My 5 star rating is because it's The Prince, you know, the ultimate guidebook for the aspiring tyrants or blossoming despots. I don't agree with the pMy 5 star rating is because it's The Prince, you know, the ultimate guidebook for the aspiring tyrants or blossoming despots. I don't agree with the premise of this book, and it goes against everything I believe in, but having to analyze every sentence for my renaissance and reformation class definitely lead me to exhaustively view it from so many different angles. You have to understand and study something before you can condemn it, and then I think even then you start to have respect due to the challenge it presents as an affront to your views. How can you condemn or question things if you don't fully understand them?
A toast to not watching, reading, or listening to only what you agree with so you can easily wallow in confidence with your decisions, but challenging yourself by being receptive to things you disagree with and constantly allowing yourself to evolve.
Our paper for the class was to set up an argument that someone could disagree with but wasn't a blatantly obvious opinion, but only through analysis of the book, and no outside sources... very difficult. I couldn't reference anything historical to give insight to the context of the times, or compare contemporary or even past rulers that fit the mold of being "the prince". I also couldn't draw on the popular theory that maybe Machiavelli wrote it as satire, or even that it was a means to garner favor and restore his political position by charming the Medici family (he dedicated it to the very guy who destroyed him). Most challenging paper I've ever written, but I know this book like the back of my hand now, and despite how much I disagree with it (besides hiring mercenaries, that is pretty concrete), I have to admire how shrewd and ironic it is when you really tear it apart.
So... to challenge myself I decided to argue that the book was written in favor of the prince's subjects, working in their self-interest and even as a tool of preservation of happiness for subjects, guiding the most ruthless ruler to put them first but still get his kicks as a sociopath. I don't agree, obviously, but an interesting way to view the book for sure. I was given an A and a thumbs up for a "interesting" and "challenging" argument. In a sense, it was very Machiavellian for me to twist some of his words and leave certain things out to "prove" my point, so thanks Machiavelli! Hahaha.
This is a guy who thought Henry VIII was a jerk, and would have known of him pretty well, so there is a glimmer of hope this is satire, although historians still argue about whether it was or wasn't and there is still no universally accepted conclusion. Another reason why this is a 5 star book, seriously, it's all about interpretation, and as I concluded in my paper, The Prince is ultimately really Machiavelli in the end for the way he played and continued to play everyone. Kudos, your legacy is secure....more