Comparing Machiavelli's The Prince and Plato's The Republic Essay

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Comparing Machiavelli's The Prince and Plato's The Republic

Many people in history have written about ideal rulers and states and how to maintain them. Perhaps the most talked about and compared are Machiavelli's, The Prince and Plato's, The Republic. Machiavelli lived at a time when Italy was suffering from its political destruction. The Prince, was written to describe the ways by which a leader may gain and maintain power. In Plato?s The Republic, he unravels the definition of justice. Plato believed that a ruler could not be wholly just unless one was in a society that was also just. His state and ruler was made up to better understand the meaning of justice. It was not intended to be practiced like that of
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Cruel actions by the prince should be done at once, and quickly. Then the prince should slowly reward his people with benefits so that the cruel actions may be forgotten. "For injuries ought to be done all at one time, so that, being tasted less, they offend less; benefits ought to be given little by little, so that the flavour of them last longer (Machiavelli 370)." Cruelty, therefore, will not seem like it is committed everyday and people will soon forget if they are reassured with benefits.

On the contrary, Plato's idea of the ruler is almost exactly the opposite that of Machiavelli's. Plato's reason for his ideal ruler and state was to explain the meaning of justice. One must examine what it means for a state to be just and what it means for a person to be just to truly understand the meaning of justice. According to Socrates, ??if we first tried to observe justice in some larger thing that possessed it, this would make it easier to observe in a single individual. We agreed that this larger thing is a city?(Plato 96).? Plato?s ideal ruler must have a good mind, always be truthful, have knowledge and discipline, and not be afraid of death. The ruler is a philosopher that satisfies the four virtues of wisdom, courage, moderation/self-control, and justice.

While the single responsibility of Machiavelli?s
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