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Men and particularly princes should be very careful when making their decisions and they should not be concerned by the making decisions that always favors their subjects and friends but they should be concerned more on the outcomes of their decisions and whether those decisions will benefit their state. I strongly believe that there should not be procedures and methods set to be used by princes in dealing with their friends and subjects. This is because different situations require to be handled differently since the societies keeps changing and therefore, princes should not follow set procedures and methods.
Princes are judged by their subjects through their qualities which will make their subjects either to praise them or to blame them. However, it would be very difficult for the princes to fulfill all the qualities that their subjects expect them to have due to human nature. Therefore, princes should be very careful to escape from bad reputation of those vices which would make them lose the state.
I agree with the statement that a quality which seems to be a virtue, if pursued may end up destructing the individual who decides to pursue such a quality; while another quality which appears to be a vice, if an individual decides to pursue such a vice might end up being more beneficial to such an individual and to the society. Therefore, princes should be very prudent when making decisions since a quality which seems to be vice may end up being a virtue, and vice versa.
Princes can be generous which seems to be a virtue but may end up giving them a bad reputation among their subjects. This is because such princes maybe generous and end up using up all their resources or overburdening their subjects with excessive taxes and doing everything possible in order to the funds. This quality of generosity may give such princes a bad reputation and his generosity may end up offending their subjects thus hating their princes. Also through not being generous may lead them to appear to be a miser according to their subjects.
For instance, Pope Julius II although he used his generosity to attain papacy however he decided to end his generosity in order to reduce the expenditures so as to be able to wage war. Therefore, princes should use any virtue such as generosity in a way that will not harm them. In this regard, princes should avoid overburdening subjects or becoming poor as a result of their generosity. Also, in order for a prince to avoid destroying their rule they should not mind being branded as misers since this would be a key vice that would help them to rule their subjects.
Although princes should avoid being cruel and should be merciful but they should be very careful not to abuse their mercy. This is because being too merciful may be abused which may lead to disorder in a state resulting to increased crimes thus harming the society at large. For instance, although cesare Borgia was regarded cruel, he was able to restore order, peace and unity in Romagna through his cruelty. Therefore princes should not mind being refereed to be cruel in their attempts to keep their subjects loyal and united. It would be much safer for princes to be feared than being loved by their subjects. In this regard they should do anything to ensure that there is order, peace and unity in their states even if it means taking someone’s life for the benefit of their states at large. This may result to some of their subjects hating them however, this would be less harmful to them and also it would beneficial to their states at large.
Princes should not care much on keeping their promises to their subjects and in some circumstances the princes are supposed to manipulate their subject’s mind with shrewdness if this would be more safer for them and also if this would be more beneficial to their state. Princes must be aware of how to deal with different situations since fulfilling their promises in some circumstances would bring harm to them and to their subjects. In such situations such princes should be wise and know how to deceive their subjects to avoid fulfilling their promises where they feel that keeping their words would bring harm to their state or to themselves.
In this regard, princes are not necessitated to have all the good qualities but it is very important for them to appear as if they have them. This is because having those all qualities and practicing all of them would bring more harm. For example, appearing being faithful, religious, merciful, trustworthy and humane among other good qualities would be necessary and princes should know how to practice them in different situations, however, practicing all of them would lead to more harm than good as subjects would misuse them to cause disorder which may increase the crime rates which would be harmful to the states.
Machiavelli, NiccoloÌ€. The prince. Belle Fourche: NuVision Publications, 2004. Print.