Compare And Contrast Machiavelli And The Prince

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Throughout the course of history, political philosophy has been dominated by two great thinkers: Niccolo Machiavelli and Socrates. Although both highly influential, Socrates and Machiavelli may not see eye to eye. When it comes to the idea of how an “ideal prince” would act, Machiavelli believes that they should lead through fear and follow a thirst for power, no matter the cost. Socrates, on the other hand, believes that they should lead through morality and have a healthy thirst for knowledge. Overall, these two would not exactly agree on what the actions of a good leader would look like or how a political system should be run. Machiavelli’s The Prince majorly conveys his feelings that a prince should be feared rather than loved, but that he should never do anything to be hated (The Prince, 61). However, he should utilize cruelty if it is the best interest of the state (The Prince, 60), regardless of morality. He often mentions that the ends justify the means, so the prince must do whatever is needed to keep power and control because to be morally good often leads to bad ends (The Prince, 56-57). Plato’s The Last Days of Socrates would describe the “ideal prince” as someone who admits their ignorance, which therefore would make them the most intelligent (Apology, 21d). Socrates believes that wisdom is virtue (Apology, 23b) and therefore will improve society. Although Socrates encourages questioning authority, he focuses on achieving morality and justice. He believes that
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