in given situations is hang out (i.e. end justifies the means). He augments his views, as throughout his work, with historical examples- Cesare Borgia was considered cruel; notwithstanding,

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