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Books

Analysis Of Quotes From The Prince By Niccolo Machiavelli

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

When Niccolo Machiavelli wrote The Prince, his objective was to teach kings how to correctly rule a Princedom and how to keep it within their grasp. He did this by scrutinizing the actions of different types of leaders that lead to either their rise or their fall. Much of what was written by Machiavelli is still applicable today in politics and life. For example, Machiavelli states, “Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for everyone can see and few can feel. Everyone sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are.” The point that he is trying to make with this is that there is nothing more necessary than to appear how others want to see you. This quote from chapter 18, about how a prince should behave faithfully with his subjects, Niccolo processes that appearances and first impressions matter when you are meeting new people who don’t know the real you. I agree with this statement because in terms of real life, to a politician, nothing means more to them than appearances. After all, they do have to keep a good reputation to gain voters. It is not only important to politicians, but to citizens as well. Some may prepare for a job interview, or the first day of school to get on the right foot with their teachers. However, I also disagree because some people will do anything to make a good first impression. They even may act or dress differently to gain approval. Nonetheless, most of the time first impressions are not everything and there are always multiple layers to people. Adding onto the idea of first impressions, Machiavelli then continued to advise princes to keep your appearance while you act in a manner contrary to it. An example he used was the Centaur, Chiron. He made sure that people worshiped heroes like Achilles and others by training them to use their smarts and brute force. Since Chiron is half-man and half-beast, Niccolo used this example to symbolize that men too can embrace the man and “beast” in them to balance both natures.

Another quote that caught my eye in The Prince was in chapter 17, where it discusses whether it is better to be loved or feared by subjects, “For of men it may generally be affirmed that they are thankless, fickle, false, studious to avoid danger, greedy of grain, devoted to you while you are able to confer benefits upon them, and ready, as I said before, while danger is distant, to shed their blood, and sacrifice their property, their lives, and their children for you; but in the hour of need they turn against you.” What he meant by this was that from the get go men are hardened and general to avoid thieves and foes. A man wants others to see only what he wants them to see, becoming soft and opening up your true self makes you vulnerable in the eye of your smartest enemies. Furthermore, men are calculated and cunning figures, as Machiavelli suggests here. Location, emotions, true intents, and secrets and shames are the feed of thieves and leeches. The key to survival is prevention. Those around you aren’t trusted and guaranteed. Moreover, selflessness around those not to be trusted is a move that man makes, and this precaution is applied to every situation before an evacuation in order to succeed is the reason of lack of self-accountability. This quote and the saying does not add up to at all of how men or people in general live today. Back in times of famine and ignorance, men were weak… did not know where their next meal would come from and wherever it happens to appear he would provide to his family. If his foes knew this, they would go lengths to trouble him. Now in today’s society, men believe that they do not have to worry like this, or do not have to be like they were centuries ago… closed off, silently but slithering, quiet but quick, emotionless but astute and selfish. Now, because we are human, selfishness is relevant in men today.

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