Machiavelli's The Prince

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In 1505, Machiavelli wrote The Prince to share his opinion on how Princes, specifically ones who have risen “from being private citizens,” should rule in order to maintain power and the wellbeing of the state. When we look at Machiavelli’s text, we see that he argues that a prince should “desire to be considered clement and not cruel.” While arguing what an ideal prince should be like, Machiavelli presents Cesare Borgia, Duke Valentino, as a role model prince. However, when Machiavelli states that “Cesare Borgia was considered cruel,” he contradicts his ideology on what a prince should be considered. This inconsistency helps further Machiavelli’s argument that a prince should only appear to practice ideal qualities, but in reality, not practice them all. Machiavelli praises the actions Cesare Borgia took, while in power. When Borgia came into power, the Romagna was “full of robbery, quarrels, and every kind of violence.” In order restore order in the Romagna, Borgia put Messer Ramiro d’Orco in power. Ramiro exercised his cruelty and “in a short time restored peace and unity with the greatest success.” However,…show more content…
Machiavelli continues with this claim and states that “[Borgia’s] cruelty reconciled the Romagna” (78). This contradiction amplifies Machiavelli’s claim that a prince should only appear to “merciful, faithful, humane…,” and that the prince is not required to actually have these qualities. It is not Borgia’s direct cruelty that saved the Romagna. The people of the Romagna in fact are not brutalized directly by Borgia. Borgia hid his cruelty from the people by making it seem that Ramiro’s cruelty was specific to Ramiro’s own nature and not Borgia’s. To further this act, Borgia set up a court system and tried Ramiro before executing him. By doing this, Borgia is cruel to the people, while appearing as a savior to the people as

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