Machiavelli: the Prince and Power Essay

Submitted By ilovejews
Words: 579
Pages: 3

XVIII: The Way in Which Princes Should Keep Faith

In order to keep his people's loyalty, the Prince must have more than one dimension in his image. There is a line to distinguish what part of a Prince’s life should be publicized and what is better kept unhidden. A ruler’s image is as important as action due to human nature and rulers must manipulate these expectations. According to Machiavelli, “Men are so simple, and so subject to present necessities, that he who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived.” In chapter XV he explains how people hold rather unrealistic characteristics that they believe their leader should have, such as to be courageous, compassionate, faithful, and generous among others. So if he puts himself out there alluding to those characteristics, he will still maintain respect and faith of the people even when he must act ‘badly’ otherwise. If there is a questionable or shocking or harsh action on the Prince’s behalf, all will be well as long as the Prince justifies the acts, and man will take it.

Therefore a prince should be versatile in his mindset when safeguarding his people. He must be able to fight with laws, which is the way of human beings, or with force, which is the way of animals. He must be cunning like a fox, crafty and wise to foresee traps, yet frightening like a lion who provides strength and no mercy. He brings up that Pope Alexander VI did this the best, since he “did nothing else but deceive men ... nevertheless his deceits always succeeded according to his wishes, because he well understood this side of mankind.” Essentially he must be prepared for every situation, and if he must act unethically and ruthless in his leadership then it must be done, no one else will stand up to do the necessary acts. As long as he does this job, people will no longer judge him for who he is, but for the outcomes of his actions. This idea is enforced in chapter XVI that it is better to be fair rather than generous if it is for the best of the state. Therefore it is not better to be either…