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The Fox And The Lion In Machiavelli's The Prince

Decent Essays
In The Prince, there is an analogy that talks about the fox and the lion. It says, “A prince, therefore, being compelled knowingly to adopt the beast, ought to choose the fox and the lion; because the lion cannot defend himself against snares and the fox cannot defend himself against wolves. Therefore, it is necessary to be a fox to discover the snares and a lion to terrify the wolves.” (Page 84-85) The fox is a symbol of the integrity of a ruler. A ruler who is honest, righteous, and faithful can be strong, but will have a downfall. They won’t be able to hold their status once their reasoning is not helpful. The downfall of the fox is the wolves. The lion is a symbol for a ruler using force, but this method will also have downfalls. The downfalls of the lion are the snares and traps. This analogy puts into play the idea that integrity and force oppose each other. One will always be the downfall of the other. In order for a prince to keep power, he must use both integrity and force. In The Prince, Machiavelli describes how rulers learned this method through an ancient story. This story is about Achilles and other princes who were given to a centaur named Chiron to nurse. As a centaur, Chiron was half beast and half human. He knew how to use both force, like a beast, and integrity, like man. He taught this method to Achilles and the other princes, who used it to achieve success. This analogy in The Prince also applies to modern rulers. This method is used by
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