Title and Author(s): Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince
Release Date: September 21, 1992
Pages: 80 Publisher: Dover Publications; Reprint edition Source: (Barnes & Noble Classics)
Reasons for Reading: I first read Machiavelli as a high school World History student. I read The Prince again in college, struck by writers’ love and devotion to the city-state of Florence. As one of the winners in the Revisited Challenge, I downloaded a copy to my Nook.
Summary: Machiavelli wrote The Prince as a how-to guide to ruling. He wrote these instructions for Lorenzo de’ Medici, the Florentine ruler of Machiavelli’s day. Machiavelli began writing it in 1513 and finished it a year later. However, The Prince was not published until after Machiavelli’s death in 1532. Within his instruction guide, Machiavelli advised de’ Medici to promote his own interests, cover his backside, and create a stable government. In his estimation, Machiavelli pursues an argument purely based on logos; negating the need for ethos or pathos.
When Machiavelli wrote The Prince, Florence faced much political upheaval. While Machiavelli wanted de’ Medici to remain on the throne, this prince did not heed Machiavelli’s advice. In 1559, the pope included The Prince on his Index of Prohibited Books.”
One Thing I Learned from this book: While not mentioned in this treatise, Lorenzo de’ Medici was the father of the infamous Catherine de’ Medici. He passed on when she Catherine was twenty-one days old. I wonder how she would’ve taken Machiavelli’s instruction.
What I Liked: His straightforward prose leave little to the imagination. I haven’t felt a need to read commentaries to elucidate Machiavelli’s meaning(s) in his work. Also, I appreciate his sense of patriotism, love, and devotion to Florence.
What I Disliked: I found his lack of credence to ethos and pathos unrealistic. It’s the same as a rude person saying “I just tell the truth. It’s your problem that you’re sensitive.”
You might also like:
- Voltaire’s Candide
- Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan
- Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto
- John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty
- John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government
For more, check out the following sites: