A Selection from Machiavelli's Prince (Ch. XVII)
1. What is the central question of this chapter of Machiavelli's book concerning how a prince, or a ruler, should behave?
2. What should each prince desire, according to Machiavelli? What caveat does he place upon this desire and why?
3. Why does Machiavelli suggest that it is necessary (as the saying goes) "to be cruel in order to be kind"?
4. Why, in Machiavelli's view, is it particularly difficult for a "new" prince not to be cruel?
5. Does Machiavelli place any limitations on a prince's cruelty?
6. What is Machiavelli's "answer" to the question of whether it is better to be loved or feared?
7. Why is Machiavelli's first answer to this question problematic? What solution does he have for this difficulty? Why does he make this choice?
8. What is Machiavelli's view of human nature, as it is expressed in this chapter?
9. What is the "proper" way for a prince to make himself feared? How can he achieve this?
10. When is it particularly important for a prince to be cruel?
11. Explain how the example of Scipio illustrates the dangers of being merciful.
12. Evaluate Machiavelli's estimation of love and fear. Do you agree? Why or why not? What do you think? (Paragraph form please)