The Prince Analysis
- “[A] prince must be prudent enough to know how to escape the bad reputation of those vices that would lose the for him, and must protect himself from those that will not lose it for him, . . . but . . . he need not worry about incurring the bad reputation of those vices without which it would be difficult to hold his state” (786, par. 2).
A prince, as specified by many theorists, always risks of falling into either of two categories i.e., good or bad. The high placed status of princes often leads to praise or blame. But the most important thing is that he must hold the state irrespective of reputation. Ruling a nation requires decision making based on prudence. The practical approach requires those decisions that would yield mass benefit as well as future foresight. Some decisions might appear bad and add negatives to the popularity of the Prince but if those decisions are instrumental in maintaining his control over the nation, the reputation is no longer important and hence shouldn’t be taken care of. The immorality that gets associated with the behavior and control of a Prince is normally the result of the profile of the job. The continuous analysis of his decisions always gets classified into a list of possible good and bad impacts and hence the opinion of the people. The mass-based impact of the decisions and the associated influence of the same has been the main cause behind the above-mentioned classification of the opinion. Also, the person who is holding the rank of a Prince would not always be able to make a decision that could make everyone happy. Maintaining a commanding authority over the nation is more important than any reputation, whether they are good or bad is another issue altogether.
- “[A]s a consequence of his generosity, having offended many and rewarded few, he will feel the effects of any slight unrest and will be ruined at the first sign of danger” (787, par. 3).
Above mentioned quotation from Machiavelli’s work “The Prince” puts focus on the consequences of being generous on its men. A Prince who is generous might fall into a trap that will result in a bad reputation for him. Being generous is something that becomes part of the personality and hence becomes a virtue and necessitates the urgency to maintain the reputation. The generosity factor would actually have an effect on the nation’s treasury as it might get translated into monetary rewards to all those Prince’s men who would appreciate the generous and lavish approach towards rule and control. The pressure on the country’s treasure would then require excessive taxation and other forceful methods for maintaining the generous reputation of the Prince. The whole nation will suffer and could fuel unrest among the people. This situation is itself the beginning of a scenario with weak control. The lack of funds in the nation’s treasure would supplement the cause as the Prince will not have enough resources to quell the unrest. Finally, the Kingdom would get ruined at the very beginning of the dangerous circumstance.
- “[I]t is much safer to be feared than to be loved” (789, par. 8).
Machiavelli has been very descriptive over this statement. The decision of a prince has a mass impact and even a single discrepancy could transform him from being kind to cruel. At the same time, his decision making could easily result in being termed as constructive or destructive. So, if a decision that is cruel but constructive and bold would always be better than anything that appears soft and kind but yield destruction. Being loved and ruling with mercy might cause chaos and disorder. The ultimate result should be the disciplined, united and loyal citizens rather than those who bring disorder and ill-reputation. Though a prince should be humane while dealing with its people but at the same time he should concentrate on the nation’s benefit and his thorough control. Being feared or loved should never be a matter of concern. The common people often misuse the soft central control and have been the reason for all sorts of abrogation while a fearing control results in restrained behavior and greater obedience.