Essay about The Prince

1398 Words6 Pages
The Prince The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli provides an analysis on how to govern and maintain power in a principality. In the first five chapters, he defines the three ways a monarch can acquire his dominion: either he inherits it, whether he creates a new one, or annexes territories, and further discusses how to govern them. Machiavelli states that hereditary principalities are less problematic than the mixed ones since newly acquired dominion tend to be more rebellious. The ruler must therefore colonize them and allow citizen to keep their laws or annihilate the governmental structure. In order to illustrate his point, he analyses the success of Alexander the Great conquest in Iran. He then considers five possible ways to…show more content…
Chapter XX states whether a prince should or not guard his dominion with a fortress and he uses the example of the Florentines. He further analyses (Ch. XXI-XXIV) how a monarch should chose his allies, ministers and protect himself from flatterers. In order to insure advisers’ honesty a ruler has to make them dependent and avoid complete freedom of debate to maintain his authority. To illustrate these points he analyses how Italian monarchs lost their territories. The last aspect Machiavelli focuses on is luck, or fortune, and he believes that “we are successful when our ways are suited to time and circumstances, and unsuccessful when they are not” (85). Finally, Machiavelli (Ch. XXVI) applies his analysis to Italy’s current situation and asks himself whether the country would be ready for a new monarch. The most controversial aspects of The Prince reside in Machiavelli’s intentions in dedicating it to the Medicis. Indeed, they had ruled (on and off) during thirty years in the Florentine Republic, which was assaulted by the French “barbarians.” The text provides a rather tangible and practical analysis of power, which is not necessarily cynical. The first assumption is that Machiavelli simply wanted to gain the ruling family’s favors, which intention then is merely straightforward. However, the irony comes from the fact that in dedicating his treatise to the Medicis he gave them a lesson on how
Open Document