Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince and Lorenzo de’ Medici

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In Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, One of his goals was to win the favor of Lorenzo de’ Medici, then-governor of Florence and the person to whom the book is dedicated; Machiavelli hoped to have a position within the Florentine government. The medici family as well as the people of Florence took this differently than how it was portrayed by Machiavelli. My focus in this paper will be how the idea of being feared is better than being loved.

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Machiavelli states that since love and fear can hardly exist together; if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved. It is desirable to both be loved and feared, but it is difficult to achieve both. With being feared, you are being respected opposed to being loved where you can get taken advantage of and it will be tougher for the ruler to assert their power amongst their citizens. This paper will discuss the value of both traits and how it is effective in everyday life.

Machiavelli’s thoughts on rather being feared than loved reflects on today’s society in many ways. For instance, in a working environment one who is in a position of power, such as a supervisor or manager, if they have authority and exertion, the employees will have more respect and a lot more gets done. Rather than having one who is more lenient and more lovable, less will get done and you will most likely get taken advantage of. Compassion is normally admired. But a prince ought to be vigilant that he does not show it unwisely. If a prince is too compassionate and does not stand his ground nor show authority, he creates an atmosphere of disorder, and misconduct and will be risking that the citizens will do as they please”even to the extremes of homicide and theft.

Some measure of jurisdiction or power is needed to maintain order. But while doing that, a prince has to be careful in his exercise of cruelty and inducing hatred. Machiavelli viewed humans as ungrateful, fickle, false. Meaning, they are quick to abandon the prince as soon as they feel attacked. The people are in it for themselves at the end of the day and will only support the prince if they get in return will benefit them. On the other hand, fear will prevent the citizens from acting out, and will be easier for the prince to keep them in line with his wishes and demands. The strongest ruler is one who can do both, the next best is one who can be feared, the weakest is one who depends on love alone.

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