Renaissance Religion and Florence: Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince questions

Required Text: Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, translated and edited by William J. Connell, Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2005.

Length: 5-6 pages: (double-spaced in Times New Roman or any regular font)

Respond to #1 on the following list and then two others of your own choosing

1. What is the historical setting of The Prince, and how might that have affected the composition of this treatise?

2. According to Machiavelli how far should princely authority extend? In whatareas should a prince never interfere with his subjects? Why does he draw the boundaries of princely authority at these points?

3. Since the publication of The Prince, Machiavelli has been demonized by many.But despite his critics who saw him as a despiser of Christian morality, Machiavelli himself claimed to be a devout Christian. How would he have made this argument?

4. Are there limits to Machiavelli’s amorality? Would he condone any strategy to attain and maintain power? Why or why not?

5. According to Machiavelli what personal characteristics should a prince possess (education, interests, etc.)?

6. What is Machiavelli’s understanding of Fortune? How should a successful prince view and/or use this force? How do you think Machiavelli’s understanding of Fortune differs from that of his predecessors or the public at large?

7. After reading The Prince what differences can you see between the actual thought of Machiavelli as represented in the text and “Machiavellianism”?

8. What shortcomings or flaws do you see in Machiavelli’s scheme? Do you think his program would have worked in most European countries? Why or why not?

9. Over the past century what three individuals best exemplify the characteristics of Machiavelli’s ideal prince? Why?

Note: They don’t all have to be politicians.

Format and Citation – You should use the Chicago Manual of Style format. A condensed form of this can be found in Kate L. Turabian’s

A Manual for Writers of Term Papers,Theses, and Dissertations. You may use outside sources to augment your discussion if

you wish, but it is not required.

 
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