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Paper Topic:

Machiavelli`s attitude toward human nature

Machiavelli 's Ideas About Human Nature

Love endures by a bond which men , being scoundrels , may break whenever it serves their advantage to do so but fear is supported by the dread of pain , which is ever present

Machiavelli 's ideas about human nature are encapsulated in his most famous work The Prince . He reinforces the conception that human nature is malicious and he regards humans as the most pernicious creature on the surface of the earth . For example , the following text from chapter XVII manifests his ideas about human nature comprehensively

p Men in general . are ungrateful , voluble , dissemblers , anxious to avoid danger , and covetous of gain as long as you benefit them , they are entirely yours ' but their love is held by a chain of obligation which , men being selfish , is broken whenever it serves their purpose (p . 61

He believes that human nature is unsettled and unpredictable as it changes according to the needs of the individuals . He says that it is easy to win over them over a specific issue but the real dilemma is to cling them to that persuasion (VI

Furthermore , he is of the view that men are true and innocent by compulsion otherwise their true nature is inclined toward falsehood (XXIII ,

. 89 ) He attribute above-mentioned label of falsehood to the majority and says that [a] man who wishes to make a profession of goodness in everything must necessarily come to grief among so many who are not good (XV ,

. 56 ) He further says

While you [the prince] do them good , they are yours , offering you their blood , property , lives , and children .when the need for them is far away but , when it is close to you , they revolt . And that prince who has founded himself entirely on their words , stripped of other preparation is ruined (p . 66

Machiavelli 's conception does not depict him as a psychological egoist who believes in the acute distrust about goodness of human nature . His major concern is o derive the sketch of a political person in the light of contemporary political milieu . Italy 's unstable political condition further augmented his own experience and observation . Machiavelli 's conception of human nature is not all encompassing as he takes into account a limited perspective and only draws his conclusion about human nature from a restricted sphere of politics of power and conflict

But his misconceived notions about human nature serve his political purpose in an effective way . For example he says as [men] are bad , and would not observe their faith with you , so you are not bound to keep faith with them (XVIII ,

. 64 ) These views were in accordance with the vested interests of the rulers to whom Machiavelli counseled . Due to this conception of human nature he says , Love endures by a bond which men , being scoundrels , may break whenever it serves their advantage to do so but fear is supported by the dread of pain , which is ever present

Although Machiavelli 's presented...

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