Machiavelli And Humanism

Decent Essays

While the moral codes of Humanism and Catholicism consider being deceitful to be wrong, from an amoral perspective, betrayal is unavoidable and comes with its own set of benefits. This is Machiavelli’s view in his 1513 work The Prince, in which he details the complexities of gaining and maintaining political power to his Italian statesman Lorenzo de’ Medici, from whom he hopes to regain a political position after shifts in the unstable Florentine republic. Machiavelli argues that people, particularly political leaders, should have flexible moral codes so that they can bend them when necessary. For him, betraying allies or betraying one’s own beliefs is acceptable, even beneficial, because it aids in making tough political decisions to …show more content…

Despite Machiavelli’s tongue-in-cheek perspective, his intentions in writing The Prince exemplify the two-faced nature of mankind. During political upset in Florence, the ruling family betrays Machiavelli himself by temporarily jailing him for treason, stripping him of his political position, and banishing him. Yet unlike Dante, who is more personally affected by his exile, Machiavelli sees Medici family’s return to power as an opportunity to regain his own position, which is why he hopes to impress Lorenzo with The Prince. For him, betrayal is more expected under the circumstances, and so he hopes to play them at their own game. By feigning loyalty and kissing up to Lorenzo, Machiavelli improves his chances of obtaining power, even though he likely doesn’t believe everything he’s saying. For him, his true intentions or beliefs don’t matter—like with religion and betrayal, his deceitfulness is a useful political tool in a world of deceitful men. With the sixteenth-century Florentine power struggle and religious tension, it was difficult for anyone to find stability. While Machiavelli experienced treachery firsthand through being banned from Florence, many Florentines could relate to a general lack of loyalty. During a time of political turmoil, aspiring leaders would have to hurt people in the process of gaining

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