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Virtue in Machiavelli's Philosophy - Essay Example

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Virtue in Machiavelli's Philosophy

"It is necessary for a prince, wanting to maintain himself, to learn how to be able to be not good and to use this and not use it according to necessity"(Machiavelli 57). He believes that one good man is surely going to suffer among those who are not good. Thus, the virtue of goodness is meaningless for Machiavelli. If a price is imagined to be just as what Machiavelli conceptualizes, he would not be less than a criminally wicked tyrant. On contrast, the Discourses is a good usable book, though being long, nostalgic, and difficult as well. Here, Machiavelli's advices go to not just the rulers but the citizens, social reformers, political leaders, and the founders of republics. The purpose served is to establish and sustain their liberty as well as the avoidance of corruption "unless indeed the goodness of one individual, together with virtue, keeps it free"(Machiavelli xxiv). Improving from the downgraded non-virtuous theme of The Prince, In Discourses, Machiavelli explain that as a new price tends to preserve his principality with glory for a long time-beyond his death-the foundation of a republic is the best approach. "A corrupt city that lives under a prince, can never be turned into a free one, even if that prince is eliminated along with all his line"(Machiavelli xxiv).

However, one thing is clear that he devaluates the republics and principalities as imagined by the writers with virtue. And, the reason is that they emphasized on the moral virtue which, according to him, invites ruin; plus they also rejected violence, cruelty, and loss of faith, which are unavoidable and acceptable for the preservation of the principality according to him. And, this is what is objectionable in The Prince where he goes against the morality set by the classical and biblical values with an intention of framing a novel and modern "political" conception of virtue. The new definition of virtue means something that does not prevent the human from first gaining and then maintaining whatever has been gained, especially the authority. However, morality is one of his targeted themes that also include politics at the first place, necessity, fortune, religion, etc. As far as moral values are concerned, he shows his dislikes for the people of his time because, in his views, they were not actually following the "ancient virtue" but instead were content with keeping ancient statues in their homes, and thus honoring and imitating them in that way. The deeds rendered by the ancient rulers and republics were not at all imitated, neither their examples were meaningful to the then political scenario, according to him. In the first preface to the Discourses he talks about correct history knowledge lacked by his time. This suggests that Machiavelli was not against the ancient value; rather, he praises it with an aim of improving it. He was not much concerned about the would-be negative results of his writings and was eager to bring about a "Machiavellian" interpretation of the ancient virtue-along with a new look of the Renaissance in terms of modernity rather than a copy of the past.

Machiavelli's virtue is questioned mainly because some of the advices in The Prince-such as cruelty for the sake of the subject-go against the virtue as perceived by the human masses. Also, his ...Show more

Summary

To estimate Machiavelli's conception of virtue is undeniably difficult with obscurity, especially in context to two different types of works, namely The Prince and the Discourses. The Prince exhibits the innovative thoughts and ideas but is mainly subjective of the wickedness and tyrannical interests…
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Virtue in Machiavellis Philosophy essay example
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