IN WHAT WAY PRINCES SHOULD KEEP THEIR WORD
Although frankness is praised over craftiness, history shows that leaders who practiced
deceit overcame those that lived by their pledges. There can be identified two ways of
fighting: by law, which is proper for men and by force, which is proper for animals. A prince
must know how to fight both ways in order to be successful. Furthermore a price is competing
as an animal both sly and fierce. He should break promises when they are against his interest
as men are naturally bad and will break their promises to him. He must exude charity,
integrity, humanity, uprightness, and especially piety. They are judged by appearance and
results. Once he wins he will be thought honorable and the means he used to get their will be
To support his point of view, Machiavelli looks through the writers of ancient Greece
and to the story of how Achilles, the Greek mythological hero, was trained by Chiron, the
centaur (half man and half beast).
This is to show that a warrior needs to be trained in the
fighting ways of both men and animals. So a prince must know and understand when to act
like a man and like a beast, as circumstances require both - just one is not enough.
In addition, a prince must have qualities of both the fox and the lion; one is useless
without the other. Lions cannot defend themselves against traps, and foxes cannot defend
themselves against wolves. You have to be like a fox to see traps, and like a lion to terrify the
wolves. If all people was always totally trustworthy you only had to be like a lion. In reality
you have to be like a cunning fox at times. Princes that are cunning...