Machiavelli's "The Prince".

Essay by QuigyUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2003

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The study of Machiavelli's view of human nature is a doleful task. In reviewing The Prince, it does not seem that Machiavelli attributes to man any basically good intrinsic characteristics, such as loyalty, selflessness, or concern for others. In short, he appears to view humans as being downright wicked. When good fortune prevails, they conform and in unfavorable times, they rebel. Machiavelli counsels that a prince must always be wary of men because they are driven by ambition and greed. They will also be vengeful of any deleterious actions inflicted by their ruling prince. According to Machiavelli, the masses can, however, be controlled if a prince's subjects fear him. Machiavelli also stresses that men are cowardly and can easily be manipulated as long as the populace believes it is in their best interest to do one thing, or abstain from another.

Machiavelli believes that mankind is full of duplicity.

Men are vengeful by nature, thus they will seek revenge for any injuries they incur. Machiavelli's states that "men must be either pampered or crushed, because they can get revenge for small injuries but not grievous ones." This suggests that while men are vengeful, they are not particularly brave, for else one would assume that a grievous injury would even more draw their revenge. Believing that men are incredibly selfish, he goes on to say, "But above all a prince must abstain from the property of others; because men sooner forget the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony." This statement underscores Machiavelli's conviction about the selfishness of men and his belief that men are rotten creatures. Machiavelli believes that men are not loyal and can never be trusted. In chapter XII, while discussing military organizations and the danger of relying on mercenary...