Reading Comprehension: Machiavelli's Prince, XVIII
1. What is the main theme of this chapter?
2. What do people generally think about character traits like honesty and faithfulness? What do people largely think about craftiness, cleverness, or trickiness?
3. What does Machiavelli say about these same attributes of character as they relate to princes?
4. What are the "two kinds of combat" described by Machiavelli?
5. Why are laws said to be proper for governing human beings?
6. Why is force also important for governing human beings?
7. Why must a prince be able to use each kind of combat?
8. What two animals does Machiavelli use to speak symbolically about the prince's use of force?
9. What does it mean to be fox-like? Why might this be a useful quality for a prince to have?
10. Why does Machiavelli say it is OK to lie, if you're a prince? Do you agree? Why or why not?
11. What does it mean to be like a lion? Why might this be a useful quality for a prince to have?
12. Why does Machiavelli say it is OK to use force, if you're a prince? Do you agree? Why or why not?
13. In Machiavelli's opinion, why is it important to be able to tell really convincing lies?
14. Machiavelli suggests that it is good for a prince to appear to be good, but it is bad for a prince to actually be good. In other words, it is best to deceive people about your goodness. Explain why Machiavelli would say such offensive things.
15. Machiavelli writes:
"Men in general judge more by their eyes than by their hands, because seeing is given to everyone, touching to few. Everyone sees how you appear, few touch what you are."
i. In this passage, what is it that most people care about: appearance or reality? (circle)
ii. What must a prince do to get people to follow his orders: concern himself with the way things look, or with the way things are? (circle)
iii. What matters most: the outcome of an action (the way it looks), or how you arrive at the outcome? (circle)
iv. Would Machiavelli support the idea that "the end justifies the means"? Explain your answer.