Machiavelli’s Prince

1. Hale: M wrote the P as a “release,” as a continuation of his correspondence with Vittori about peace among the Italian states; then saw the completed P as a possible way of getting a job with the Medici in Florence

Wootton: M wrote the P in order to get a job with the Medici not in Florence but in a state that Pope Leo gave to his brother Giuliano, then Lorenzo; change of mind between P in 1513 and Discourses in 1517 accounts for the different attitudes toward principalities

Mattingly: M wrote P as satire or cynical humor; contradicts his republican views and his history as an agent of republican, anti-Medicean Florence; idolization of Cesare Borgia is direct insult to the Medici


2. Wolin and Strauss. Both take P at face value; as serious advice for princes

Wolin: M should be credited with attempting to limit the use of violence in a Hobbesian environment: an economy/a science of violence; M a scientist

Strauss: M should be condemned as an evil teacher of evil; not a scientist; not a patriot


3. Main themes and ideas (2) running through the Prince, such as:

Discuss two of the themes using examples from the text.

4. Cosmologies of Aristotle and St. Thomas and/versus Galileo. Where does M stand?