Machiavelli's The Prince,

Essay by Ritch Ray RoCollege, UndergraduateA+, January 1996

download word file, 2 pages 3.0

Downloaded 148 times

Part 15 of Machiavelli's The Prince, entitled Of the Things

for Which Men, and Especially Princes, Are Praised or

Blamed, states that, in order for a man to maintain control

of a government and better that territory, he must engage

in certain actions that may be deemed immoral by the

public he serves. Machiavelli argues a valid point, that the

nature of man is twofold, encompassing good and evil, right

and wrong. The effectiveness of his argument, however,

relies on the fact that the person reading his essay is an

objective observer of human nature. Not leaving this to

chance, Machiavelli plays a psychological game with the

reader in order to convince them of his argument.

Machiavelli prefaces his thesis with commentary that

attempts to place the reader in a subordinate state-of-mind.

He confesses to the reader that he fears sounding

presumptuous for writing about a subject covered many

times before by others and differing from their opinion in

the matter.

This statement places the author at the mercy of

the reader and prepares them to hear an idea that may not

be popular. Having been asked forgiveness for the pride of

the author, the reader drops barriers that he may have

against arguments driven by ego and opens his mind to

Machiavelli on a personal, sincere level. By placing himself

at the feet of the reader, Machiavelli puts himself and his

argument in a position of power. He wastes no time in using

this power to gain more control over the reader. In the next

sentence he states that his intention is to create an outline

for behavior in public office " of use to those who

understand". This statement compels the reader to agree

with the points that the trustworthy, forthright Machiavelli

argues, or be relegated the...