Essay on The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Published: 2021-08-18
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Vanderbilt University
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The book "The Prince: by Niccolo Machiavelli was written during the period of political instability and war in Italy and Europe at large. While writing the "The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli dedicated it to Lorenzo de Medici-the then prince- with the aim of getting favor from him and returning to politics. As such the book primarily focuses on the art and skill of maintaining power. The book makes a clear distinction between politics and ethics in a time when classical political theories linked law to the possession of higher moral law. To Machiavelli, he advocated that political decision should be focused on the nature of practical consequences instead of holding on to lofty ideas. Ideally, through the use of format and style, Machiavelli reinforces the theme of power.

Regarding politics, Machiavelli writes "The Prince using a format and style that is meant to enhance power. He is pragmatic in his apprehension and even argues that people can provide protection for themselves against misfortune and political enemies. This point of view was the direct opposite of the society belief. To bring this across his concepts of power by embracing the power in his book and his readers.

Machiavellis Use Format and Style to Enact Power

Use of Epigrammatic, Aphoristic and dry is for expressing concepts that the words brief or precise can express just fine. However, for Machiavelli, these works are a reference to memorable and precise statements, he uses a peculiar word choice to maintain and inform about his brilliance in the political arena. The book embraces heavy use of style statements. When he uses the word aphorism, he means a definition of truth. For instance, he states clear facts i.e. that a leader should not expect all will love him while he arouses fear. However, he should make it a personal duty to avoid arousing hatred. The outstanding aspect of the book is that the author is plain and blatantly honest. Some statements prove this for instance, the need to play the fox if one is motivated to discover the snares and then be flexible enough to act the lion and snare the wolves.

Further, when he uses the complex statements, he invests in lengthy explanations and statements to qualify his arguments. In some instances, he retires from the explanations and uses absence and silence to put a point across. For instance, he says that is a non-occurring instance, and one cannot expect to have a sergeant give explanations to a lowly soldier when giving them order because they both know that whatever the sergeant says passes with no explanation required.

The use of Epigram is similar to how he uses aphorism but has an element of surprise or fun. Such a statement that expresses epigram is, the concept that a man is bound to forget his fathers death but will rarely forget losing his inheritance. Machiavelli is clever enough to manipulate the norm and express the ugly truth that a man would be disappointed more in losing an inheritance although they might act like the loss of a parent is more saddening.

It is statements like these that drive the readers to attach a ruthless, manipulative and cunning personality to Machiavelli legacy. Also, people will remember such statement with ease since they are outstanding and in this context, Machiavelli enacts his power which symbolizes how to do politics to acquire power.

There is an evidently dry tone in Machiavellis work. It makes the reader almost question if he possesses any ability for humor. It is challenging and perhaps impossible to pick a single thing in the book that would qualify as funny. He makes the text boring and dry in some instances like when he talks about Cesare Borgia and his history. In the first chapter, he writes of flat and dry history when he tells of how governments have been in the countries alternating between monarchies and republics. Further, he defends his use of a cold style saying his work isnt meant to be pretty or entertaining. Rather it is business for him, and in the same spirit, he embraces range and seriousness of the subject at hand. His work is meant to draw a structure for enhancing ones ruling and real sing greatness as a leader. He refutes the conviction to depend on luck to be a great ruler but rather focuses on the methodical expression of strategies necessary to achieve greatness.

Symbolism, Imagery, and Allegory

Machiavelli compares human beings to wild animals precisely lions and foxes. He urges the reader to get in touch with their animal nature. To him, humanity is associated with being good and abiding by the law while bestiality represents using raw forces and power to posses things of own desire. In his work, the bestiality is often unleashed in leaders as they keep bending the law to have their way.

also uses the concept of diseases and in more than two instances mentions tuberculosis where he views a pollical territory as a physical body and having political trouble translates to having a disease. He argues that it is wise to curb the diseases at a very early stage when the symptoms reveal. If one waits until the symptoms are evident to everyone, then the disease will have advanced too much, and whatever intervention one applies are likely to prove ineffective.

In misanthropic tone, Machiavelli treats people as though they are stupid. He communicates the naive and unknowing nature of the subjects to the leader whom he dedicates this book. He says that men do not think they can be easily deceived to eat poison when it is presented in a nice meal. He argues that people are too preoccupied with their concerns which makes them gullible such that a conman will always find a person who is ready to be conned. Perhaps the harsh reality in his work was an attack on the moderate and idealistic authors, but in his style, he reinforces the theme of power.


Machiavelli uses a pleading tone to an exacerbating extent. When reading the dedication, the last chapter one can almost feel that Machiavelli is crying for mercy which doesnt look good on him given the theme is expressing in the book. He later proceeds to a dry tone and then embraces the know-it-all attitude which reinforces his focus on power. He uses symbolism an imagery in his work to bring across several critical concepts. His work contradicts the character of him that we meet at the beginning of the book. Perhaps this contrast enhances his concepts on the need to be strategic and manipulative until the opportunity of desire presents itself then one can pound on it with might and aggression.


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