Reading Comprehension: Machiavelli's Prince, VIII (Mr. Steel)
1. What is the main theme of this short chapter?
2. What are the two ways that one can become a "prince," other than by heredity?
3. What was Agathocles like? Describe how Agathocles became tyrant of Syracuse.
4. What, in Machiavelli's estimation, is the main drawback of taking power like Agathocles did?
5. How is it that a man like Agathocles escaped assassination and overthrow, according to Machiavelli?
6. What does Machiavelli mean by "cruelty well-used"?
7. What does he mean by "cruelty badly used"?
8. What does Machiavelli say that any one must do who wishes to "take hold of a state"? What will happen, in his view, if that person is not willing to do these things?
9. Explain why "cruelty at one stroke" is better than the continuance of small injuries over a long period of time, in Machiavelli's view.