Machiavelli And The Apology Of The Prince

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Machiavelli writes The Prince centuries after Plato documents Socrates in Crito and The Apology. Despite the different time periods, both Machiavelli and Socrates experience times of turmoil where the concept of democracy was questioned. However, the different time periods cause the views and purposes of Machiavelli’s writing to largely differ from Socrates. Machiavelli writes in a time of turmoil where Italy was a bunch of small, fragmented states and when the Medici’s struggled to regain power after being expelled. This causes his views to be more cynical and pessimistic in comparison to Socrates. If Socrates were to read The Prince, he would disagree with Machiavelli’s beliefs and deem his portrayal of a prince as immoral. Their…show more content…
Socrates’ contradicting views are presented when he claims, “Not from money does virtue come, but from virtue comes money and all of the other good things for human beings both privately and publicly” (Apology, 30b). Socrates disputes that fortuna comes from virtue and presents a cause and effect relationship, contrary to the interconnected relationship as presented by Machiavelli. A prince should use philosophical thinking to question and explore many ideas in order to amass success. Just having money and luck, on the other hand, will not lead to more success because the prince is unable to think about how he can execute his rulings. Through his views, he connotes how the ruler cannot start his reign with both fortuna and virtue. This contradicts with Machiavelli’s prince because Socrates disputes the lack of emphasis on fortune.
However, it is plausible to argue that fortuna does not lead to success as seen in Socrates’ legacy. Socrates’ legacy is evidence that virtue is the more valuable of the two and the unnecessity of fortuna. Even if Socrates was a poor man, who has found his own philosophy in life, he is a heavily respected figure today. He turned down Crito’s fortune and power, and died as a “martyr”, leading to an increased remembrance of his philosophy. His legacy has lasted thousands of years without fortuna. Although Socrates was not a ruler, he is one of the fathers of democracy, so he is a figure that is
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