Note on The qualities of the prince

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The Qualities of the Prince

‘The prince’ is the political treaties by the Florentine public servant and political theorists Niccolo Machiavelli.

He states” a wise prince should establish himself on that which his own control and not in that of others. He must endeavor to avoid hatred as is noted. He also says it is best to be both feared and love however if one cannot be both is better to be feared than loved.”

In the essay,’ the quality of prince’, Niccolo talks about the qualities of the prince. He recommends practical courses of action required by the prince to recur power. He does not believe in cynicism so describes the realities of the world instead of the realized or imaginary world.

In this book, he offers some advice to the prince about using powers and rules the state. It gives the ideas like:

  • To gain power
  • To maintain it for a long time
  • To rule the state
  • He recommends in a cunning and cruel way
  • Political ideas of Machiavelli are taken as derogative ideas of Machiavelli

The main profession of the Prince is to engage in war for this he should gain the skill and knowledge of war. A prince must be physically and mentally sound.

Generally, people are praised for good qualities and blamed for bad qualities. Similarly in case of prince also. Machiavelli says that in a case of Prince, if he possesses good qualities only he could be ruined faster and that’s why he should be good in appearance. But he should also bad from inner appearance. To maintain his power, he must be bad inwardly. Good qualities of the prince lead destruction. The prince never should fulfill the words what he gives to his citizens. He should only act well so that it helps him to rule the state for a longer period.


The generosity in ruler is always dangerous but miserliness is necessary for the prince. So, Machiavelli advice the prince not to liberal but is greedy. If all the resources of the country for the people. It may harm his reputation and his rules cannot go for longer. So, Machiavelli says the ruler should be miser even if he should lose his reputation.

Machiavelli suggests that the prince should be cruel no to be mercy excessively. If he becomes excessively merciful he cannot maintain the law and order of the state. So, to maintain harmonies and peace the prince must use his cruelty. So, the citizen must be loved and feared towards the prince. The ruler should not have fear to use cruelty.

The prince should not keep the promises and if the promises are kept, he should break those promises instead of fulfilling it. The rulers should not be honest but he should be dishonest to be the ruler for longer for this, the rulers should imitate the characteristics of fox and lion.


A prince must avoid from being contempt and hatred. Prince is hated when he turns to negative qualities and if he seized other properties. The prince is also hated when he is a coward, women like, indecisive (cannot take a decision). He should always try to show great ruler among the public (a great person having Great Spirit). If a ruler could show such kind of spirit then you can avoid being.

Machiavelli is cynical about the human nature especially about the qualities of the prince. Cynicism is the human selfishness that is considered to be controversial in nature but Machiavelli says that the prince should be cynical. He presents many controversial qualities of the prince. Cynicism is basically related to the concept of miserliness. Further, he says that the prince must have the quality of miserliness. He should not distribute the poverty of the state because it makes him bankrupt. There are also many other controversial qualities of the rural claim by Machiavelli. He claims that the prince must have qualities of the war and he should be very aggressive. It is controversial in the present contemporary society. The prince should learn not to be good. Though cynicism is not necessary to the contemporary world but we find that must politician are cynical in nature. If we observed the present politician we find that most of them are selfish by nature. If we talk about the politician they are extremely selfish so cynicism can never be necessary for the politician but it is disgusting fact that all of them are cynical.

Everyone understands how praiseworthy it is for a prince to remain true to his work and to live with complete integrates without any scheming. However, we have seen through experience how many princes in our time have achieved great things that have little cared about keeping their word and have sensibly known the skills of tricking the minds of man, this prince have overcome those whose actions were founded on honesty and integrate. It should be understood that there are two types of fighting, one with laws and the other with forces. The first is most suitable for men, the second is most suitable for beasts but it often happens that the first is not enough which requires that we have chosen to the second therefore it is necessary for the prince to know how to act both as a man and as a beast. This was signified allegorically to princes by the ancient writers. Since it is necessary for the prince to use the ways of a beast, he should imitate the fox and lion because the lion cannot defend himself from snares and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. Therefore, it is important to be a fox in order to understand the snares and a lion in order to terrify the world. Those who choose only to be a lion do not really understand. Therefore, a careful prince will not and should not observe his promises when such observance will work against him and when the reasons for making the promise are no longer valid. If all man were good, this precept would not be good but since men are evil and will not keep their word with you, you should not keep yours to them. Never has a prince lacked legitimate reasons to break faith.

Therefore, a prince does not need to have all the qualities mentioned early but it is necessary that they appear to have them. I will even act to this having good qualities and always practicing them is harmful while appearing to them is useful. It’s good to appear to be pious, faithful, humane, honest and religious and it’s good to be all those things but as long as one keeps in the mind that when the need arises you can and will change into the opposite. It needs to be understood that a prince and a specially a prince recently install cannot be observed all those qualities which make man good and it is often necessary in order to preserve the state to act contrary to frailty, contrary to mercy, contrary to humanness and contrary to religion. And therefore he needs a spirit disposed to follow where ever the winds of fortune and the variability of affairs lead him. It is necessary that he does not depart from the right but that he follows evil.


Lohani, S. (2012). Western Intellectual Tradition. Kathmandu: M.K Publication.

  • Machiavelli’s view of human nature has come under criticism for its cynicism.
  • He gives advice concerning liberality and stinginess.
  • He says that prince should be miser, cruel, bold and courage, haughty and above all cunning.
  • By showing cruelty if a prince fulfills his duty of ruling his subjects fairly, his cruelty can be justified.
  • A prince must not hesitate to achieve his dutiful goal by fair means or foul.




Very Short Questions



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Do you believe in the controvertial Machiavelli's idea about the qualities of prince ? Should the prince have so many bad qualities? Why or why not? ??

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